Women on the Trails: Intro to Trail Running Program
Q) How does the "Women on the Trails" program differ from free trail runs?
A) Our goal is to introduce women to the trails in a supportive environment where safety, learning, and exploration are key components. We will kick off each workout with a short "Trail Talk" covering a variety of topics and then incorporate what we learn into the workout itself. Each workout is "no drop" which means no one is left behind.
Q) How long will the workouts be?
A) Workouts will vary in distance and time depending on terrain and skills covered for the session. All workouts will start at 6:30pm and end no later than 8:00pm.
The Women on the Trails Intro program starts with a 15 minute "Trail Talk", warmup exercises, and then the run will last up to 50 minutes or up to 4 miles.
Q) What if I'm not a fast runner?
A) The focus of the Women on the Trails programs is: skills, technique, and safety -- not speed. The WoT Introduction group prerequisite is that you can run at least a 5K (3.1 miles) at approximately a 10-11 min mile road pace.
Q) I know my road running pace. Will I have the same pace on the trail?
A) A general guide for new trail runners is that you can add 1-2 minutes to your current road pace. So for example, if you typically run an 8 minute mile road pace, your trail pace will be somewhere between 9-10 min mile. This trail pace will drop (you will get faster) as you gain more trail experience and skill.
Q) Where will the run workouts take place?
A) The workouts will start from one of three trail heads on the Austin Greenbelt - all are centrally located in or around the downtown Austin area. Click here for a general map of the Austin Greenbelt. Our weekly meeting locations will also be posted under the "Meet" link at the top of the page.
Q) What are the "Trail Talks" before each run?
A) We will cover a variety of trail-related topics for the first 15 minutes of each workout. Topics may include: trail safety, equipment, apparel, navigation, and nutrition. Topics will change week to week and questions are highly encouraged!
Q) Do I need special gear to run on the trails?
A) While trail-specific shoes will help protect your feet and assist with better traction, they are not required for the program. Trail-specific gear and apparel will be discussed during the "Trail Talks".
Q) What is the minimum age range to participate?
A) The minimum age is 14 years old. Any runner 14-17 years old (minor) requires a legal parent or guardian to also be part of the same run group and must be in attendance with the minor (but does not have to run with the minor).
Q) What if I sign up by myself?
A) You're not by yourself, you're with us! This is a great chance to meet other trail runners.
Q) Safety is a big concern of mine. Will this be covered?
A) YES! We will cover safety topics including: running solo vs running with a friend, how to handle wildlife, common (and avoidable) trail injuries, and tips to make yourself extra safe when running.
Q) What if it's raining? Will the workout still take place?
A) The workouts will take place rain or shine. The only exception is if it is lightening (it's not good to be standing under trees when it's lightening). If the weather looks questionable prior to a workout, we will send out an e-mail update to the group 90 minutes prior to the start of the workout letting everyone know if the workout is on or cancelled. If we cancel a workout, we will make every attempt to reschedule it at a later date. And yes, we have run in the rain - just remember that mud is FUN!
Q) How will the group be kept together if people have varying run speeds?
A) We use several strategies to ensure no one is left on the trail. After all, it's our motto! First, coaches will be positioned at the front and rear of the group to allow people to run at their own pace. Second, we pick routes that are fairly straight forward so the chance of someone going off trail is slim. Third, we will have a buddy system where people with a similar pace will be paired up so in the slim chance someone goes off course, they are not alone.
Q) How does the group keep in touch with each other?
A) We strongly encourage everyone to get to know the other runners and we encourage everyone to use e-mail or Trailhead Running's Facebook page to post run requests like, "Hey, I'm going for a run on Saturday - anyone want to join me?", or, "Check out this cool picture I took on the trail!", or anything else that might be happening in the trail running community!
Q) I still have some questions. Who can I talk to?
A) Still have questions? Great! Contact us for answers to all your questions.