Trail Runner Survey 2001  
Average age 34
Males 78%
Females 22%
Average Miles Per Week Run on Trails 34
Average Number of Years Trail Running 7
Percentage who Trail Race 69%
Advice and tips for Trail Runners from Trail Runners 
Don't give up, yeah it's hard at first but everyday gets easier and more fun. If it was easy everyone would do it.
Enjoy! It's absolutely wonderful.
Train long, but train slow, look around and enjoy. Get trail shoes.
Although tougher than your typical run on the streets or the gym, trail running it is definitely more enjoyable. Take your time running and look around you and take pleasure from the environment.
Always have a map when running in new area.
Avoid injury - easy on the downhills. They're fun, but brutal. Enjoy the view! Take small steps uphill but keep the same rhythm.
Baby steps, then grow from there!
Be aware of weather, terrain, food and water. Try not to run alone (although running a trail alone is great). Remember while tail running that you are part of that great nature!
Bring a map - out and back is usually easier then loops with multiple turns.
Bring water
Build your quads to prevent downhill knee problems
Careful on downhills, too much & too fast downhills can hurt your knees
Don't be discouraged if you have to walk up the hills at first!
Don't give in when it starts raining, the fun is just beginning.
Don't give up- its so much fun!
Don't move to a place that doesn't have well established trails to run on. I did and I am moving back to where the trails are.
Don't set your watch. Just run for the sake of running.
Don't trip on the down hills.
Enjoy and explore.
Enjoy the beauty of it
Enjoy the time spent in nature.
Enjoy the view. Be prepared.
Find a friend, start easy, and enjoy beautiful locations
Get comfortable running down hill. Wear shoes with stiff bottoms.
Get good shoes, run in all weather, don't forget to look around.
Get good shoes, step lightly, and watch the roots.
Get good, supportive, and comfortable shoes.
Get off pavement.
Get out in the woods
Get out of the city - it's so much harder to motivate when you've got to fight traffic to get to a trail.
Get out there and enjoy.
Get shoes about 1/2 size too big, because when they get wet and dry, they may shrink.
Go for it. Beats running on roads any day!!
Go hard or stay home
Go out and enjoy the run and throw your watch away.
Go slow enough to enjoy the trails - you'll get more out of the run, hurt yourself less, and get lost fewer times.
Have fun and enjoy the run.
Have fun and if you do ultras walk the hills and run everything else.
Have fun and look out for the magic roots.
Have Fun. Get Dirty.
I enjoy running the hills west of Boulder, but have the most fun when I run with a partner. I've had numerous near-disasters involving snakes, so I advise the new trailrunner to watch the path below! I always carry plenty of water and snacks, and be prepared for changes in weather.
If you find a pair of trail running shoes which you like, buy four pairs... styles change rapidly. Carry a compass (watch or liquid).
If you're a street runner, don't expect to be able to run the same long run distances at first without feeling sore afterwards. You use many stabilizing muscles that don't see much use on the street. Also, your heart rate will be higher if you try to run at your street pace. If you'll be running on rocky trails, purchase some good trail shoes. The rocks will chew up the plastics and rubber on street shoes.
Increase distances slowly, focus more on increasing time out on the trails & let the distance take care of itself.
It comes down to shoes. Find the right ones for you.
It is a lot easier on your body. Don't expect to go as fast as on the road. It is really good for developing not only strength and endurance, but agility and balance.
It will change your life.
It's just as important to walk/hike parts of the trail. Be flexible with your feet. Learn how to fall and tumble "go with it" so to speak.
It's one of the most interesting things you can do!
Just have fun and be careful.
Keep your eyes focused on the footing.
Learn downhill technique ASAP!
Listen to your body. Start slow and don't push too hard at first. There will be plenty of time to challenge yourself.
Pace yourself
Pay attention to the footing.
Run were you can enjoy the views. Always look ahead. Be aware of your surroundings.
Seek out trails that are rugged and wet. Get the right shoes and warm clothing. You'll also find that running down a steep hill is as exciting as mountain biking. "Tough trails are always more fun."
