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Published on February 3rd, 2017 | by Michael


6 Things Trail Runners Think While Running

Trail or fell running can be a fantastic break from the pounding of the roads and streets of the generic running ritual.

The scenery, tranquillity and testing routes are great to not just help you relax and forget about your time but to also act as a subtle training session with the undulating sections working the legs, along with the lungs too.

Veterans of trail running will be all too familiar on what to expect on the day, come rain or shine, they’ll run as hard or easy as they want, knowing how to handle descends and tricky corners with thick, uneven clarts (sticky mud).

For those new or even still finding their way within the sport, there will new discoveries, harsh lessons learned and of course, that famous cliché of ‘character building’ sections to pick up from.

This blog, hopefully, will outline some of the thoughts that go through runners heads when they make their way around a planned route or course. Some maybe obvious, others maybe something you haven’t experienced yet, either way, it should be entertaining!

6. “Have I dressed appropriately?”

This purely depends on the weather, of course, but there’s still a few who are not quite sure if it’s a case of layers or just enough until the body heat kicks in. To be honest, there’s no real right or wrong amount in terms of how much you put on, obviously, adding copious quantities of clothing would be extreme but unless you’re running up a very cold peak or it’s wet/chilly, you should be fine with what we suggest below!


Trail shoes

Trail socks

Capri/short tights or running shorts (worn on top if preferred)

Moisture wicking long/short sleeve running top

Wind breaker

Rucksack with/without bladder




Trail/fell shoes

Trail socks

Long/thermal tights

Long sleeve/base layer

Moisture wicking running top

Thermal top/wind breaker

Hat, gloves & neck warmer

Head Torch (night time running)

These are just examples/ideas of what to wear, they’re not a list of what you must wear, that decision is purely down to you, long as you feel comfortable and acclimatised!


5. “How am I STILL running uphill?!”

A lot of trail and fell running involve making climbs as well the odd hike – location depending, of course – to explore the route ahead of you and sometimes, it can feel like its everlasting!

Your legs are burning, the lungs are in overdrive, yet when you take a look, it’s only half way up the ascent, part of you will want to stop, turn around and run home or maybe cry but really, you should just catch your breath and walk up – trail running doesn’t mean you have to literally run all parts of the route, you can walk it, too!


trail-runningWhat goes up, most go down is the expression used for almost, in everyday life and this is totally right for trail running.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the scramble, descend or run down, whichever way you like to describe it, is one of the best things to enjoy. It’s the sense of freedom and the adrenaline that makes it and incredible experience.

Scrambling makes it a really great experience, along the lines of going down a really fast hill on your bike as you take your feet away from the pedals, except, there’s tree roots, rocks and stumps to try avoid!

Staying low to gravity, chopping your foot contacts (fast feet), staying upright, bent knees and using your arms are great tips to work down the trail as you traverse at the same time – buying a pair of trail shoes is a MUST also!

3. “I only bought my shoes the other day!”

Better to accept it now, if you buy trail shoes it best to;

  • Try them in a store or ordering them in advanced for sizing/fit
  • Prepare yourself for a mud/dirt fest

mm-cheviot3-mm2504bThe first point is easy to explain, getting the right fit is key to making sure that you enjoy a comfortable run. Specialist trail shoes are slightly narrow/snug fitting, so trying them on in a store is a great shout or ordering them well in advance, just to allow ample time to returns/exchanges if too small or not quite right – because once you cross the threshold of routes, they will get muddy/marked/wet.

The shoes should feel like they are hugging your feet, with the smallest give but not to the point where you think they will cause blisters – it’s also worth purchasing trail socks too, just to provide a bit of padding and allow feet to remain dry.

The shoes are lighter than some everyday road shoes BUT they are a lot firmer and offer less cushioning, however, there is enough to take the sting out of tougher surfaces, meaning if you wanted to used them on the roads, forget about it! They won’t feel great!

As mentioned before, the shoes will go through copious amounts of mud, light, dusty, thick and our favourite, the clarts!

The lugs on the outsoles should provide adequate grip getting through, you may occur the odd slip – it happens – but getting the feet dirty, wet and covered is part and parcel of trail running, if you start with clean footwear and leave with clean footwear, you’re not doing it right!

2. “Wait, these splits are ridiculous!”

Making the transition from road to trail does have its baggage, more so the timing aspect.

If you’ve been a stat/time driven runner and you head to the forestry to try match your regular splits, we’re sorry to tell you, that isn’t happening! Some of the roads you may have trained/raced along would have offered a flat section, if there’s a hill, it won’t be steep for long and it’s manageable at the same time.

What they don’t have is almost, everlasting climbs, complete with stones, cobbles and steps to throw you off. Running up them can be done but there’s a strong possibility that you’ll be blowing after you reach the top.

This means that the usual splits you are used to on the roads will be completely off from what you are used to. Best thing to do is, if you really need to nail down times and distances, make sure the GPS watch is charged and just let it run from start until the finish. Sometimes, not always, if you use running apps or sites to upload data, they chop the times down.

1.“This view is incredible!”

As you’re almost, in the middle of nowhere, some of the views and scenery that you can find along the route, are picturesque – providing a fantastic opportunity to feature you view on Instagram when you get home – we’ve all done it, admit it!

It’s safe to say that, some of the views, angles and even wildlife you’ll come across, will have you reaching for your camera phone to document the occasion. It’s hard not to just stop and admire what’s around you, especially when it’s at the top or peak of a climb. It may be cold,and blustery, even on a misty or clear day, the scenery will be spectacular.

Wherever you go, there’s bound to be a quality backdrop.

© A Runner's Ramble

There we have it! There’s just some of thoughts what may go around trail runners thoughts, more so, the beginners. If we’ve missed something then let us know! What do you thinking during certain stages of your run?

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Written By Michael