the term sounds so aloof, it is absolutely close to the ground. A trail is nothing more than a beaten path, i.e. a path through the forest or on the mountain. So trail running is nothing more than running in nature. And that’s sometimes more fun than the usual jogging round in the park. Because such a path offers runners completely different attractions: natural surface, no road traffic, narrow, winding and winding, often demanding.
You will usually find trails mainly in meadow, mountain and forest landscapes. But what is a trail and what isn’t is also a bit of a matter of opinion. Sure, nature should always be involved, but even in the vicinity of large cities you can find great trails that are particularly suitable for beginners. So not living in the mountains is not an excuse.
Here we explain to you why trail running is a great sport for women, how you can find the right trails and what you need to know to be well prepared to run back and forth through forest and wilderness.
Why you should start trail running
The soft, springy forest path under your feet, the rustling of the leaves in your ears and the fresh, cool air in your nose – something happens to you when you move around in nature. What exactly this is can be summarized in 3 points:
1. Trail running is a mood booster
The thoughts stop rushing, the mind becomes calm. You feel relaxed Energetic. Satisfied. This is endorphin release at the highest level, a natural mood booster. When it comes to trail running, experiencing nature and having fun running come first.
2. Running in the forest will get you in shape
In addition to the mental benefits, the body naturally also benefits from running over hill and dale: the muscles in the buttocks, legs and core become stronger and firmer, the fat metabolism is activated, endurance is improved and the immune system is strengthened. Due to the often uneven surfaces, the compensating micro-muscles are also stressed and strengthened.
3. As a woman, you have a clear advantage
In addition, women have an enormous advantage in trail running: their ligaments and muscles are more flexible than those of men. “Because of the greater elasticity, women have a lower risk of injury,” explains professional trail runner and psychotherapist Eva Sperger.
“In addition, women are usually smaller and lighter than men and run intuitively at a healthy pace. This way they put less strain on their musculoskeletal system and don’t overwork themselves as quickly, ”says the expert. Therefore, they can run away from their male colleagues on very long journeys.
This is how you can find the most beautiful trail running routes
You don’t have to get on a plane to find great trails. Simply call up the map function of your smartphone and search your surroundings for green areas. See there, nature is so close!
At MeineLaufstrecken.de you will find around 50,000 running routes – in Germany alone. “And with the app from alpenvereinAktiv.com you can even find trails around the world and filter them according to route length and altitude,” says Sperger. They lead through the green areas on the map, i.e. parks, forests, fields, through valleys and over hills.
In this country, trails can be found almost everywhere. You just have to keep your eyes open a little and look at your running terrain from a new perspective. Speed or best times are not important at all. “As a trail running beginner, you have all the time in the world. Run small sections and combine it with hiking. When you come to a beautiful spot, you stop, enjoy the moment and then just keep walking, even without a stopwatch, ”recommends Sperger.
GPS watch or smartphone can only be useful in unfamiliar terrain so that you don’t get lost. You should also always have water with you if you plan to be out for more than an hour.
The right technique for running in the woods
Let yourself be carried away while trail running and simply “roll” on wide paths or downhill. If it goes uphill or if the path becomes more demanding, it is better if you keep your pace back and pay attention to the ground. The best way to do this is to look a few meters in front of your feet – this way you can run ahead. When trail running, it is important to have a view of the ground so as not to overlook a small obstacle and possibly twist it.
While walking up a steep path may be exhausting, technically it is easier than walking downhill. When walking uphill, you are automatically walking slowly so that you always have a clear view of the trail. Make sure to take small steps, lean slightly forward and actively take your arms with you as you move.
Try to land on your whole foot, not just your heel. This is how the sole of the trail shoe offers you the most slip resistance and you won’t slip or kink so easily. When going downhill in curves, use your arms to balance yourself. Small obstacles such as puddles, stones or branches make a trail what it is. Passages with natural obstacles are often the most fun because you have to climb, jump, and balance.
Which shoes do you need for trail running?
The nature of trails can be very different: They range from well-developed hiking trails to unpaved forest trails to glacier crossings. The following applies to every surface: sturdy running shoes with heavily profiled and stiffer soles are the be-all and end-all. Normal road running shoes are usually not enough for trail running because they don’t offer enough grip, especially when running downhill, and there is a risk of slipping.
“In addition, the trail running shoes should have sufficient cushioning and offer the feet stability. This is especially important for beginners because the body first has to get used to the strain, ”advises Sperger. The rest of the equipment depends on the season, the duration of the run and the weather conditions – but is of secondary importance. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable in your running outfit. After all, who would like to have to constantly tug on their clothes while looking at the most beautiful nature?
5 tips for getting started with trail running
You got a taste for it and now want to run cross-country? With these tricks your entry will be a complete success.
1. Take your time
Never measure your trail run in kilometers, only in minutes or hours. On a demanding trail in mountainous terrain, running 5 kilometers can quickly cost almost twice the time of the normal distance.
2. Walk consciously with both legs
Be careful not to overuse one leg. Many runners have an ankle leg, which they use to push themselves over and over again when taking a big step (over puddles, holes, etc.), and a landing leg. Each leg should alternately serve as both a footprint and a landing leg.
3. Don’t go too fast
It doesn’t always have to be mountains with an altitude of 1000 meters. In Munich, for example, the Isartrails offer a good entry point into trail running. It is best to gather your first experiences on the trail with a running partner, a group or a guide who knows their way around.
4. Think about it: strengthen ankles
Whether you are brushing your teeth or at the end of your gym session – you should always incorporate exercises to strengthen the ankles (e.g. one-legged balancing or ankle work) in order to prevent kinking on the uneven surfaces.
5. Get good advice in the expert shop
Shops that specialize in recreational activities like hiking, camping, fishing, or trail running tend to tend to hire outdoor enthusiasts. So look for an outdoor store in your city and ask the seller about her insider tip in the area. She’s guaranteed to be able to feed you lots of insider tips for your first trail run.
Trail running is also suitable for beginners and offers many great opportunities to work out physically and clear your head. So go ahead, lace up your running shoes and get out into the fresh air – the perfect trail is already waiting for you!