To bust boredom, tone your abs, and give your body a break from pavement-pounding, Girls Gotta Move Running Club coach Jenny Hadfield suggests trail running. Its OK to wear your regular running shoes on most trails. But if you start doing more than half your runs off-road, invest in a pair of trail-specific running shoes. Here, a few things to keep in mind before heading off the beaten path.
Safety first. Before hitting the trails, pack a snack and check the weather for impending storms. (There are fewer places around, like buildings or overhangs, to take cover under.) If the forecasts clear, take a buddy—Fido qualifies. Tucking your cell phone and a trail map in your pocket is a good idea, too.
Look ahead. Avoid tripping over rocks and roots by focusing a few feet ahead of you on the trail. To keep your balance over challenging terrain, run with your elbows a little wider than normal.
Adjust your expectations. Running on a trail can double the time it takes for you to cover a mile. As you get more comfortable, youll naturally pick up speed. One thing youll get used to quickly: burning extra calories—about 70 more per hour, compared with running on pavement—as you hop over roots and charge up hills.