Trail Basics for Utah Runners

Utah is known for its diverse terrain, stunning landscapes, and bountiful recreational opportunities. Runners in the state nearly always have the option between paved suburban streets, city sidewalks, and beautiful, backcountry trails. Trail running, however, is slightly harder than other forms of running. I don’t recommend jumping into it without proper equipment and knowledge. So, here’s a list of trail running basics to review before you head out.

Hydrate in advance. Utah has a pretty high elevation, and you can’t always depend on thirst to alert you to dehydration. Drink enough plan water to dilute your urine to pale yellow or clear. If you can, bring along a water supply in a handheld bottle or a refillable armband.

Get your gear. Occasional trail runners can perform well in regular running shoes, but if you make a habit of the terrain, invest in a good pair of trail runners. The treat on these shoes is more aggressive, and most have a rock plate in the sole to protect your feet from sharp rocks.

Dress appropriately. Dress as you might for a day of hiking but remove one layer (you’re more likely to work up and sustain a sweat). Use durable and comfortable clothes in quick-dry fabrics. Also, opt for close-fitting clothing to reduce chafing, and pack a layer for stops or if unpredictable mountain weather shifts.

Choose your location. I personally love the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. It’s around 100 miles and tracks along the ancient shoreline of the Great Salt Lake. It has excellent views and there’s little chance of getting lost. I also love running and hiking in ski areas. The elevation generally means slightly cooler temperatures, and you can catch some of the best views in the state.

Have fun. Trail running is an entirely unique experience, and Utah is an excellent place to try it out. Remember to not get caught up in times or performance; trail running is a humbling experience. With enough patience and practice, you’ll be able to improve your form. For now, just focus on the experience itself.


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