Trail running through beautiful woodlands and over dramatic mountains is an exhilarating experience.

Much of the appeal of trail running comes from the incredible natural surroundings as you run through lush forests and across mighty mountains.  However, don’t get so wrapped up in the scenery that you forget about safety precautions.

It’s important to remember that when you’re running in remote areas, the sport comes with a degree of risk.

If you’re new to trail running, take extra precautions when you go into the wilderness. Use this expert guide to discover how to keep yourself safe when trail running.

It’s About Time, Not Distance

Tough terrain or steep hills will take longer to run than a flat, even tarmac road. That’s a fact.

You should plan ahead based on how long you want to run for, rather than measuring your run based on distance.

Check The Weather Forecast Beforehand

It’s important to check the weather forecast before you venture out on your run. Being informed on incoming weather means you can bring appropriate equipment and wear the correct clothes.

With trail running being an outdoor sport, you’ll have to face the elements from time to time.

If it’s expected to rain, wear a lightweight waterproof jacket to keep you dry and warm. If you’re trail running in the winter months, don’t forget to wear a warm hat and gloves.

Always remember weather can change dramatically at different levels of elevation. The higher up you are, the quicker the temperature can change and storms can roll in. So, make sure to plan accordingly and remain aware of the environment around you.

Wear the Right Shoes

Trail-specific running shoes are essential for trail running. These shoes are specially designed with rubber soles, so you have better traction and can protect your feet from sharp objects on the path.

Don’t be tempted to just throw on an old pair of trainers just because you’re venturing out into the rain and mud. Look after your feet and ankles at all costs.

Carry Appropriate Fuel With You

Eating high-energy foods before a run is important, but you may also want to bring food, like an energy bar, on your run.

Energy bars and gels are popular with trail runners as they’re lightweight and easy to digest.  Perfect if you need a little boost while out and about.

Even on shorter runs, you should always carry some food with you in case you end up more fatigued or are out running for longer than expected.

Know Your Route

There are a few safety tips to consider when choosing a good trail running route.

Make sure you know how long the route will take. Remember it’s the time of a run, not the distance that matters.

Be aware of how steep or mountainous the terrain is. The more elevation, the harder your workout will be, and the more likely you’ll tire quickly.

Plan your route before your run so you don’t get lost along the way. It’s always a good idea to do a bit of research if you’ve never run that particular trail route before.

Bring a Running Partner (When Possible

There’s safety in numbers and a trail running buddy is always a great idea when venturing into the great outdoors.

While you may enjoy running alone, it’s safer to have a partner come with you. You’ll be able to help each other should something go wrong and it’ll make it easier to spot potential dangers when you’re out in the wilderness. 

If you’re absolutely set on trail running solo, make sure that you let someone know where you’re going and which trail route you’re running. As an added precaution, you may want to give someone at home a map of the route you plan on running and a rough time of when you’ll be back.

Stay Alert When Running

When you’re trail running it’s inevitable that you’ll get tired. First, your form goes and then your mind. It’s easy to get careless towards the end of a run.

But, it’s important that you stay alert and pay attention to the path at all times. That way, you’ll avoid injury and any potential hazards on the trail.

Safety First

When you’re trail running in the great outdoors, it’s crucial to be prepared. Following the safety advice on this list will prevent accidents and make sure you always have a safe and enjoyable trail running experience.