A Thinking Run
With the temps hitting into the 80’s today, and no that’s not a typo. It feels like summer in all aspects, except on the trail. After work I headed up to the top of Pico. I reached the top of the mountain after 6:00pm and the temp was still almo
st 60! It’s a great six mile round trip run/hike up some technical terrain. The trail requires a lot of awareness and careful steps. I like to think of it as a “thinking run” its not like the road where you can find yourself zoning out for miles putting one foot in front of the other. With spring conditions and summer temps the trails are a mix of everything.
I set off up the trail and it was bone dry. It was as if mud season had already passed. As I headed further up the mountain I ran through muddy sections, icy (yes icy) sections which required nimble feet, and full on streams. Running in these varying conditions is exciting but requires a hyper awareness. It’s part of what makes trail running so enjoyable. For those just starting out on the trails I can profess a few tips.
1. Get use to going slow –
It can be slow going through some of the mud and ice covered trail instead of fight it ease into it and have fun with the varying terrain. You will end up probably walking sections, IT’S OK!
2. Always Look Ahead –
See the next step, find the roots and rocks and navigate around them. Especially this time of year where mud sinkholes are starting to pop up. It’s important to keep yourself loose and looking a step or two ahead.
3. Shorten Your Stride –
Trail running is it’s own beast and your long road strides will not work as well on the trail. Just use to shortening it up and you will actually find yourself moving faster over the trail. For bike riders think of it as your granny gear.
4. Don’t Forget to Look Around –
OK, so I just told you to watch your step, but another critical part of trail running it enjoying where you are running. If you are lucky enough to live in the mountains like myself take the time at the top to soak in where you are. Stop worrying about PR’s on each run and instead use the time to reconnect with nature and let your brain run a little wild. If there is a waterfall along the way don’t feel like you have to fly by it. Sometimes taking the time to look around can be as important as the run.
5. Tell Someone
This is the last one that I am not always good at but tell someone where you are going. Maybe leave a note on your car if needed. Always sign in if on a State or National Trail System. Better yet bring someone along with you and enjoy your surroundings with another. However, at times nothing is better than a run in the woods alone to clear the head.
Overall, the great part about the trail run is it keeps me engaged with the activity. At all times I am aware of what I am doing. Although even being vigilant we all roll and ankle every once in a while or slip on a rock and scrape something and that’s part of the fun. I love coming home legs covered in mud, I wear it like a badge of honor I earned on my run. Have fun out on the trails! Go for your own “Thinking Run” it’s the best way to clear your head and get a great workout in.