You will be slower on trails than you are on the road, and that's OKAY! Depending on the terrain, you may be seconds to minutes slower per mile. Again, that's OKAY. So instead of focusing on the pace focus on your effort level. For example, if you go out for an easy trail run, try to maintain an effort level that you can complete a short sentence out loud without running out of breath.
Run for time, not distance. This strategy will fight the mental defeat of not hitting a mileage goal. Therefore, if you have a 6-mile run, and it normally takes you 60 minutes to complete this distance on the road plan your trail run for 60 minutes. Regardless of how many miles you complete within that time frame, the effort will be similar to a traditional road effort.
Pay attention to all signs and trail markings. They are often your only directions and warning signs in the woods. The trail may be marked with colored blazes on trees, ribbons, arrows, or any combination of the three. Familiarize yourself with a map of the planned route before beginning your run.
If this is your first trail run, be sure to properly hydrate and fuel before getting out there and bring plenty of fluids with you. We also suggest having extra supplies in the car for the ride home.