How To Chill Out When Running On The Trails

Want to hit the trails but worried about tripping and falling? Our resident coach shares how to be more confident and enjoy the adventure.


NCAA runner turned high school coach Hillary Kigar has an answer for all things training!

Q: I feel really tense when I’m trail running, since I’m afraid of tripping and falling. How can I be more relaxed and confident?

If you haven’t already, it would be a good idea to invest in trail running shoes. They can be pricey, but they offer a lot more support and help with stabilization on the rough terrain. Visit your local running store and have a sales associate help you find the right style based on your running form. You will want well-fitting shoes that make you feel smooth and in control.

Additionally, spend 5 to 10 minutes at least three times a week working on your balance and ankle stability. A good routine includes standing on one foot at a time for 30-second intervals as well as sets of hopping in place on one leg for 15 seconds.

With proper footwear, good balance and strong legs, there’s no trail too tough to tackle!

For the Fun of It

When it comes to trail racing, the most important piece of advice is to enjoy the journey. Trail races can take you through some of the most beautiful places on earth. While pace, training, fueling and fitness are all still important factors, why would you want to waste that view? I recommend everyone who races off-road (from beginners to elites) remember to enjoy the process. Cast aside your type-A tendencies. The experience of spending quality time in the mountains or out on the forest trails is really what matters most.

Have a question for Coach Kigar? Email or tweet @womensrunning with the hashtag #AsktheCoach.