If you’ve been thinking of trying trail running for a while now, the crisp days of fall are the perfect time for you to unleash that primal need to simply head for the woods and run long distances. Here at our New York sports medicine practice, we get a lot of questions about avoiding injuries while going on a trail running adventure this fall — from The North Face Endurance Challenge Trail race in San Francisco to the Rock Creek Stump Jump in Chattanooga. Below is a quick beginner’s guide to enjoying the trails and avoiding injuries at the same time!
Less Likelihood of Injuries in Trail Running
To begin with, trail running offers the advantage of lesser likelihood of injuries in comparison to road running. This is due to the ever-changing surface of trails which strengthen core muscles. Also, running on trails tend to soften the impact to your joints and you get to use a wide variety of muscles than running on asphalt alone.
1. Choose non-technical trails in the beginning.
By and large, trails could either be classified as non-technical or technical. It is best to begin with non-technical trails when you’re still starting out as it will gradually introduce your muscles and joints to the impact of uphill and downhill runs. Beginner-friendly trails are often flat and dirt-racked, perfect for newbie runners.
2. You do not have to run the hills.
Veteran and professional trail runners know that it is more efficient to walk steep hills rather than run uphills only to have lesser energy left on the way down. So learn from the pros!
3. Invest in the most comfortable pair of running shoes.
While comfort varies from one individual to another, the basic requirements when thinking about acquiring a new pair includes shoes that are not too tight on the heel area but rather fitting snugly, having some wiggle room, and a natural-feeling support. Avoid common mistakes such as buying for looks and assuming your size.
4. Always be on the lookout for rocks and slippery roots.
Avoid stepping on roots, large rocks, or fallen trees as much as possible. Try to step over them instead to avoid your chances of slipping. Also,when crossing rivers and streams, try to directly walk into the water rather than stepping on wet, mossy rocks.
Finding a New York Orthopedics Specialist
Consider seeing a New York orthopedics specialist before your next trail running adventure for a thorough assessment and evaluation of your running form. Our group of fellowship-trained, board-certified orthopedics are specialists and draw upon their training at world-renowned medical centers. Moreover, we offer on-site certified occupational hand therapy, registered physical therapists, and certified athletic trainers, all eager to design individual rehabilitative treatment regimes to optimize functional return and get you back in the game. Contact us now by filling out this contact form or by calling 212-876-5200.