2020 is almost gone… Thank Goodness. Now you can look forward to new and exciting things in 2021! It may be time to get dirty and back to nature!
It has been almost impossible to find challenging and motivating races this year. Most events were canceled or moved to a virtual format, or DIY situations. Think outside the box and get out of the concrete jungle.
Unlike events in highly populated areas, trail running events have actually happened in 2020! There's a misconception that trail runs are all ultra distance, but this just isn't the case. Trail races offer distance options anywhere from 5 miles to over 100 miles. So there really is an option for everyone!
Have you ever tried a trail run? Now may be the time! To familiarize yourself with trail running, here are some pointers:
Find a relatively flat trail close to home and try it one weekend. Doing even one trail run a week, can be beneficial for your overall training.
Concentrate on the task at hand--running. Stay focused because trail running requires good foot placement. If you let your concentration lapse, you may find yourself on the ground.
Start off slow. Accept that your paces on the trail will be slower than your average road running pace.
Keep in mind that since all trails are different, trail running is not about how fast you complete a distance. It's about challenging yourself and conquering the course.
Do hill repeat training. Many trail races have significant and steep hills.
Find a trail running group and get dirty with new running friends. In our area we have DDR (Dallas Dirt Runners).
Carry plenty of nutrition and water. In a trail race, aid stations can be spaced far apart.
For safety, it is best to run with a partner. If that is not possible, make sure you let someone know where you go and what time you anticipate finishing.
Get a headlamp in case you get out too far and the sun goes down.
Some trails have gravel that gets in your shoes. To prevent this annoyance you can wear a shoe cover called gators to keep the rocks out.
Your normal road shoes may work on the trail depending on the type of shoe and the type of trail. With some shoes you can feel all of the rocks under your feet.
The most important thing is to enjoy yourself. Trail runners are some of the nicest and most supportive people you will meet.
Get dirty! Find that trailhead and hit the dusty trail! You may find that you love trail running more than running on the road.
Coach David Bauerle is a Dallas Texas area based Coach with USA Triathlon Level 1 Endurance, IRONMAN U, and USA Cycling Level 3 Coaching Certifications. Coach David enjoys working with Endurance Athletes of all levels to help them reach their goals.
Coach David can be reached at email@example.com.