I believe the adventure and joy that trail running offers should be experienced by all so this past weekend I led a beginner trail running clinic at Bear Mountain State Park sponsored by Run On Hudson Valley.
Things We covered
- Safety: Always tell someone where you are going, your intended route, what time you are expected back home or to your car, no matter how familiar the area may be to you.
- Bring a fully charged cell phone with a PDF map of the area downloaded from avenza, along with a paper copy (because sometimes phones die due to the cold etc).
- If you are going on an adventure longer than a couple of hours, bring along a small rechargeable battery (it is a good idea to always bring one along to be safe).
- Carry a knife or highly sensitive defense spray; as a woman who runs often by herself, I feel more secure if I have these items on me in case of a negative encounter with a human or aggressive wildlife. Remember, it just takes one time of not being prepared.
- Map out your route: Do so prior to heading out. Pay attention to the contour lines of the route, the closer they are together the more climbing/descending you will encounter and increased possibility of technical terrain.
- Look at the map to see where the closest roads to civilization are just in case you need to bail on your run due to a an allergic reaction, snake bite, sprained ankle, animal encounter, etc. This is not always an option so don’t be reckless.
- A mile on a trail will take much longer than a mile on the road and will be generally more difficult, so be prepared to be out longer than a typical road run.
- Bring enough water and nutrition for your outing; there are no convenience stores out on the trails.
- When going to the bathroom, never do so near a water source, be sure to be 200+ feet away. You do not want to contribute to the chances of others who are sharing the same trails getting giardia or other illnesses that come from ingesting human or animal waste. Dig a hole at least 10 inches deep before going #2 and don’t forget to cover the hole. Yes, this takes time and you may encounter some roots or rocks, find a good spot and just do it!
- Do not litter, carry out what you carried in. Leave the trail cleaner and in better shape than when you came through. Be sure to pick up even the smallest piece of trash that is left behind by others. Just throw it in your pack or pocket, it won’t slow you down to much.
- Running Mechanics: Running is a sport and it must be practiced. We discussed the importance of power hiking, picking up your feet, foot placement, quick feet, etc.
- Hydration packs, why and which one’s are needed for specific adventures.
- The difference between trail running shoes & socks and their importance.
- Headlamps, an essential piece of gear, especially as the fall or winter months approach.