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How to Trail Run in the Mountains

Here in Snowmass, we have more than our fair share of trails to run. Unlike mountain biking, this is one sport you can (are allowed to) do anywhere. Any one of your favorite hiking trails could become your new favorite running trail. While trail running may seem easy, there’s a handful of things to keep in mind to avoid injury and ensure fun. Here’s a few tips to get you started:

  • Find the right pair of shoes – Unlike road runners, trail running shoes are usually beefier, offer much more grip as well as foot protection. Its best to try shoes on in the store to ensure a perfect fit.
  • Hydrate – Hydration is key when you are running at altitude and if you decide to run in Snowmass, its best to bring more than you would at sea level. Then you must decide how are you going to carry water – Camelback, bottle in the hand, running vest.
  • Safety and other gear – Always plan to be out for longer than you expect. It’s no fun getting stuck on the trail in the dark, which is why we always bring a headlamp. Extra snacks, a phone or GPS, and a first-aid kit don’t hurt either.
  • Run with a buddy – If possible, try running with a friend or at least a dog. If not, tell someone where you are running and when you expect to get back. If they don’t hear from you, they should alert the proper authorities.
  • Follow Trail Etiquette – Yield to other trail users such as bikers, horseback riders and hikers. Remember that uphill runners should yield to downhill runners. Stay on the trail rather than running around puddles. And it should go without saying, but don’t litter.
  • Keep Your Eyes on the Trail – It may be tempting to check out the nature around you, but at least slow down to a walk if you do so. While running, keep your eyes well ahead of you on the trail rather than looking at your feet.
  • Slow it Down – You will unlikely be running the same pace as you would on the run, so forget your time and run by the tune of your body.
  • Consider Poles – Yes, even some of the best runners in the world use poles for trail running.
  • Use Your Arms – Trail runners often keep their arms a little wider to help with balance and stay prepped to jump over obstacles.
  • Walking Hills is Allowed – Remember, ultramarathoners will even walk certain hills to save energy for the flats and downhills.
  • Run Downhill Carefully – When you’re heading down a wide open, smooth downhill trail, you can lean into the hill and let gravity help you out. When you’re facing a technical descent, which is most common while running in Snowmass Village, you’ll want to slow your roll and use a staircase technique utilizing short, small steps.
  • Have fun!

trail running in snowmass village

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