Having been a road runner for a number of years, I decided this summer to branch out to trail running. Seeing that I could run well on the road, I figured, heck, it can’t be that hard. Just watch your step and go full out. Never look back and you are good to go.
Wow, was I ever wrong. I made so many mistakes along the short way to realize that one has to respect trail running in order to maximize the experience and enjoyment of this sport. I wanted to share with you a few of my unfortunate learnings.
1. Wear the right shoes. I started out with regular road shoes, which weren’t really that bad but once you add some wet conditions along with rugged trails, you will quickly find yourself on your butt or worst, find yourself whispering sweet nothings to the tree that you smashed into.
2. Trail shoes is technical running not speed running. Going full out does not mean that you will win. You have to run smart versus run fast. The speed will come over time but you have to slow down at the beginning and learn how to run on the trails.
3. Pick an easy first trail race. I decided to do the 5 Peaks Rattlesnake race. Clearly not the easy choice as I fell more times than I care to admit to. A young 13 year old passed me along the way and asked if I was okay as I picked myself up for the upteenth time. I came out of the trails with red socks, when I left with white socks. I was battered and bruised in so many areas.
4. This is the most important thing that I learned this sumer. Have Fun! Yes, simple to say not simple to do. Forget the watches, the GPS, and the pace. Go out and enjoy the trails. It is incredible to see the nature around you.
Go out and hit the trails. It will prove to be an experience like no other.