Slower is better.
Start easy and slow in order to develop your "trail legs" and experiences.
Start off slow. Purchase a quality but affordable pair of shoes. One that YOUR feet feel comfortable in. As you progress, it may become more practical and necessary to spend the big $$$ on a shoe. Concentrate on a proper running technique (stride, breathing, mental focus, etc) before trying to master speed or distance. Start off on flat smooth trails then work up to hills and more demanding trails. Keep hydrated! Relax, enjoy and do it because it is fun, nothing else.
Start slowly and then progressively add on the miles
Start when you are young, it's hell when you get a few years on you.
Start with a short run with some hills and flats and gradually work up to more difficult terrain
Start with short distances. Find places that are visually appealing. Run with a friend. Find your local Hash House Harriers.
Strengthen and stretch your ankles to prevent injuries.
Stretch
Take it easy and enjoy where you are. Dogs are the best running partners and there are no cars to worry about!
Take it easy on trail until you learn how to step lightly. Heavy foot falls lead to ankle turning, especially on unstable terrain. Striking on your heals should be reserved to trails devoid of leaf cover or lots of rocks, otherwise plant your foot flat or stay on the balls of your feet. Lastly, if you are running in a remote spot, take a friend or at least let someone know where you are going to be...and ALWAYS RUN the hills!
Take the time to enjoy every trail run. Stop, look around, and pity the poor fool who is pounding the pavement and competing for air with automobiles.
Take time to look around, trails are beautiful.
Talk to experienced trailrunners.
There are two kinds of trail runners, those that have fallen and those that will fall. Have fun!
Three things -- Enjoy, enjoy and enjoy
Trail running shoes are the most important thing!
Train wisely...listen to your body
Treat the wilderness with respect
Try running a trail at night in the mountains without a light for a great experience (carry a light and wear reflective clothing.)
Try running on a trail where mountain bikes go. If you can run on the trail without falling down, that's the trail for you. Also buy a GOOD PAIR of TRAIL SHOES with protection for the toes. I FOUND THIS TO BE THE ONE THING THAT CAN REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
Watch for stumps
Watch your footing and don't zone out. You'll do a face plant or worse.
Watch your step...find a tall hill..scramble to the top...nice view eh?...sweet
Wear good shoes, pay attention to what you are doing, learn to love hills.
Wear sunglasses, maybe with clear lenses. I find eye-protection very important.
When going up hills look at the treetops and you won't notice what a big hill you are actually climbing.
When going uphill relax arms, bend knees slightly, and alternate between walking and running
Work on conditioning incorporating hill workouts and weights. Pay special attention to foot injuries.
Work on pace.
How I got into trail running 
I don't like dodging cars. Trees are easier to dodge, they don't move.
If you are a runner you try always to find new interesting things in running!
A change of scenery.
A dirt road led me to a trailhead and I've never turned back.
A friend took me out on the trails.
Alternative to running on the street
Always ran on trails before I ever heard of the sport. It was natural.
Bored of running long runs (10 to 18 miles) on city streets.
Brother-in-law
College cross country
Cross country and U.S. Marine Corps
Decided to start running in 1996 - so I ran a marathon that year. Meet some trail runner, the rest is history.
Desire to enjoy nature
Did some in college at CU Boulder. Started up again two years ago after becoming bored with roads.
Found a group that did weekly trail runs and then enjoyed spurts afterwards.
Friend who is an ultra runner
From college cross-country and hiking/backpacking background
Got bored with the road scene, wanted a bit more of a challenge
got tired of the roads
Got tired of working out in the gym when in Ohio, so star5ted running the trails in the National Park
Had cross country races at local state parks then would run on the courses over the summer.
Hashing and watching "Last of the Mohicans" twenty times
Hi-tec adventure racing
I got involved in trail running because around my home town, Mexico City, there are incredible mountains filled with beauty and their altitude is perfect for getting endurance.
I hated road running, but loved to run, so a friend told me about some great places not far from where I lived, plus I got involved with the newenglandtrailrunners.com email group.
