Take it easy the first few times. Your first time hiking around trails might be slow as you adjust to the terrain, as there are roots, rocks, slopes, trees, and more in your way. It my not feel natural. Don’t worry, every time will get easier as you learn to read the trail. Keep your arms a bit higher and don’t be afraid to wave them around to keep your balance. Also, lift your knees and legs a little higher so you don’t trip.
Slowdown. There is no need to run super fast on the trail. As you do more this will become more natural, but being able to read what is in front of you and adjust your body position and what your feet have to do to get over or around things are the most important. Slow is fast.
Ditch the GPS. This ain’t road running and you will not hit your normal running splits. Instead focus on total time spent running as opposed to pace or distance. It’s a great time to just enjoy being outside and focus on your surroundings.
Make sure you know where you’re going. Make sure you have looked at the map and know what to expect on your run: how long is it, where are the exits, how do you know if you are still on the right trail. Have a look at www.hkrunning.com for some great hiking or running ideas in HK.
The trail rules. Being in nature is different and you’re going to have to perhaps carry more with you (water, clothing and food) also make sure you leave no trace… there is no one there to pick up your rubbish.. so all responsible trail runners carry any rubbish out with them until they find a bin.
Trail etiquette. Make sure that if you listen to music you can also hear what is going on around you. Don’t sneak up on people.. let them know you’re coming if you are running behind them with a shuffle or a cough. If you need to pass someone, make sure to say “on your left” or “on your right” to give them a heads up that you will be passing on that side.
Make sure you have the right gear. Running is great because it requires little gear – although it doesn’t seem that way with all the flash equipment around. Hong Kong’s trails are generally not super technical so a nice Road/ Trail shoes will do fine. Make sure the sole has good cushioning and you have good heel support. Also that the sole of the shoe is not too thin because you’ll be running over rocks etc. There are some great shops around that can help – Gone Running, Lantau Basecamp, Action X are good.
Hydration. You have three main options when you are drinking water on the trail. You can have a handheld water bottle, a hydration vest with a bladder and a hose, or, if your vest or running bag has pockets at the front you can put two bottles there. Some have pros and cons for each:
Handheld bottles are easier and quicker to fill up but the extra weight in your hand could be cumbersome. you will also be carrying less water. Bladders carry more water, and the weight in centered on your back which is more comfortable, but they take longer to fill up, and you have to take your bag off to do so… and you aren’t aware of how much you’ve drunk.
Try a few and see , also depends on what you are doing – maybe no need for a pack and 2L bladder full of gear if you are only doing 2K round the block
Check the weather forecast before you go and pack accordingly you don’t want any surprises: sunburn, rain etc
Walking and running. When you go trail running you will walk there is no shame in it usually a great trial run consists of running and walking combination.