New to Trail Running? {Here is my advice on starting}

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So you want to start trail running but perhaps you are nervous because it seems so hard, so different, so foreign to what you normally do? Let me tell you something, it IS DIFFERENT but in the most amazing way possible, and it is not HARDER than anything else if you are doing it right.

Trail running has some big misconceptions that I should uncover right now.

First, trail running is NOT ALL RUNNING. We walk or what we call power-hike lots, and I mean lots, especially in the beginning or on particularly steep climbs/trails. When I first thought about getting into trail run I was overwhelmed with the idea that I would have to RUN all those trails that I usually hike, and I remember in particular dreaming about this one trail here in Sandpoint- a really steep difficult 3 mile trail that everyone hikes because it is so freaking hard. I was imagining that it would be insane to actually run that, it couldn't really be possible...? 


Well, 3 years later and hundreds of hours of trail running, I am still not RUNNING the entire trail, I power hike lots of it- and in the beginning I was only running some of it. Over time what happened was I would run more and more of it as I kept at it, and I still remember the day that I did run it without power-hiking at all!!!

But I don't do that often, and here is why. IT IS TOO HARD. TOO DEMANDING PHYSICALLY.

If you are getting into trail running it needs to be fun, easy, enjoyable and something that you want to keep doing. If you run so hard every time, trying to run up all the hills - your heart rate will probably be upwards of 175+ and at this rate you will be over-trained and injured quickly.. not to mention it will hurt the entire time. I don't approach trail running like this. I approach it with an "easy" perspective, I always wear my heart rate monitor to make sure that I am not working too hard.

Your heart rate should be in the Aerobic Zone for 80-90% of your trail runs, and in the beginning arguably 100% of them.

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This is where you are going to make your gains, it will seem "easy" perhaps, it may seem too easy, you will have to walk a lot, you will think that something is wrong, you will think your watch is broken and your heart rate cannot possibly be so high, you are only hiking up the hill and it is at 170!!! WTF? But it is how it goes in the beginning, trust in the process.. 

I cover some more tips and advice in this short video here:

Don't over think it!

Trail running is just running with more walking, less people, more nature and more beauty. You will LOVE it if you love being outside. Even in the most ridiculous conditions we still have fun. It can be pouring rain, dumping snow, muddy or hot, and we still are so happy we got out there and went on a "run".. even if it turned into a slog, a hike, a post-holing 20 minute per mile walk... it is ALWAYS Still so amazing!


Like I discovered in this video below.. we went out for a winter trail run, and it quickly turned into something else.. We were only able to run the first 1.5 miles of the 3 mile climb before we were in waist high snow that we could not run in. THAT IS OK! we just kept going and walked, it was beautiful, it was fun and I got stronger doing it.