Trail running after a rainfall can be exciting and downright fun. The air is clean and crisp, the wildlife is more active, and the ground is muddy. A few things can make or break a run on a wet trail, so it's important to follow these guidelines.
1. Respect trail closures.
Some trails are more sensitive to rain than others. Pay attention to trail closures if they are posted. These notices ensure the trails don't get damaged and maintain their integrity for year-round enjoyment. Some trails close after almost every rainfall because of drainage and heavy use of the trail. Please do your best to never run on trails that are closed.
2. Stay on the trail.
This is about respecting the trail conditions. When wet, some sections of trail may be flooded. If there is no path that can lead you around a flooded section, please do not blaze a new trail around the water. This can damage the plants that grow there, lead to erosion of the area, and create extraneous pedestrian paths that encourage people to use them and promote further decay of the trail system. Enjoy the trails as they are so that they can be run for years to come.
3. Bring a good pair of trail shoes.
While there are benefits to trail shoes all year, rainy season is when they really shine. Get a pair that provides good traction and not get water logged when they become wet. Lighter shoes work best when it's muddy because mud can cling to your feet and add extra weight.
4. Use a good pair of socks.
It's important to have a good pair of socks that dry quickly and do not hold water. Thinner socks are usually preferable and a technical sock is much better than a cotton sock.
5. Have fun.
All trail runs should be fun. Just because it's muddy doesn't mean you can't enjoy yourself. In fact, wet trails are more fun than dry and dusty ones. Remember being a kid playing in the rain and mud? Stop trying to skirt the puddles and charge right through. Get dirty. Triathletes run with wet feet all the time. If they can do it, trail runners certainly can.
These tips can help you enjoy wet trails to the fullest. Now go out and have some fun.Sign up for your next race.
Paul Jesse is the store manager at the San Diego Running Institute. He began participating in endurance events in 2006. When Paul isn't racing, he's usually training. His favorite distances are Half Marathon, Half Ironman, and Ironman.