More than 30 members of Harlem Run recently returned from conquering the UA Mountain Series in Killington, Vermont, with more than just a medal; they returned with secrets of the trail you only get from running them.
As Kari-Ann from Harlem Run notes,
“When I signed up to run a 25K mountain race in Killington, Vermont, I thought I should be able to conquer it because I have the stamina to run marathons on the road. But having endurance is only one piece of the puzzle when taking on the trails.”
Here are six major takeaways you’ll want to read before your first trail race.
YOU’LL DO A LOT OF HIKING
“Trail running” is a bit of a misnomer because it includes a lot of walking and hiking, especially when you’re at high elevation (like Copper Mountain) or on a course with a lot of elevation gain (like Killington). Forget what your watch is telling you or what your mile splits are on a typical road race and use hiking as a strategy to your benefit.
THERE WILL BE BREATHTAKING VIEWS
Make sure you have a phone or camera with you because you will see vistas you’ve never seen before. These are the views that will keep you coming back!
TRAIL RUNNERS ARE THE NICEST PEOPLE
Runners in general tend to be very nice people but being on the trail takes it to a whole new level of bonding. Be prepared to make lots of casual conversation, share stories and end up with more friends than you started with helping you power through the more difficult parts of the course.
WEARING TRAIL SHOES IS IMPORTANT
You’re going to want to leave your regular road sneakers at home and opt for shoes made specifically for the trail. Good trail-running shoes provide you with the support you need on technical courses filled with roots and rocks and give you the grip you need on downhills. You might invest in trail-running shoes that are waterproof, in case you encounter mud. Pro tip: Opting for half a size up saves your toenails when you’re taking on the downhills.
YOU SHOULD BRING YOUR OWN NUTRITION
You’ll likely be on the trail for longer than you expect, due to various factors. While aid stations should never be too far, you’ll want to carry some form of salt with you as well as water or some other hydration. I usually plan to be self-sufficient on the trail and treat the aid stations as a nice bonus.
YOU WILL GET HOOKED ON TRAIL RUNNING
After completing your first trail run, you’ll head home and compulsively search for the most epic destinations for your next race. It’s just the way it goes!