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My top tips

My journey with trail running only started about 3 or so years ago and even more regularly when I got the dog. It was always something I had wanted to try but was too scared to do it as I didn't know where to start with it or know any routes. Looking back now it's mad really as it's no different to any other running or routes, it's just that comfort zone that we are used too.

So I've had a lot of messages lately about what kit to wear, how to get started, running with my dog etc so I thought I would pop a few of my tips down on paper for those wanting to get into 'hitting the trails'.

  1. Start somewhere you know, and it doesn't have to have any crazy hills. If you are local to Shropshire, Haughmond Hill is a great place to start. There's lots of different terrains to try out and different elevations too if you're comfortable exploring around there. I also have a message on my instagram reminding me the lower levels of the Wrekin are great, you can do a nice circular route around the bottom with the odd climb in there.

  2. Trail shoes. Invest in a good pair of shoes suitable for the terrain. I always wear my trusty Salomon Speedcross. I know where I am with them, they're sturdy and grippy (especially when running with the dog) and suitable for pretty much all terrains and I know they'll cover a good distance. Furthest I've been in them is 27 miles and not a blister or sore foot in sight.

  3. Remove the pressure of 'pace' from your head. It's a completely different style of running, there's hills, obstacles, twists and turns. You may have to walk or walk / run some of the hills, and that's cool its all about slowing down your pace, building your endurance and enjoying the views.

  4. Hydration. I always wear a running vest when I'm on the trails as I always find I drink more than I would when road running. But I guess thats because I tend to be out a bit longer, 10 miles on the road may take me 1.5 hours but that distance in the hills may take me 2 hours. It's also a great and comfy way to carry your keys, phone, food etc. Again, I have a Salomon run vest, but look what works for you weight wise, pocket wise etc.

  5. Plot your route. If you're new to exploring the hills, have an idea of where you're heading and what distance. If I'm running in the mountains I tend to use OS Maps to plot a few routes of different distances. You know what it's like with running, you never know how you'll feel on the day when you start running - you may want to cut it short or tag on further.

  6. If winter running, think gloves, buff, hat, layers, waterproof windproof jacket. Again kit can be carried in your running vest for ease. But you know what the UK is like for weather it can be sunny to start with and by the time you get to the top it could be foggy or even high winds and rain.

We really do have some amazing places to run in Shropshire, including Stiperstones, Long Mynd, Mortimers Forest and some new places I need to go and explore again like the Brown Clee. I will start to share some of my favourite locations and running routes to run on my instagram stories for you to enjoy!

Most of all, go have fun, walk when you need to and enjoy the views!

This is one from a run up to Yr Aran in Snowdonia back in the summer.

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