(Also, I didn't update my 6 mile run home from Work on Friday - with a backpack)
As I've said before it's a good idea to try out new routes for a lot of reason. It's also a great idea to try different surfaces. Today I finally got around to some trail running at the Fells with C. Since high school, the only other time I've done this was when did a few miles in the back-country above Santa Fe.
Trail running forces you to use different muscles. Dodging roots and loose boulders, short steep hills, changing surfaces results in quick changes to pace, effort and form. Having to keep track of trail markers keeps your mind on the task at hand - which helps to keep up pace. I think my mental monologue went "where's the next marker... THERE IT IS!... where's the next marker."
While trail running has a ton of benifets, there are some risks involved. So for your enjoyment here are some trail running tips.
- Always bring water - The runs can take longer, be harder, you might get lost. In fact, since you have your water belt on, throw in a few gels or a powerbar just to be safe.
- Bring a map - I did this by photographing the trail map with my phone.
- Bring a phone - especially important if you're by yourself, or in my case, it has GPS and you have a tendency to get lost... also they're a nice way to bring a camera.
- Trail shoes are a great investment - a thinner sole gives better feed back and a stiffer sole helps to prevent rolled ankles.
- Leave your i-Pod at home and Enjoy the scenery.
- Have fun... yeah its really that simple. Think of a kid running through the woods, and you'll find bounding over rocks, sprinting to the top of hills and flying down the slopes to be energizing.
- Lean back on the down hills a bit more than you normally do. A slight lean keeps your feet under you giving you better control.
- Pick up your feet. It gets tough at the end of the run (or in C's case when your IT starts acting up) but with roots and stuff its easier to pick up your feet rather than to pick up yourself after you fall.
- Keep your head up. Look down with your eyes at the trail, but keep your head up for balance.
- Try to plot out your steps a few feet in front of you. Once you get in the habit of keeping track of your next steps it comes naturally to plot out some flat surfaces to land on as you spring down a hill.
- Practice - and go at a pace that seems safe.