Getting off the beaten track

An introduction to trail running by Matt Buck

Bored of running on roads and fancy trying something a bit different? Sick of pounding those pavements and inhaling those car fumes? Had enough of waiting at traffic lights in the rain?

You need to try trail running!

I speak to a lot of roadrunners and it constantly amazes me how few have bothered to try trail running! Why wouldn’t you want to explore glorious countryside trails, enjoy stunning views and breathe in clean air?

Here, I’m going to cover some top trail running tips and myths for first timers…

You will be slower

Running trails is totally different to running on roads; they will test your balance, strength and endurance. Ever trail is different and you need to constantly adapt your technique as you encounter new obstacles. This will slow you down, don’t stress about the time, your road running speed won’t automatically transfer onto the trail.

You’ll encounter hills

You’ll do well to find some trails that don’t at some point throw a tasty hill your way. Don’t panic, ease off your speed and control your breathing, walk if you have to, taking the hill slow will enable you to crack on when you get to the top rather than collapsing in a muddy heap!

Look where you’re going

For the most part, when we’re running roads, it’s only the odd kerb we have to worry about tripping over. Trails will throw every tripping hazard known to man at you, roots, rocks, trees, mud, puddles, rabbits…Keep an eye on the trail in front of you and control your running so you can skip past, through, or over anything that could send you on a little trip.

Wear appropriate footwear

Especially important at the moment, where the trails are a bit slip and slide. Wear a good pair of trail shoes, your road trainers won’t cut it and you’ll look more like Bambi on Ice than Killian Jornet.

Have fun

There is no better feeling that running amazing trails and enjoying our amazing countryside. Don’t stress about your pace and time, simply enjoy being out of the towns and cities and HAVE FUN.

Still not sure?

If you want some support on your first trail experience, then check out my guided trail runs or join me for my all inclusive Trail Running Weekend in the Peak District (7-10 July 2017), where you can enjoy amazing trails, coaching, plenty of laughs and much more.


About Matt Buck

Matt owns Running Adventures and is an ultra runner and coach.

Running Adventures offer coaching for all types of race, from 5k to ultras, as well as guided trail runs. Find out more about Running Adventures here.


Twitter: @running_bucky

Instagram: @running_bucky

Facebook: /runningadventuresuk