5 Smart Tips for Winter Trail Running in the Macedon Ranges

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Combine your love of running and nature in the Macedon Ranges this winter.

Any way you look at it, the sport of trail running is booming in Australia, and the Macedon Ranges is heaven for those who run on hills, with a plethora of options to tackle.

From the dirt roads and single track of the Wombat State Forest, to the challenging vertical climbs and glorious views on Mount Macedon. The tracks that wind their way through the north of the Lerderderg State Park and Cobaw Ranges, or the trails closer to the towns. We’re truly fortunate to have a huge range of trails on our doorstep.

But what is trail running and how does it differ from road running?

Typically, trail running is off the beaten track. It focuses less on pace and splits and the monotony of bitumen and more on the ups and downs on mountains – tracks that wind their way through sunlit forests, over boulders and logs, through creeks and the beauty of nature.

You could also look at it like this – it’s about community.

It’s about people who not only love running, but love being in the great outdoors, experiencing whatever mother nature wants to throw at us. It’s spending hours on the mountains, chatting as we run, making new friends and supporting each other through the challenges of endurance distances.

1. Macedon Ranges Trail Runners social group runs 2. Early morning mists taken by local runner @sharynmatthews04  3. Trail running through pine forest at Mount Macedon

Tips for Macedon Ranges trail running this winter

We’re in the heart of winter at the moment and there really is no better time to give trail running a go. You might even be lucky enough to run on a snow day! Mount Macedon is truly a winter wonderland when the snow falls as you run. Keep an eye on the weather for the phrase ‘snow falling down to 1000 metres’ and you could be onto a winner!

But let’s look at the basics of trail running in winter to keep you warm, safe and happy.

1. Get yourself some good trail running shoes

Trail runners typically have more grip than road runners, helping you navigate mud, clay and slippery tracks with confidence. You should get fitted to ensure they’re the right shoe for you at a range of shops like The Running Company or Athletes Foot. They might also have a Vibram sole to help on rocky terrain and other features designed for mountain running.

2. Layer up

Consider your clothing choice carefully when running mid winter. A merino top is always a good option as merino wicks away sweat but also keeps you warm. Layering lighter layers is also a great way to be able to monitor your body heat and remove or replace layers as necessary. It gets very cold very quickly if you stop, you don’t want to end up with hypothermia!

Snow Mt Macedon Trails

3. Keep an eye on the weather

Check the forecast the night before, and again before leaving in the morning. Is rain or snow forecast? Will I need to take a rain jacket? Is there a particular time of day that will be best to go? Remember, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!

Mt Macedon Trail Running in Winter


4. Safety first

When running in the mountains always carry basic safety gear, which might usually include an emergency blanket and compression bandage. You might also include bandaids, tissues and the like. In warmer months it is essential to carry a snake bandage. All of this can typically be carried in pockets or belts for shorter distances, or running vests for longer distances, where you might also carry food, gels or water. As the scouts say, be prepared!

5. Get connected

Running with friends is a great way to enjoy the trails. Runners can show empathy in tough times, spur you on and celebrate your achievements. It’s also a matter of safety; imagine falling and hurting your leg with no one around to help. If you’re a solo kind of runner, just make sure a partner or friend knows your intended route and estimated finish time, so an alert can be raised if you don’t return.

The most important thing to starting trail running is to just get out there and give it a go. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain. You don’t need to be fast or fit, you just need to run.

Macedon Ranges Trail Runs

Macedon Ranges Trail Runners social running group

About the author

Libby Nuttall is a journalist and communications professional who also happens to be a passionate runner with the Macedon Ranges Trail Runners. Whether you’re a local or a visiting runner, be sure to join the club’s Facebook group and follow them on Instagram to find out where their next group run is. They’re a welcoming bunch, who just want to enjoy the mountains together. The group also run beginner runs throughout the year.

Popular trail runs in the Macedon Ranges

There are many Macedon Ranges running trails to explore and its close proximity to Melbourne makes it highly accessible to ‘out of towners’.

Here’s five trail runs in the Macedon Ranges to get you started.

Following the Macedon Ranges Trail Runners Facebook group and Instagram is also a great place to start. Alternatively you might want to check out Macedon Regional Park, with 30 kilometres of tracks to explore.

Share the trail running love

Share your Macedon Ranges trail running experience with us on Instagram so we can share your running love with others. Post your pics with the hashtag #macedonrangestrailrunning

Main banner pic credit: Instagrammer @sharynmatthews04 

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