Trail running is growing in popularity around the world, with some of the most famous races selling out in minutes. But it does not always have to be in the confines of an organised event, any time you bound along on a trail you are doing the sport. If you want to take up trail running, here are some easy pointers. Run, but not too much There are all sorts of gizmos, gadgets and analysis at your fingertips. It can feel overwhelming knowing where to start. Should you get a gait analysis? Do you need the best backpack? Is training a waste of time without a watch telling you how hard to push? Ignore the white noise – run. Other things will help, but they are all supplementary to the simple act of running. And, if you do it consistently enough, you will see quick and massive improvement. But do not run too much. When your speed and fitness improve, it can be tempting to run farther and faster. But if you add too much volume, too quickly, you will get injured. Slowly build your distances over many months to make your new-found sport sustainable. How to improve your use of poles when trail running Do not be afraid to walk After a certain gradient, even the best and fittest runners in the world walk. They call it power hiking. Do not feel like you need to run every inch of the trail. In fact, it is not the most efficient use of your energy. If you want to walk on the flats too, do not worry. Trail running is not like road running when every kilometre has to be run at a specific and consistent split. Power walking and lots of hiking are the perfect training for trail running. Strength and core Supplement your training with strength work . You do not need weights for an effective training session – there are plenty of resources on YouTube to follow. Increasing your strength will not only improve your running, but will also prevent injuries. Do plenty of leg work – calf raises, lunges, single leg Romanian dead lifts, Bulgarian split squats or deceleration jump squats. Also work on your core. Core strength and endurance will help you keep your technique when you get tired, so you are more efficient, faster and less likely to get injured. Nutrition Trail runners often carry food or energy gels, or eat at checkpoints during a race. If you are new to trail running, try a variety of foods. There is no ‘one size fits all’. One brand or bar might give you energy, while another might upset your stomach. Troubleshoot your nutrition and eventually you will find something that works for you. It might not even be a specific trail sports food, instead it could be something like a cereal bar. How to improve your uphill running for trail races Trail shoes Road running shoes are not the same as trail running shoes. The latter are more robust to deal with the wear and tear. There is a huge range of shoes that offer different advantages depending on what you like. Hoka One One offers a well-padded shoe to absorb the shock of long distances, Salomon shoes are thin and light so you can feel the trail with your feet, and Altra’s are somewhere in between. There are all sorts of variations, but try not to get overwhelmed. Ask lots of questions so you know what you are getting. Enjoy Once you scratch the surface of trail running you will find a vibrant and accepting community. It is not all just whippets sprinting through the mountains but people of all ages and abilities. Get outdoors, enjoy nature and make some friends for life.