I thought I’d share with you all the things I love about trail running today. At least all the things that I am thinking of right now. There are probably more, but here’s what I have so far… (each reason will be separated by a pic from yesterday’s trail run).
It is never boring.
Literally, never. The time goes so fast because you are constantly watching your footing while checking out all the amazing views and scenes of nature. I try to eat every 45 minutes on a long run and my body is really adjusting to that time frame. There were many times last Sunday where I started to feel like it was time to eat and thought that there was no way 45 minutes had passed, but yep….it was time to eat again! I truly enjoy every minute I am out there on the trails. I can’t say that for the roads. In fact, I used to dread getting a long run started on the road (but never regretted when it was done). Now I look forward to spending a day in the woods and I get excited to explore and go on an adventure 🙂
I feel completely grounded.
There is a sort of transformation that happens along the trail. All the trivial things I worried about or obsessed over during the other parts of my day simply vanish within my first few footsteps. I am one with my surroundings and reminded of what is most important in life. Everything thing seems more simple and focused as I concentrate solely on my footsteps and my surroundings. It’s like all of my senses come alive and I am just here running. I’m not thinking about the past or the future. It is truly a gift!
It is always an adventure.
You can run the same trail every day in different conditions and it will seem like a completely different experience. Rain, snow, ice, mud, trees that have fallen over, leaves, etc. All of these things can drastically effect trail conditions and make an easy trail seem hard, or vice versa. Learning to adapt to your conditions no matter what they are is a great life lesson learned on the trail. I know this will be a key factor in completing any new ultra distance and I think it is totally badass. Overcome all obstacles and find a way to get through any current problems. One foot in front of the other until the finish.
It works more muscles than road running.
When I started trail running, I remember thinking my legs hurt in places that I didn’t even know existed. I was so used to what road running soreness felt like, but after my first trail half (with snow and ice conditions), I experienced a whole new level of running soreness! And I couldn’t wait to go back for more. The rocky, rooty trails of PA will have you side stepping, and landing your stride in all kinds of funny ways to find the right footing. My boys think some of our trails are like hopscotch (and they basically are), but think of all the new muscles you are strengthening!
I certainly do run hills on the road when I cannot make it to the trails, but the elevation change on the trails is a whole other ballgame. Many times you are are power hiking to get to the top and that is okay. It is a skill needed in longer distance races anyway, and it leads you to my ultimate favorite aspect of trail running…..
Downhill Running (Basically the Closest you will ever get to Flying)
It is SO much fun running those downhills. The only effort it takes is proper footing and balance. Okay, so it’s not easy, but it is amazing. I have never felt more powerful or alive!