Goa Trail Run


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Running is a high-impact sport. This could mean aching joints, inflamed tendons, injured ligaments, torn meniscuses in the knees or other running-related injuries. Not in the Goa Trail Run; one way to lessen the impact of one's feet constantly striking the ground is to run on a softer surface. 


The Goa Trail Run is mostly on grass, rocks and dirt. Grass is a soft and low impact surface, so it is a better choice for people with impact-related running injuries. It's rated as the best surface for running. Right behind grass, dirt roads are also rated as among the best surfaces to run on. This race is ideal for even those who tend to suffer from shin splints, IT band syndrome and other impact-related injuries.

One school of thought holds that the type of surface one runs on should not matter, but most runners find a natural surface causes less injuries. While the best running surface may be a personal preference, there are definite benefits to running on trails as compared to the street. Even assuming the surface doesn't matter, the surroundings at Arambol, with dense forest and grassland, and amazing views, are so much more pleasant and uplifting.

That said, Trail Running has its own set of hazards. Here are 16 points that you would do well to keep in mind:

1. No single trail is the same. Every trail has its own unique terrain and challenge. There are groomed trails that are wide and even in surface, which make for a great introduction to running off the road. And then there are trails with a variety of obstacles, including tree roots, rocks hidden in grass, sticky mud, and more. These tend to be more challenging in nature and offer a dynamic running experience. Most of the terrain on the HDFC Bank Unite Goa Trail Run is the latter.
2. Leave your ego at home. Running off road can be exhausting, and it may take you up to twice as long as your normal run. It’s wise to leave your ego at home, slow your pace and focus on finding a new rhythm.
3. Keep it safe. Don't leave the marked route. Take a cell phone, even though parts of the route have no signal. Keep track of where you are along the trail as you go. Always be mindful of what’s going on around you.
4. Know the rules of the trail. Stay on marked trails and run through puddles, not around them. Leave no trace, and don't litter.
5. Keep your eyes on the trail. It can be tempting to look at the nature around you, but doing so can quickly lead to tripping and falling. If you want to enjoy the sights, walk it out or stop; otherwise, focus on looking three to four feet ahead to create a line of travel, or where you going to step for the next few strides. This will keep you focused and in the moment — one of the true gifts of trail running.
6. Slow down and smell the flowers. Running on trails can be a lot more demanding than the road, especially if it's a technical single track trail with roots, rocks, and other obstacles. It is best to avoid comparing your pace, as you will be slower than your normal road-running pace. Instead, slow your pace and develop a trail tempo. Enjoy the landscape, and enjoy the views. Run by your effort level, by your heart rate and by the tune of your body. That may even mean walking up the hills and running the downhills and flats.
7. Be mindful of your time. Because trails are more demanding, it’s wise to run by time to gain a sense of your trail pacing.
8. Change gears. Adjust your pace according to the terrain, and maintain a consistent effort level as you climb uphill. When in doubt, walk. Running over downed trees or through mud takes some time getting used to, and it’s best to progress slowly.

9. Get Trail Shoes. Trail shoes differ from road-running shoes in that they're lower profile (lower to the ground), which reduces the chance of ankle rolls with a high heel. The rugged tread offers better traction on muddy, wet trails. They should fit snug in the heel but have room in the toe box. If you can, get yourself a pair. Take care of them. Remove the insoles, wash off the mud, and stuff with newspaper or paper towels to dry.

10. Protect yourself. Wear sunscreen. Sunglasses, dark or light, will protect your eyes from thorns, tree branches and bushes. Wear a cap. If you are allergic to insect bites, use a repellent. Long pants / track pants can save your legs from being scratched or cut.
11. Drink fluids. Proper hydration on a trail run is a must, as you never know how long it is going to take. We don't recommend their use (water is best), but if you are used to rehydration fluids (Gatorade, Electral, Enerzal, etc), carry it with you — in your hand, in a multi-bottle waist belt or a hydration pack.
12. Diff'rent styles for diff'rent slopes. Take short, quick steps when going up hills, and use your arms. Tell your ego that most ultra runners walk up hills and run the downs and flats -- it’s a trail thing, and it’s okay to walk! For gradual downhills, lean into the downhill, open your stride, and let the hill pull you down. For steep hills, it’s better to use a stair-stepping motion; move in a similar motion as you would running down a flight of stairs, keeping your torso tall and let your legs to do all the work.
13. Use your arms. Keep your arms (elbows) a little wider for added balance. Your stride is a little different than on the road, because you will need to clear rocks and tree roots and lift your feet a little higher off the ground. You also may need to hop left or right to bypass things on the path like tree branches.
14. Get strong and balanced. Improve your trail running performance; include strength and balance exercises into your regimen two to three times per week, including: lunges on a pad or stability disk, single leg squats, bridge, pushups and dips, dead lifts, calf raises, and using a wobble board to develop foot and ankle strength and stability.

15. Run within your means. When in doubt, slow it down or walk through it.