I recently put my new Brooks Cascadia 6 trail shoes to the test on a segment of the Appalachian Trail in Bear Mountain, NY, and I've got to say, I'm in love. The way the treads grip the ground makes me feel like I can fly down a path without tripping. Still, even with the “right” shoes your next spill is only a loose rock away. Here's what I learned to help prevent falling when you're running in the woods:
Look out Your foot tends to land in the spot your eyes are focusing on, so be aware of uneven areas and gnarly roots that might trip you up. When you want to view the scenery, stop and take a break.
Use your arms Hold them out and slightly away from your body for balance. And take advantage of trees (like I'm doing in this photo), when going down rocky sections.
Slow down Even ultra-marathoners will admit to walking super-steep uphill sections and treacherous slopes. In fact, seven-time winner of the Western States Endurance Run Scott Jurek once told Runner's World speed isn't all that important to his sport: "Experienced trail runners cover about six miles an hour." (For comparison, pros tend to run the same distance in road races in just under 30 minutes.)
Buddy up Bring a friend with you when you hit the trails. Not only is it more fun to share the adventure, it's safer too since there will be someone to run ahead and get help if you become seriously injured.
Have you ever fallen on a trail? Got any advice for staying up right?