I have a nice trail out back of my house
I live near a trail and needed to run my dog, also I read about it in a magazine.
I moved to Santa Barbara. When faced with so many incredible and easily accessible trails, I had no choice but to run them.
I started mountain biking and thought the trails would be ideal for a run as well.
I started out west running in the desert. Having lived in east tn. most of my life, with the many mountain trails, it was a natural next step
I used to live near an old railroad track bed and across from state gamelands.
I used to race mx/mtb/bmx, and I used to run as part of my training. I love the outdoors! Trail running is part of my lifestyle(nature,sciences,extreme sports) and is an escape from my regular life (which includes a large amount of time spent in NYC).
I was having alot of hamstring injuries while running flat and fast, so I decided to try running hills for change. The result was a far more satisfying run, with beautiful scenery and less pain!
I was living in California and the trails were the closest place to run.
I would run when it was too muddy or wet to ride my mtn. bike.
inspiration and motivation from a past female Western States 1st place finisher
Injury and boredom with roads
It's nicer than running on the street
I've always lived in rural areas of the country, so it's a natural thing to do ... if you have any sense.
I went to teach at a summer camp in West Virginia and a group of us counselors would get up before the kids did and run up to 5 miles on some of the hiking trails that were on the camp for the kids. The hills were killer and I got into great shape while at camp.
Joined a running club
Just running trails for training, then doing some races
Just started running on local trails ahead of my girlfriend who liked to mountain bike
Lived near a nice trail and liked running
Living in the mountains.
Living in Yosemite; seemed like the right thing to do
Local running group.
Love for running in the mountains
Love hiking. Started running. Trails are better than pavement!
Love of running and love of the woods
Middle school x-country team
More fun than running on roads. Trees don't hurt as much as cars.
mountain biking, adventure racing
Moved to Boise where trail running is a way of life.
moved to desert area
Moved to Northern California.
moving to Durango
My buddy Bill Finkbeiner got me going.
My coach in high school took the team to Sycamore Canyon in Southern California regularly to run.
My sister who lives in Alaska suggested it. So I got Trail Runner magazine and got hooked.
Near Ketchikan, AK in 1982. Where I lived, there were no roads.
Off season training
On my own
Proximity of my home to trails vs dangerous thin rural roads. Easier on my joints.
Ran all of the roads in town, so I decided to head for the woods and the river-banks.
Ran the Yellow Jacket 5K - Richmond, VA
Running for health this summer, discovered the pleasure of running without cars and pavement. Also as a connection with my nephew (17 yrs old) with whom I run on Sundays.
Running marathons in all states, provinces, artic, Antarctica, northwest territories; just like to add new ways of running to my list of runs
Running through the now-destroyed Ironbridge State Park (Chesterfield, VA) and then the Richmond Hash House Harriers
Running with our high school cross country team
School
SICK OF POUNDING ROADS
Started running to stop smoking, trails are more fun.
Started with Hashing
The thing to do training for High School XCountry. Just haven't stopped
Through Junior High Cross Country.
Through mountain biking. Friends of mine do both sports, mountain biking and trail running.
Through people I met in the hash house harriers.
To get outside with my dogs and get them summer exercise
To train for sports in high school, and began concentrating more when I got into the military.
Too many injuries from road running. switched to the trails and will never go back to the roads.
Tow Path Marathon, Cuyahoga National Valley Rec.
Track.
Training for High School Cross Country races.
Training for Mtn. bike races
Turned off the road I was running on one day, and found it was more enjoyable
Wanted a change of scenery, thought it might be better for my feet and legs.
Wanted change of pace from road running
Wanted something easier on my legs than sidewalks during longer training runs.
Wanted to hike faster so I ran
Wanted to run the Wasatch 100 (I live minutes from parts of the course). I've done marathons for years and wanted something different & challenging.
When I lived in Vancouver, many friends did the Knee Knackering North Shore Trail Run (KKNSTR)- 30 very nasty miles - after my first one I was hooked. Besides, roads are boring after 15 years!
When I ran Sunmart last year in Huntsville, TX.
When I was in high school cross country and there were a few trails near where I lived