|At the Javelina Hundred 100k this past October. The desert trail run of your dreams!|
Have you ever been disappointed in a run because there was no real scenery and the only thing that kept you engaged in the run was dodging aggressive drivers and in-the-zone, mute cyclists?
I happen to live in a beautiful, mountainous part of Georgia and there is gorgeous, stunning running to be had everywhere, both on the road and on trails. But I love running trails more than anything, even more than the treadmill, and I LOVE running on the treadmill. I know, bizarre.
I love trails. There is a freedom and connection to nature on the trail that you simply cannot replicate anywhere else. If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to do a run on a trail, stop whatever you’re doing and get yourself to the nearest trailhead immediately! You won’t be sorry and you’ll fall in love, promise! Here are some tips to enjoying your first few trail runs:
- Sign-up for a local trail race. I like to familiarize myself with new trails by doing events. There are tons of 5ks, half-marathons and *gasp* ULTRA-MARATHONS to be run on trails. The great thing about events is that courses are usually well marked, there are awesome aid stations (with PB&J sandwiches, M&Ms and gummy bears!) and friendly volunteers, and very often there is imbibing at the end of the race, if you’re into that…did someone say IPA
- If you’re not doing a race and even if you are, make sure you’ve read and are familiar with a map of your trail/course. It’s fun and all to get lost and then find your way back to the trailhead, but it’s even MORE fun to have your family not imagine that you’ve been eaten by Bigfoot.
- If you’re a road runner who is accustomed to cruising at a blazing pace, take a breath and slow down. You’ll need to, if you are hoping to remain upright for the bulk of your run. Trail running is a full-body and full-mind exercise. You’ll spend lots of physical energy running, hopping over large boulders, ducking under low hanging branches, squeezing yourself between large boulders, and balancing yourself in general. This takes a lot of mental energy too. You will be tired but exhilarated at the end of your trail run, even if it is 31 miles long!
Read more on my blog in Women's Running Magazine!