Ten things that may surprise you about trail running.
1) Not all trail runs are ultra adventures. Trail runs can be short in both time and distance.
2) It's OK to walk. Not every step has to be at "race pace."
3) Trails look different if you run them in the opposite direction. Honestly. You enjoy different vistas, notice rocks in different places, forget that hills that were downhill one way are uphill from the other direction.
4) Trails look different with the change of season. A bare dust-strewn trail can look very different under a fresh coat of snow, or covered in piles of freshly fallen leaves.
5) If you take your eyes off the trail, you often find yourself on the ground. Stay focused on the trail underfoot unless you stop to take in the vistas.
6) Trails aren't all uphill. Sure, there can be some ups and downs, but there are some relatively flat, gentle trails. Especially prevalent along rivers, or canals.
7) Uphill running can be challenging. Who says going out for a 30 minute explosive, uphill, gut-busting trail run isn't fun...after you're done gasping for air! Throw in some hill runs or repeats during the winter months to mix up your training.
8) A good pair of trail shoes enhances your experience on the trails. Road shoes are primarily built for sustained foot plants not for the constant pace changes on the trails - there's variation in footing, in gradient, in obstacles encountered.
9) Apparel is important too. Run in clothing appropriate for the conditions - what they are and what they may become. Winter temps can be fickle!
10) Softer surfaces have much less stress on your joints.