Trail running is exciting and challenging. The terrain can get rough. The weather can suddenly go bad. Accidents happen. You can get injured. How do you keep yourself safe on the trails?
Do not go alone.
It’s your first time to go to a new trail. You’re not familiar with this trail, but you’re feeling a bit adventurous and would love to hike or run along this new territory. Before you get too excited, know that people have been lost in the wilderness running alone. Rescue teams had to look for them. You don’t want this to happen to you. So go with someone who knows the trail. Even if you have a map and a compass, it pays to have someone who knows how to get you off the trail and back to the road in case something unexpected and untoward happens.
Inform a friend or your mom where you’re heading to.
If you must go alone, at least tell someone you know where you’re going. It’s not like you’re getting yourself lost in the woods anyway, but at least having someone who knows where you’re doing some recreational run offers some level of safety. That way, someone can check on you in case you’re late for dinner.
Consider your experience.
Beginners should never try challenging and jagged trails. Difficult trails put more strain on the muscles. If you are inexperienced, you probably are not fit enough for such physically demanding runs and hikes. Difficult trails put you at risk of injuries.
Pack food and water.
Hikers and runners spend the entire morning, the entire afternoon, and sometimes the entire day on the trails. Sometimes you plan for just one-hour run, but you may find yourself staying at certain areas longer, perhaps to enjoy the scene, take pictures, and rest. You can’t go wrong with packed food, particularly ready-eat food. Water is indispensable. You easily lose water when running, especially on a hot day, and you are at risk of dehydration.
Check the weather bulletin.
You don’t want to run in the rain. That’s dangerous too, especially on certain trails. Thus, checking the weather before you head to the trail is important. If you’re running on a mountain trail, take note that the weather changes suddenly. Mountain tops and elevated terrains are areas where storms can brew in a few hours. Be prepared for such nasty shifts in the weather.
Bring your phone.
Emergencies can happen. You might sprain an ankle. You might get lost and be unable find your way back. The next thing you don’t want to happen is to be caught in any of these difficult situations in the middle of nowhere without a phone.
Wear sturdy running shoes.
A pair of tough sneakers, those designed for good traction on uneven surfaces, is what you need. The right footwear for running can lower risk of slipping and falling and resulting injuries. Also, it feels more comfortable and lessens impact on your heels.