Investigation: Trail Running

I’ve expressed my own caution with running and lack of satisfaction from it. Honestly I like walking a trail and climbing a mountain and I believe it’s better because it’s less stress on my body. But I am also aware that there are some people out there who love to run (my uncle Doug, my best friend Tab). Just like with drinking, I don’t personally do it, but I don’t judge others who enjoy it. If it brings you pleasure, get on your running shoes and go. That being said, after reading Born to Run last year and my stint in Colorado so far, I have become more aware of the world of trail running. I believe (know) that if I were to do any type of running this would be it. You can look at my high school year book and see my cheesy smile on the cross-country team photo. Why would I chose trail running, why do I find it to be the most primal?

  • Obvious answer is that you’re outside in Nature. Not only is this a connection to our ancestors who may have gotten a wild hair and just ran sometimes (I have to admit that Born to Run offers a compelling story that we were designed to run marathons and actually chase down our prey). But this connection also represents forest bathing, and in the Nature Principle they claim it is the essential vitamin N (nature). Research has shown that just 5 minutes outdoors can boost mood (hmm maybe that’s why I’m so enthusiastic about life, because I spend hours a week outside in nature filling my vitamin N stores, whereas most kids today are posted up behind technology screens depleting their own).
  • Potential for less injury. I don’t like even walking on pavement and avoid hiking areas that are paved (and which I deem ‘touristy’). Less pounding on your joints, which is another beef I have with lots and lots of running, but if you can withstand it go for it. With that being said, notice I said potential. Take caution to keep your gaze a few feet in front of you so you don’t get tripped up by the naturally occurring branch or rock that may also be slippery.

Possible Tips to Picking up Trail Running:

  • First off you may want to find an actual trail, and take into account that you may (will) run slower on the trail than a road- Get a map!
  • Bring a flashlight (best would be the ones that strap onto your head so your hands are free to keep pumping. Last week while hiking down Pikes Peak I ran into several runners who, unlike me were prepared with lights when I got caught the last two miles in the dark. It definitely slowed me down, and presented a real risk for injury not being able to see!
  • Don’t overdo the uphill, as like with drinking it may not hit you til the way down that you’ve overdone it!
  • Don’t follow too close to other runners

Have Fun! Run because you love it. Run the trail because you love the outdoors. Become a trail runner to connect.

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