Let the Rubber Hit the Dirt


Posted by Coach Brad Noble

Having been a long time “road racer” I have always loved to hit the pavement and find my happy place. I often use the phrase “I am one run away from a good mood”. Other runners will agree that there is something about running that clears the mind and truly frees the soul. Honestly I don’t always want to put the miles in, but I NEVER regret it when I’m done. Plus, as exercise goes, it doesn’t cost much, as it only requires a good pair of shoes, and few exercises pack the calorie burn like running.

On the other spectrum of our fantastic sport, so many people really and truly loathe running. For a myriad of reasons, folks just won’t get out there and hit the road. Perhaps they would change their minds if they let the rubber hit the dirt…

Yes, I said dirt!!! As stated I love the asphalt, but in the last 6 months, I have discovered a new passion - trail running. I did my first XTERRA off-road triathlon back in April, and I will honestly say, it “kicked my butt”, but what an awesome experience!!!! I was hooked, much like my first sprint tri 6 years ago. I finished the race, albeit bloody (having crashed twice) and humbled. Having done 5 Iron-distance races, I didn’t give the race its it due regard, It was much harder than I ever expected! I soon began looking for other trail race and so should you!!!

Living in metro Atlanta, there are a plethora of off road events, and choices aplenty, so off I went. Trail running brings so many new and different experiences and is appealing for so many reasons. I love to escape into the woods or along the river and experience nature. That’s something I usually can’t get on most roads. Trails provide an undeniable escape from what can be a hectic and stressful day. It's a getaway from the noise and hustle and bustle of the city, playing chicken with cars, and dirty air. It brings in the rustling trees, the singing birds, and there can be a spiritual connection.

Trails come with all types of surfaces, including dirt, sand, wood chips, rocks, etc. Anything not paved is a trail. Being on a trail is an undeniably primitive and cool feeling, but it does, as all sports do come with some risks. Being on an uneven, rocky, root-laden trail is a little more technical than your average sidewalk so it requires more focus and attention so you come out of the woods the same way you went in. Being on those uneven surfaces and the constant shifting body weight, can actually make you stronger by using more of the smaller stabilizer muscles that help with balance. It involves your hips, core, ankles and feet. 

So, ditch the city, find a place where is just you and the trail, and reconnect with Mother Nature. Don’t let it scare or intimidate you. After all, it’s only dirt…

~ Coach Brad Noble

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