30 Aug 2018

5 Mistakes Beginners at Trail Running Make!


The 4th edition of the MSIG Singapore Action Asia 50 trail race series is back. It is a flat, fast, urban trail run through the heart of Singapore that will be different, scenic and most of all, fun!

If you have not heard of trail running before, it usually features off-road terrain, inclines as well as slopes for a physically and mentally demanding run.

Trail running is quickly gaining momentum amongst local runners as it is more challenging and uses more muscles for a better overall workout. Although it is very different from your typical run, it is surprisingly easy to get into as long as you take it slow (both literally and figuratively!).

Thinking of trying out a trail run? Here are some mistakes you should avoid to make your trail running journey a rewarding one.

Mistake 1: Wearing the wrong shoes.

Due to the off-road nature of trail running, you will want shoes with a little more grip such as those with Vibram soles. This will help you navigate slopes and uneven terrain more steadily.

You may also want to consider a shoe made with water-repellent Gore-Tex material, so that it is easy to clean after off-road running. It is also wise to wear socks that sit higher on your ankle. This way, you won’t get as much dirt in your shoes which can make your run uncomfortable.

Mistake 2: Going fast, all the way.

One thing you should know is that a trail run will definitely slow your pace down as compared to a normal run. And that’s okay! Walking is perfectly fine in trail running and is in fact sometimes more advisable.

For example, it can be more efficient to walk up the steep inclines and conserve energy, then make up time on the way down slopes. This way, you will save your heart rate from drastically spiking, which can leave you too exhausted to carry on at a good pace.

When the terrain gets tricky, slow it down. It may be called a trail run, but that does not mean you have to run the whole way!

Mistake 3: Training incorrectly.

If you are a new trail-runner, the inclines and descents put a lot of new stress on your hamstrings and quads. After a run with many “ups and downs”, you will feel it especially in your quads.

It will be very helpful to train these areas during your regular strength training. To strengthen your quads for your trail run for example, you should add step-ups and squats to your strength routine.

You should also focus on strengthening your glutes. This way, they are prepared to stabilize your hips on the uneven surfaces during your run. This is especially important if your hamstrings are weak!

Mistake 4: Not keeping your eyes up.

As you will probably know by now from our multiple mentions, running on trails means running off-road. There will be hazards, stones, roots and branches in your way so it is important to keep a look out to avoid any injury!

It is a common mistake for new trail runners to keep looking at their feet as that is what they are used to. Instead, you should focus on looking a few metres ahead. This way you can see what is coming and work out how you will navigate the next obstacles in your way.

Don’t worry. It will soon become second nature, so keep your head up!

Mistake 5: Not getting protected! 

At the end of the day, no matter how much you prepare, sometimes accidents happen. If you are new to trail-running, you will naturally be more prone to injuries.

That should not stop you from trying out this great sport though! Simply choose to stay protected with a personal accident plan, just in case. A great plan for amateur trail-runners is MSIG’s ProtectionPlus. This personal accident insurance covers many non competition-related injuries that you may have during your trail run. (This also means that professional competitors will have to consider another plan!) You can find out the full details here.

Time to hit the off-road!

Sign up for the MSIG Action Asia 50 Trail Race here. For a limited-time only, enjoy 25% off your ProtectionPlus plan when you sign up for the run! Your promo code will be provided in your run confirmation email and can only be used by participants of the run. See you there!