A Beginners Guide to Trail Running

A Beginners Guide to Trail Running

There might be 1,000 reasons why you want to start trail running, which is awesome but you just don’t know where to start. If you’re one of those people, you’ve come to the right place. If the thought of trail running has seemed overwhelming or scary, let's get rid of those presumptions right now!

Now, I’m not a super hardcore trail runner, I trail run because I like to be outdoors and I love the feeling of completing a run. Also saying I trail run makes me feel a lot cooler than I am. So whatever reasons you have that make you want to begin trail running, I am here to help you out. We’ve all gotta start somewhere. When I first became interested in trail running I tried to do some research. It was really hard to find accurate, helpful information on trail running in the Arizona Desert. So one day I just went for it, and I learned a few things. AND YOU CAN TOO! Let's get started. 

Pick A Trail

For starters I chose Beverly Canyon, located in beautiful South Mountain. The trail is wide, fun and will help give you a sense of what trail running is like in a desert. The trail has small inclines, different terrains, easy to follow trail markers, light to moderate traffic. This will also give you an opportunity to find your balance physically and understand your body limits.

Let's Get Prepared;

Fuel Your Body

Living in a desert we know that we need to stay hydrated. Hydration is extremely important especially while running through the wild. I would suggest purchasing a hydration pack. The one I use is a brand “Wacool” It’s inexpensive and it gets the job done. It’s never good to run on empty. Something that I love to eat at least 30 minutes before a run is Banana with Peanut Butter. Eating good carbs before a run will help your body keep on movin’. Bananas will help with cramping they provide you with carbohydrates, potassium, and magnesium which will help keep your energy level steady throughout a run like this.


Your first few times you’re alright to run in your current running shoes. Especially on this trail. If you plan on sticking with trail running I’d suggest investing in Trail Running shoes. Once I made the switch to my Solomon Speed Cross 4 I couldn't believe I had let myself run in my regular running shoes for so long. I discovered a website that rates trail running shoes, and then links you to deals. I only ended up spending $70.00 for mine. The website is Run Repeat Rankings. Definitely have a look after your first run if you want to continue, it is really informative and helped me find the perfect shoe without having to go to the store and trying on a bunch of pairs.


We live in a desert. And I’ve learned that even in the cooler months December & January its best to wear shorts, a tee shirt with a thin long sleeve tee over. Something you can easily take off and stuff in your backpack without adding any extra weight or bulkiness. Even in the winter once that sun comes out it gets hot, and it gets hot quick. February - May, I still stick with a tank top and shorts. Make sure you’re comfortable and have extra water during these months. I even leave an extra water bottle in the car. Bring a hat for extra protection from the sun to help prevent heat stroke and wear plenty of sunblock.

Time to Run

Take it slow 

Jogging/walking on a trail can take 15-20 minutes depending on the inclines and declines.

Don’t sprint

Take short strides which will help you with balance and keep your body weight center.

Don’t be afraid to rest

Take a breath. YOU DESERVE IT. Trail running is tough. Slow down, enjoy the beautiful scenery, have a sip of water.

If there’s a hill, walk it. You don’t always have to be running.

Look ahead

Scan the ground ahead of you, keep your head up and know whats coming. 

Make sure you’re aware of your surroundings

Watch for unstable rocks

When another runner is coming your way make sure you are able to let them pass you with plenty of room, they will try to do the same for you.

Have fun & Most importantly BE SAFE!

“I often hear someone say I’m not a real runner. We are all runners, some just run faster than others. I never met a fake runner.” – Bart Yasso


This blog was thoughtfully written by Krystle Miller. You can find her on Instagram @krystaliaaaa

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