Course Setting for Trail Runs

Here's a collection of commonly asked questions from runners. If you have a question that's not answered here, or if you have suggestions on what else to include, please contact us. We'd love to hear from you!

 

Q: I am interested in doing a trail run but I’m mostly a hiker. Is walking allowed?
A: Absolutely! Lots of hikers do our runs. Most trail runs involve going over some steep sections, a good number of runners also hike these sections as a race strategy to preserve energy. Because we host longer distances as well in all our races, you can feel comfortable taking at least five hours to hike the course.

 

Q: I am a newbie and I am worried about getting lost…how will I know which way to turn at a trail junction?
A: If a junction is coming up, we pre-announce it by putting streamers (at eye level) and pin flags (stuck into the ground) on the side you need to turn to. For example, if you are at a T intersection and you need to turn right, we’ll have streamers and pin flags on the right side of the trail a few feet before you go into the turn (see example here). After you make the turn, look for streamers ahead of you at eye level. These are called “confidence streamers” and are an indication that you are on the right track. 

 

For junctions that are more tricky or if we need to provide you extra information to make the correct turn, we put a white sign with instructions written on it. Always take a moment to read these signs. It will be time well spent.

 

Q: How should I dress for the race? Anything I should consider bringing?
A: We recommend you dress in layers, so you can add or remove clothing as the temperature changes. Tech fabric is the best choice for better wicking, whereas cotton tends to soak up sweat and stay wet. A rain jacket is also an item some runners carry because it is great at preserving body heat as well as blocking wind and rain. On a cold day it would be a good idea to wear a beanie (wool or tech fabric are both good choices, IBEX carries nice ones) and gloves. Other than that, some people carry their cell (protected by a zip lock bag or a dry bag) as an extra precaution.

 

Q: What kind of shoes should I wear for trail runs?
A: The difference between trail running and road running shoes is that trail running shoes tend to have deeper grooves on the sole for better grip. Depending on what you’re looking for, some shoes are optimal for varying terrains, roots and rocks by providing better stability. Some shoes are minimalist to lessen the weight and allow for better feel of the ground. If you are a first timer, we recommend you go to a store that specializes in trail runs and have them help you find the shoes that fit best. Fleet Feet is where a lot of trail runners frequent because the people that work there are all running enthusiasts and many are ultra-runners that have won big races. 

 

Q: Is there anything I should bring for after the race?
A: We recommend bringing a set of dry clothes so you can change out of wet clothes and keep warm. Many of our experienced runners bring extra socks and shoes as well for the same reason.

 

Q: What is your recommendation for refueling during a run?
A: Unless you are like Lance Armstrong with an exceptional ability to digest food, on average the body can absorb roughly 250 calories per hour. Because of this, we suggest you eat roughly a bar or two gels per hour. If you wait until you’re hungry to eat, you will be running on low blood sugar which is commonly known as “bonking” and you will experience a significant drop in performance. It will take roughly 20-30 minutes for the body to recover from this state after food is ingested, so it is best to avoid this by eating regularly. Drink wise, the suggestion is to drink roughly 16 oz. of water per hour, more on hot days and less on colder days. If you are running a longer distance, we would suggest you add electrolytes such as Nuun to the water to replenish salt that’s lost through sweating and prevent cramping.  We provide pre-mixed Nuun drinks at each aid station.

 

Q: Where can I expect aid stations on a trail run?
A: As opposed to road runs, trail runs tend to have fewer aid stations (most are about 4-5 miles apart) because aid stations can only be set up at designated open areas. Because of this, most trail runners bring hydration (hydration packs, water bottles, fuel belts, etc.), energy gels and bars with them. Nathan Sports make some of the best hydration packs on the market. The packs come with compartments that allow you to stash food and extra clothes in easily accessible pockets, and they also come with straps that can be adjusted to fit your body to minimize bounce. Some runners prefer to use belts around their waist or a handheld bottle. Any of these options work as long as it allows you to carry enough water and food from aid station to aid station.

 

Q: What kind of food can I expect at the aid stations? How about the finish?
A: The foods that we stock at aid stations are foods that are easy to digest and have a good mix of protein and carbs such as Clif Bars, Clif Shot Bloks, bananas, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and crackers. Drink wise, we provide plain water as well as Nuun electrolyte drink. You are free to pack this food and liquid with you as you go to the next aid station. We recommend you eat and drink frequently to prevent fatigue.

 

Depending on the race, the finish line food differs a bit, but vegetable soup, Chili, bread or bagels, cheese, fruits and a bunch of other stuff like chips, M&Ms and cookies are common options. Drink wise, we'll provide a variety of drinks such as Zico coconut water, Fuse, Wired, Cascade Ice and FRS. At many races we provide pizzas too!

 

Q: Where are the paper cups?
A: One of the biggest sources of garbage at races is the disposal utensils, cups and bowls used to serve food, so to reduce waste, we went to Goodwill and bought a bunch of mix and match plastic cups, bowls and utensils and provide them at events.  After every race we take them home to wash and dry them for the next race. We appreciate you using these items at our races, and when you’re done, please place them in the designated bins. We always also have paper cups for those who would rather use these instead.

 

Q: Do you recycle at races?
A: We recycle and compost at all our races.  You will see three types of logoed bins, marked recycle, compost and trash respectively. We appreciate you sorting items before placing them in these bins so our volunteers don’t have to go through them at the end of the race.

 

Here's the list of things that should go into the compost bin:

  • All food scraps
  • Paper containers of food such as pizza boxes that are soiled
  • The paper cups and plates we provide at races
  • Napkins

Please put all cans, cartons (such as empty Zico containers), plastic and glass bottles, paper and cardboard boxes into the recycle bin. We only have one earth and it's beautiful but also fragile, so please help us keep it healthy and happy. Thanks so much!


Q: What if I run into horses and other users on the trail?
A: The trails will be open to other users during the event, such as hikers, cyclists and equestrians. Please be courteous, you will unlikely encounter more than a few. Where the trails are narrow, please let other participants pass you if they want to get by. It is a passing runner's job to tell the person in front that they wish to pass.

Horses get startled easily and when they are startled they can buck and cause the rider to fall and get hurt. Horses do have the right of way, so if you see a horse, please stop running, step off the path, and let the horse past, unless the rider tells you that it is okay to walk past.

 

Q: Will there be a photographer on the course? Where can I access the pictures after the race?
A: On most of our runs you can expect a photographer on the course and all pictures taken will be available online. Pictures taken by Evergreen Trail Runs organizers will be available on Facebook free of charge for you to download for your personal use. Professional photographers also make their photos available online, but for the high resolution version they may charge a fee to cover their time, cost of travel and equipment.

 

As a tip, in general it is easier for the camera to focus on runners that wear bright colors because cameras like to focus on objects that reflect the most light. If it is a cloudy day and you are wearing dark clothes, the camera could focus on the trees and rocks in the background instead. And of course, everyone looks good with a smile!

 

 

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