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Injury treatment and prevention guidance with Bexar Athletic Training owner, Dr. Spraggins.

Treasure in the Trails

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

Trail Running: Humble Beginnings, Trail Talk, Wailin’ about Trailin’

Treasure in the Trails

Many people sift their way through the exercise river to find the treasure of the trails. Trail running is the golden nugget at the bottom of the pan, and you’ve struck gold! So many trail runners start their running journey on asphalt after looking for a way to exercise but filter a bit further and hit pay dirt. As an avid trail head I love to share my passion for trail running with whoever will listen. If you are interested in the beauty of a wooded trail for the first time or are a seasoned trail runner here are a few things to consider.

Vista Trail Mcallister Park, San Antonio Texas.

Trails can be Tricky

Trails can be tricky, not just in the “might trip on a root” way you may think. Wrapping your mind around running through a wooded area can be daunting. Growing up in rural East Texas I have little hesitation at jumping into an unfamiliar tract of forest to run for miles. I have to remind myself; not everyone is immediately comfortable with being surrounded by nature, miles from a highway at times, and often out of cell service. Ensuring a safe experience is the first priority.

Some basics to share with any beginner:

-Always let someone know where you are going and when to be expected back.

-Carry plenty of water and be hydrated prior to starting the run. If you feel like a raisin, hold off and hydrate until your urine runs clear.

-Error on the side of caution until you are familiar with the terrain.

Outside of the basics here are some ideas to make trail running more enjoyable for the newly initiated.

one of many Greenbelt runways Culebra and 1604, San Antonio Texas.

Set up for Success!

Find a Mentor: Know someone who runs? Ask to tag along. If not, there are often many group runs that originate from running stores, social group runs, and events to tag along. The trail running community is often very welcoming. Ask a few questions to break the ice in a group setting, this often will bring a leader forward to help first timers.

Be a mentor: I run alone 90% of the time. This changes when I invite new people to run. Good conversation and some real-time tips on the first trail run can go a long way to ensuring a great first experience. It may not be your pace but sticking with a first timer could produce another avid trail runner in the long run.

Things To Know

Running apps: If you choose to go it alone, there are great apps out there to help with planning before or even during a run. Some of the ones I use are Alltrails, Trail Run Project, and Strava. These tools help with planning out a route prior to hitting the trailhead. This can give you useful information such as distance, elevation, user rated difficulty and overall ratings. If you have cell service, you can follow your progress on a live tracking map to keep you on course. Social media apps like strava are great for sharing your activities, pictures and finding new running friends.

Equipment: Good equipment makes trail running much more enjoyable. You don’t have to spend your life savings to get started. Start with a good pair of trail shoes and some moisture wicking socks. I encourage everyone to shop local and hit their nearest run specialty store. You can get advice, find run groups, and purchase the items you need.

My Challenge

If you are here, you may be thinking “Maybe I can do this” or even “I could help”. Great! Spark up a conversation at the local run store or run group. Download an app and start searching for local trails to hit after work. Now find those shoes, dust them off (or by new ones) and hit the trails. Your gold nugget awaits!

A peak of morning at Friedrich Wilderness Park, San Antonio Texas.

TL;DR- First time trail running can seem challenging. Find a guide or be a guide, jump in local group runs, or use available trail apps and get out there!

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About Author:

Adam Edgar is a local San Antonio trail running junkie that finds great joy in exploring the outdoors within our cities boundaries.


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