Tips for Trekking Your First Trail Run

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Now that Race-tober has come to a close, we’ve had a chance to reflect on all the “firsts” we’ve experienced this month: Monica ran her first 10K, Run 10 Feed 10, Kate took her sister to her first 5k, a very rainy yet triumphant Monster Dash and one of our most memorable races, our first trail run with the The North Face Endurance Challenge at Kettle Moraine State Park.  The North Face went above and beyond in sponsoring us, not only giving us sweet race gear before the race, but also surprising us with a backpack full of running essentials once we made our way to our hotel.

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For anyone who has been running 5Ks for a while or would love to just get out in nature more, we think a trail run could hit both those spots.

Here are some things we learned from our experience:

These shoes were made for trailin’

Invest in a pair of trail shoes.  Your feet will thank you for your generosity.  When we first received our North Face Ultra MT trail shoes, we noticed how stiff they were as compared to our norm runners.  A wise friend explained that trail running shoes and more hearty with more tread so you have better grip and can withstand stepping on wily rocks and sticks that may try to block your path.  These shoes are also waterproof to withstand wet and muddy trails.

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Climbing every mountain 

The environment of trails can vary from run to run.  You may find well groomed trails, wild overgrown ones, or paved trails in your travels.  You may find you require more stamina and time to trail run than what you’re used to so don’t feel discouraged if you are slower paced than your average pavement jaunt.

Dress to impress–the wilderness

The weather the day of our trail run was not exactly what you would expect for early October but Midwest weather is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, ya never know what you’re gonna get.  Chilly and brisk was the name of the running game for our race day.  Keeping in mind that we were going through the woods, we wore layers.  For rain, try a light or medium weight rain jacket, like The North Face Women’s Venture Jacket.  Trust us, don’t wear your poncho to run unless you want to sweat like a wild hog as you swish through the wilderness.

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And some advice from the trail running pros!

Runner’s World: 21 Quick Trail Running Tips

Active.com: 9 Trail Running Tips for Beginners

Trail Runner: The 10 Commandments of Healthy Running

Ready, set, go!

You can still take on the North Face Endurance Challenge in California, Washington D.C. and New York or try an Illinois trail run if you’re our neighbors.

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Still trail shy?

The North Face offers their free Mountain Athletics training sessions every Tuesday and Thursday in Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. to help you prep for your next ski jump, rock climb, run or crazy jazz hand competition…whatever your goal may be.

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Go Macrobar for Vegan Energy

Good things come in small packages!  That’s what Kate always says about her height and what Monica says about GoMacro’s Macrobars.  Pocket sized (more like IPhone sized for your back pocket) Macrobars pack a healthy snack punch and cater to an array of dietary needs and taste preferences.

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Sweet back story: Co-founder, Amelia Kirchoff, grew up on a cozy London farm where her parents used the minimal produce they grew to sustain themselves. In 2003, after being diagnosed with breast cancer and enduring a lumpectomy and brachytherapy, Amelia turned down additional treatments  and turned up for a macrobiotic diet and lifestyle. Amelia’s adult daughter, GoMacro co-founder and CEO, Jola Sonkin, supported and joined her in her lifestyle change.

Macrobiotic nutrition focuses on increasing your intake of whole grains, produce and beans while limiting or excluding meat, dairy, eggs and processed foods.  Controlled amounts of fish and healthy dessert are acceptable so Amelia ventured into the world of scrumptious vegan goodies with farm fresh fruits and grains from their Midwest family farm.

GoMacro meditates on basic tenets to guide its products: Sustainability, Giving Back, Macrobiotics, Wholesomeness and (Hip Hip…no hippos or any other animal for that matter!) Vegan

Macrobars go for the green-gold with plant based proteins, gluten/additive/GMO freedom, organic origins, compostable containers and a reduced carbon footprint.

Our must have Macrobars:

Our taste buds meandered around the tropical tastes of the Balanced Goodness Macrobar, with coconut and crunchy granola. We are suckers for coconut!  The Sunny Uplift with tart cherries and sweet berries tempted our tummies with it’s ripe chewy fruit bits and the Morning Harvest Macrobar with apple and walnut reminded us of a warm baked apple on a crisp autumn day.

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Macrobars have a tiny ingredient list and there is no foreign” hydra-processed-glutamate PBA” (we made that up) Frankenstein like ingredients. Expect brown rice syrup or coconut sugar, nut or seed (!) butters, cacao and more fruit than an orchard squeezed into a colorful pouch. Kate went on a stint of what she calls the mornin’ Macrobar mania.  Basically, it means you roll out of bed as late as possible, pack a Macrobar, fresh pressed veggie juice and an apple in your bag for a breakfast that lasts til’ lunch.  Trusted by athletes (like the LA Clippers) and fit dabblers (like us) alike, Macrobars offer balanced energy as well without the crash.

Macro-your way to Whole Foods or online to treat yo’self with a full sized Macrobar or a Macrobar mini for those max hunger moments.