5 Top Trail Fails

Friday 5It’s Friday, Salties! When looking through the past Friday 5s I realized we were missing something. Something near and dear to my heart. What this site needs is an entire post dedicated to the foibles of the forest, the dangers of the dirt, the woopsies of the wilderness. You know, those moments you wished were like the tree falling in the woods that no one saw, but instead you were surrounded by groups of hunky dudes and the coolest chicks in town wearing their muddy Merrills and staring at you in your darkest trail running hour.  Oh, those trail fails!

1. You have to number 1…or number 2. When you gotta go, you gotta go and sometimes on the trail, you may be miles and miles away from a bathroom. And sometimes those bathrooms can be less clean than the tree on the side of the trail. Unless you stashed a She Wee in your spi belt, you’re looking at peeing behind a tree, which really isn’t bad if you’re wearing roomy shorts that you can pull to the side. If you’re wearing tights, you’ll have to bare the butt, which is about the worst of it. But in case number 2 strikes, be prepared! Fold up a few pieces of paper towels and stick it in a ziploc baggie. You may never have to use it, but you’ll run easier knowing it’s there. And if you didn’t make like a boy scout, make sure the leaf you use isn’t of the poisonous variety!

Rock on!
If you look like this guy after you fall, you’re so doing it right! (Photo credit: Lachlan Hardy)

2. You fall down. It happens to everyone. Some of us more than others. In fact, I fell two times during the one single run I have ever run with Salty (Salty, I swear that’s not normal for me!). Sometimes it’s as simple as sliding in mud onto your butt or tripping over a rock or root and ripping up your running tights (not that I know anything about that from personal experience or anything!) By keeping an eye on your path, shortening your stride and staying alert, it can help lower your chances of falling. But if you do fall? Get back up! Act like you’re the biggest bad ass in town and keep on running (as long as you’re not hurt beyond a little scraped, bruised and embarrassed).

3. You didn’t dress appropriately. You don’t need trail shoes, a camel bak, a garmin or any other particular piece of gear, but you might want to avoid wearing that white Lululemon running skirt unless you really love the mud-splattered look.

Speaking of dressing appropriately, make sure you take the weather into account.

4. You get lost. It happens. You get swept up in how awesome everything is and next thing you know, you took a wrong turn and have no idea where you are. Keep in the mind weird stuff happens in the woods. There could be crazy survivalists hiding in camouflaged bunkers or sasquatches waiting for their next meal. Don’t become a statistic!

5. You don’t enjoy the miles. The worst offense of all is failing to have fun. Seriously, what’s the use in running trails if you’re not having any fun? Be present and aware of the beauty around you and the chance to escape in a way that road running can’t provide. Look around, take lots of photos and have fun!


Your turn! What are other common trail mistakes and how do you handle them?

This post is dedicated to Clove. May she experience no trail fails as she conquers the evil “rodent” raccoon! 

Trail and 100 mile ultra runner who still loves a good road marathon every now and then. Lifetime Northeast Ohio resident that dreams of the mountains out west, but loves CLE too much. Sometimes a vegan, sometimes does yoga, always loves a good craft beer and post race donuts.

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  1. This summer I did a trail run in State College, Pa and showed up with my new gleaming white Nikes (and had to pee behind a bush – twice!) My shoes were covered in mud, but I actually don’t mind the mud-spattered look – it means I’m hard core! Not as hard core as that dude in the picture though. Next time I fall, I’m so pulling that move (minus the cig, though :))

  2. Not taking enough fuel or hydration with you. 6 miles on trails takes a lot long and a lot more calories sometimes then 6 miles on the road. Not taking enough fuel or hydration becomes problematic when you’re miles from the nearest food source

  3. If you’re running by yourself – don’t forget your phone! Falling happens; I bit the dirt hardcore on a very rocky trail this spring – I mean hamburgered palms and the whole 9. No one was around, so I had the privilege of just laying there for a minute assessing myself. During my self-assessment, I realized I was at least four miles from my car, and there was nothing to do but keep going. I was glad to escape with a few bruises, a scrape or two, and a strained soleus that would put me out of hardcore training for a month or so, but I was also grateful to have my phone with me…just in case it had been any worse.