“Trails are my treadmill” …that is what I found engraved on the RoadID that my Dad gave me for my birthday last year. It was the perfect gift – not only was it a way for me to feel safe when I’m out running alone, but I have the constant reminder on my wrist of how awesome the trails are! My dad has always been a huge influence on me. He started running when I was young, and I grew up watching him push all 3 of my younger siblings in the running jogger at some point in their lives. He runs marathons, he rides bikes, he even rides a unicycle! But the thing he shares the most passion about with me is trail running. He is my frequent reminder (and now my RoadID is too!) to not forget about the beautiful trails we have just a few miles west of us. I am so blessed to have grown up and still live in a place with such easy access to trails, and yet it is so easy to take them for granted and forget about them! I often find myself caught up in the specificity of training: the mileage, the times, my schedule; that I end up going months on end pounding the pavement, while the beautiful foothills are just outside my door!
When I get the urge to hit the trails, I never regret it. The variety of trails, challenge of climbing, and friendliness of my fellow trail runners always leaves me happier than when I started. There is something about being out in nature, listening to crickets instead of an ipod, that brings a sense of peace and order to my life. Each time I complete a trail run, I wonder why I don’t do this more often. My goal for the rest of the year is to get out on the trails way more often and “get lost and get right with my soul” while getting an awesome workout.
A recent issue of Runner’s World focused on trail running and how effective it can be for training. The key is to plan your workouts based on time rather than mileage. Running 5 miles on the trails is going to take longer than it will on the streets – so consider how long it would take to run those 5 miles, and run that long on the hills. Trails are also a great place to get a good hill workout in, or just build strength in your glutes and hamstrings. My family and I went for a great hike up near Rocky Mountain National Park on the 4th of July, and encountered some pretty steep climbs. Though we weren’t running, all I could think of is “who needs a gym?” These hills are nature’s stairclimber! There are so many opportunities to get a total body workout while being out on the trails. Whether it is climbing or doing hill repeats, or finding a rock to do some tricep dips on, or doing yoga at the top of a beautiful hill. Every workout is rewarding when it is done in nature. And THAT, my friends, is why “trails are MY treadmill”.