Trail running tips for muddy conditions
It's inevitable in the UK at least that you will experience mud on many of of your trail runs. Some people love it and others can't stand the stuff. Here we unpick some techniques and advise about how best to deal with it.
1: Embrace it. It's often impossible to avoid and in doing so can hamper your chances of staying upright. If you are able to read the lay of the land and are fairly confident that a puddle of water/snow/mud is not deep it can be safer to go straight through it. Yes, you'll get a bit more mud on your trainers but the more direct route means that your not distributing your weight from side to side quiet as much.
Imagine changing direction on ice, redistributing the power/weight from one leg to the other in order to make this change happen. You all of a sudden have much more applied load on the one leg and therefore if it slips out from under you there is not a whole lot of time to recover. In a straight direction even if you slip there maybe chance you catch yourself as the distribution is more even.
2: Route selection. If you don't enjoy mud then plan a route that you think can avoid the worse affected areas. Look for rocky track or higher elevation route that may avoid water courses. Conversely if you do enjoy get stuck in but be safe, remember to avoid bogs and be aware of just how deep these deceptive puddles can go!
Keep looking up, you can usually avoid large patches of mud if you give yourself enough time to look up and review what is in front of you. This can be hard if the terrain is challenging but no harm in slowing down a touch to find a route better suited to you. Additional to this don't be afraid to deviate a little, being adaptable and flexible is common place tor trail running. Just try not to get too lost in doing so.
3: Footwear. With any terrain there is now a specific type of shoe to match. Yes, for mud a deeper lug will provide increased traction but can also clog. Whatever trail shoes you wear, your almost certainly going to slip and slid a bit. That's part of the fun but the more you go out in these conditions the more you learn to harness this, or at very least find yourself falling over less. Waterproof shoes, this is again a preference thing. They're great when their dry but a bit useless when wet. Stating the obvious I know, if only expecting to encounter low levels of mud or water then these could be ideal, doing as they're meant. However, if the mud/water reaches the ankle or breaches through the eyelets then they become a vessel for holding water in and can become a unnecessary discomfort.
4: The aftermath. With mud usually there is rain or the chance of getting wet from slipping over. Preparing your finish spot with a set of dry clothes, a towel and a warm drink can do wonders. With kit all muddy it's important to clean your trainers once back home. Doing this will remove any mud/grit that will dry and deteriorate the upper mesh section that commonly is the first thing to wear.
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