• Ernie Chavez, PT

Tips for Trail Running


I first started running trails just to get out of the city and my usual routes on the streets of Farmington, which I had been running for many years. The funny thing is, that I lived at the base of the mountains and never wanted to run trails. This was formed by my general assumption that trail running was slow, and didn’t seem to be challenging or fun. Well, I was completely wrong. I soon found out that it was an enjoyable journey both in exercise and learning trail safety.

During my trail running experiences I have run by skunks, stepped on dead skunks, and have had to run away from skunks. I have fallen multiple times, suffering bloody hands, shoulders, knees and shins. Not to mention, loose teeth from taking headers face first into the trail after stubbing my shoe into wooden nubs or rocks sticking out just above the surface of the ground. Of course, many of my injuries may not have happened if I waited for the sun to come up, and shine some light on the trail. I have walloped and smacked by rogue trees and shrubs, who seemed intent on leaving scars. I have nearly fallen off cliffs, because I didn’t want to stop going up the mountain and I had not reached my destination to the waterfalls up Adams canyon. I have also been chased, and nearly bitten by dogs whose owners swear that their dogs were safe, and would never bite anyone, right! Then of course in the summer, I must be extra careful running trails where mountain bikers are present. They come zooming down the hills so fast they don’t see you until you must jump off the trail into the bushes to avoid getting plastered.

Over the years I have learned that it was up to me to be safe and aware of my surroundings. I have been an avid runner for over 40 years and have run a PR of a 2:26 marathon. I have learned by the school of hard knocks and from my mistakes. So I figure I should share some of my hard earned knowledge.

First always be aware of you surroundings and find out what your trail holds in store for you, whether it is a busy trail used by hikers, bikers, or horse riding. Be aware of low

Wear appropriate shoes for trail running, shoes that are worn and used for street running are okay, but wearing a quality trail shoe will provide extra griping and protection from stepping on small rocks or tree nubs sticking out of the ground.

Always be cautious of dogs running around with no leash, it is better to be safe than sorry. I will often pick up a stick or rock for protection, unless the owner is nearby. I will stop running until the dog passes, and then resume my run.

It is good practice to run with a friend. The buddy system works great to keep you safe and to help in emergencies, especially if you become injured and need immediate assistance or cannot move on your own.

Take enough water for hydration, and be prepared to be out longer than you typically plan. I often go out for an hour run but find myself out for up to 2 hours or more.

Let someone know where you are running and if possible take a cell phone with you just in case. I have on occasion called my wife to pick me up when I was 10 miles or more away from home because of fatigue or just one of those days when you run out of energy.

If you have any tips or funny running experiences please share your knowledge with us at mail@wasatchtherapy.com or on our Facebook post. We'd love to hear from you. In the mean time, stay safe on the trails, and enjoy the outdoors.

Ernie Chavez P.T.

#physicaltherapy #running #trailrunning

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