Megan Harrington is no stranger to taking a workout off-road. After competing in cross country throughout high school and college, the Cambridge, N.Y., native found herself doling out training advice to family and friends interested in the sport. Harrington became such the go-to expert that she decided to make it official and set up shop as a certified coach. Here are her best trail running tips.
The most important rule of trail running is to tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to return. Be as specific as possible and let them know which trail you’ll be taking. Even better? Bring a buddy with you!
I love the traction on the New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail ($110, newbalance.com). They are well cushioned without being too heavy.
Prepare for the unexpected! Even if you’re only planning on a short jaunt, make sure you bring a light jacket, as well as extra water and snacks. A cellphone, trail map, small flashlight and first aid kit are good ideas for longer runs, but keep in mind you may not get reception deep in the woods.
I’m all about avoiding harmful chemicals, so I love The Honest Company Bug Spray ($13 for 12 oz., nordstrom.com). This non-toxic formula uses essential oils to repel pesky critters.
Running on trails requires strong core and leg muscles. Prepare for the changes in terrain and elevation by incorporating strength exercises into your workout routine at least two or three times per week. My favorites include planks, walking lunges, single-leg squats, calf raises and pushups.
The bright orange color of the Craft Path Convert Jacket ($110, craftsports.com) makes me visible in any kind of weather. Not only is it water- and wind-repellent, but I can also zip off the sleeves if I get too warm.
Eyes Wide Open
Trail running should be enjoyable and relaxing, but if you’re running on a technical trail (i.e., one that is rocky, root-filled and hilly), make sure to keep your eyes open for obstacles. And remember—if things get especially tricky, it’s fine to walk for a bit.
Be Your Own Sherpa
The Gregory Pace 3 ($99, gregorypacks.com) is the perfect size for stashing your essentials, and it stays put without any annoying bounce!
Interested in following Harrington’s running adventures on and off the course? Check out her blog at runnerskitchen.com!