What Makes A Good Trail Runner? | Hikers University

Simply trail running is not good enough. You need to be good at it to enjoy significant benefits. But what makes a good trail runner?

If you want to be the best of the best at trail running, there are certain characteristics you need to have. 

A good trail runner is one that has a positive attitude and is mentally tough and physically fit. They also have a love for the outdoors and nature and enjoy a sense of adventure. They want to keep improving and do not settle for the minimum. 

Along with the characteristics of a good trail runner, I have also given out some tips to transform yourself into a trail running pro. 

These are not only my own experiences but those of hundreds of runners I read the reviews of and talked to as well. 

Table of contents


What Makes A Good Trail Runner?

There is no single answer to the question of what makes a good trail runner. However, there are certain qualities and characteristics that all good trail runners share. These include: 

1. A love of nature and the outdoors: Trail running is all about getting away from the concrete jungle and enjoying the beauty of nature. Good trail runners are those who appreciate the peace and quiet of a forest or mountain trail and are motivated to explore new places. 

2. A sense of adventure: Trail running often takes place in remote and challenging locations. Good trail runners are those who relish the opportunity to explore new territory and push themselves physically and mentally. 

3. Physical fitness: Trail running can be a demanding sport, both physically and mentally. Good trail runners are those who have the fitness and stamina to tackle long distances and challenging terrain. 

4. Mental toughness: Trail running can be a test of mental as well as physical endurance. Good trail runners are those who have the inner strength to keep going when the going gets tough. 

5. A positive attitude: Despite the challenges, trail running is ultimately a fun and rewarding experience. Good trail runners are those who approach the sport with a positive attitude and a sense of humor.


Tips To Become a Better Trail Runner

l Get the right gear: One of the most important things you can do to set yourself up for success as a trail runner is to make sure you have the proper gear. This means having a good pair of running shoes that are designed for off-road use, as well as comfortable clothing that won’t chafe or rub when you’re out on the trails.

l Train your body: Just like with any other sport, if you want to be a successful trail runner, you need to train your body for the specific demands of the activity. This means doing things like building up your endurance and strength, as well as working on your balance and coordination.

l Train your mind: In addition to training your body, it’s also important to train your mind for trail running. This means learning how to deal with things like fatigue, pain, and boredom, as well as how to stay focused and motivated when you’re out on the trails.

l Be prepared for anything: One of the most important things to remember when trail running is that you never know what might happen. This means that you need to be prepared for anything, from changes in the weather to injuries.

l Have fun out there!: Last but not least, it’s important to remember that trail running should be fun! So make sure to enjoy yourself out there and don’t take things too seriously.


Training Priorities To Become a Better Trail Runner

One of the best ways to become a better trail runner is by focusing on key areas of training. By doing so, you can make sure that you are constantly improving your skills and abilities as a runner. Here are some of the most important training priorities to focus on if you want to become a better trail runner:


Improve Your Running Form

One of the most important things that you can do to become a better trail runner is to improve your running form. A good running form will help you to run more efficiently, which will, in turn, help you to run faster and further. There are a few key things that you can do to improve your running form, such as:


l Keeping your head up and looking ahead

l Keeping your shoulders relaxed and down

l Landing on your midfoot or forefoot


Build Your Endurance

Another important training priority for trail runners is to build their endurance. This is because trail running often requires runners to go for long distances, sometimes for several hours at a time. In order to be able to do this, you need to make sure that you have the endurance to sustain yourself over long periods of time. There are a few key things that you can do to build your endurance, such as:


l Running at a consistent pace

l Including hills in your training runs

l Including long runs in your training schedule


Strengthen Your Legs and Core

Strong legs and a strong core are essential for trail runners. This is because they will help you to maintain good form and balance when running on uneven and treacherous terrain. There are a few key exercises that you can do to strengthen your legs and core, such as:


