There’s nothing quite like going for a trail run in the spring. Blooming flowers, cool breezes and fresh air make for lovely running weather after long cold winters. Whether it’s you and nature or a group of your favorite running buddies there’s something special about getting away from the road. Here are four great reasons to check out your local park this spring.
Scenery – The city and its lights are awesome. They provide the opportunity to run at all hours in relative safety. But even those attributes can’t beat getting lost in the woods. Of course, not actually lost. There’s no better place than a nice long trail run to spend some time with your thoughts while admiring the foliage and animals waking up for summer. The change of view will also do your brain good. Check out this study on just how hitting the trails makes us happier.
Surface – The dirt you’ll face when on a trail run is a welcome break from the hard pavement most of us usually run on. Even treadmill runners can benefit from the soft surface of dirt. The decreased rebound you feel on turf means your race tired knees and hips take a little less pounding every step.
Strength – Running on an uncertain, uneven and sometimes covered surface means your ankles and feet have to work extra hard to keep you upright. Not only do your feet have to quickly react to the challenges of climbing hills, hoping over roots, dodging rocks and splashing through streams, your calves, quads and core are also pushed to respond quickly to the constantly changing path. A little extra work on the trail means better results on the pavement and a stronger, more durable running body.
Accessories – There’s no better time than a nice long trail run to try out new running toys. Check out some new trail shoes (they’re comfy). Want a brighter headlamp? Perfect opportunity. That old CamelBak need replacing? Good timing. You can also stock up on things for the upcoming fall and winter with sales at your favorite running retailer.
**Trails are also dangerous places. Wild animals are exactly that, wild. Remember to play to safe with snakes, bears and even squirrels. Wear some reflective gear, a headlamp if the dark is a risk and bring water. Be sure someone knows where you’re going, what time you should be back and how to handle it if you’re not.**