l Squats

l Lunges

l Crunches


Improve Your Balance and Coordination

Another important training priority for trail runners is to improve their balance and coordination. This is because good balance and coordination will help you to run more efficiently on difficult and uneven terrain. There are a few key things that you can do to improve your balance and coordination, such as:


l Practicing single-leg balancing exercises

l Practicing running on different types of terrain

l Including agility drills in your training sessions


Increase Your Flexibility

Flexibility is another important quality for trail runners to possess. This is because it will help you to avoid injury and will also allow you to run more efficiently. There are a few key things that you can do to increase your flexibility, such as:


l Stretching before and after your runs

l Including yoga or Pilates in your training routine

l Avoiding excessive muscle soreness by using the proper recovery methods


By focusing on these key training priorities, you can be sure that you are constantly improving your skills and abilities as a trail runner. By doing so, you will be able to run faster, further, and more efficiently on any type of terrain.


Great Trail Runners Run Ultra Marathons

There are a few key things that distinguish an ultra run from a regular running race. Firstly, ultra runs are much longer in distance, often ranging from 50 kilometers to over 200 kilometers. Secondly, they typically take place in rugged and remote locations, such as mountains or forests, which add to the challenge. Finally, ultrarunners often have to carry all their own supplies with them during the race, including food, water, and sometimes even camping gear, which can make the event even more difficult. 

While ultrarunning certainly isn't for everyone, those who do enjoy it often find the experience to be very rewarding. The sense of accomplishment that comes with completing an ultra is unlike anything else, and the bonds that are formed with other ultrarunners are often very strong. If you're thinking about trying an ultra, be sure to do your research and train properly first - it's not a decision to be made lightly! But if you're up for the challenge, an ultra could be the most memorable running experience of your life. 

There are many different types of trail ultras, each with its own unique challenges and rewards. Here is a rundown of some of the most popular types of events: 

The 100 Mile Run: The granddaddy of them all, the 100-mile run is perhaps the ultimate test of endurance. These events often take place over rugged, mountainous terrain and can take anywhere from 20 hours to several days to complete. 

The 24-Hour Endurance Run: As the name implies, these events last for a full 24 hours, and runners must complete as many laps of a specified course as they can within that time frame. These races are often held on relatively flat courses such as loops around parks or tracks. 

The Multi-Day Ultra: These events are similar to the 100-mile run but are spread out over several days, with runners covering a set distance each day. Multi-day ultras can be particularly challenging as they require not only physical endurance but also mental toughness and the ability to recover quickly from one day to the next. 

The Ultra Relay: These events are team efforts, with each team consisting of anywhere from 2 to 12 members. Each team member runs a section of the course, then hands off to the next runner in line, until all team members have completed the entire distance. Ultra relays can be run over any distance or terrain and often last for 24 hours or more.

The Solo Ultra: As the name implies, these events are completed by a single runner, with no help or support from others. Solo ultras can be particularly challenging as runners must be self-sufficient and able to take care of all their own needs during the event.


Are Ultra Marathoners Healthy?

While there are many benefits to running long distances, there are also some risks involved. Ultramarathoners are at a higher risk for developing certain injuries, including stress fractures and Achilles tendonitis. They are also more susceptible to dehydration and hyponatremia (low blood sodium levels). 

So, are ultra-marathoners healthy? The answer is complicated. While there are some risks involved in running long distances, the benefits often outweigh the risks. 

Ultramarathoners tend to be very fit and have a low risk of developing cardiovascular disease. They also tend to have a strong mental fortitude that allows them to push through difficult situations. Overall, ultra marathoners are generally healthy people who have made a choice to challenge themselves physically and mentally.


Peter Brooks

Peter Brooks

I’m a hiker, backpacker, and general outdoor enthusiast. I started hiking out of college while working for the National Forest Service, and have been hiking ever since. I’ve been solo hiking and leading hiking groups for two decades and have completed hundreds of small hikes and some majorones such as the Appalachian Train and the Pacific Crest Trail, and hiked on four continents. I’d love to share some of my insight with you.

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