Trail Running

4 Dec

Today I woke up and ran the glorious trails of the Oregon Ridge State Park in Hunt Valley, Maryland with some of the Baltimore Road Runners.  It was so nice to breathe the fresh air, feel the warm sun, enjoy nature, and face the challenge of the unknown.  We had a few stream crossings, but none of us fell in, so it was a goo day!  I love running but some days when your body is tired, repeating the same old road runs can get monotonous.  Trail running can be a blast and I wanted to share some of the basics with you.

The Benefits

Trail running uses more muscles without the repetitive pounding on the pavement, so if you have knee issues, trails may be a good alternative to the road.  Running on uneven terrain will burn more calories, while improving your balance, agility, and coordination.  It is good core training because you are forced to use the core for balance.  The hills build stamina and the difficulty enhances your mental focus.  And trail runners are usually very friendly and will make sure the pack stays together.

What you need?  

The best thing you can invest in is good trail running shoes.  It is important to have a good grip on the soles of your shoes for the downhill.  Runners World tested out trail shoes on 200 runners, and here is a link for their top trail shoes of 2011 with highlights of the benefits of each shoe,,7120,s6-240-400–13856-0,00.html

Wear a light jacket to protect you from the rain or a possible downpour.  If it gets too hot, you can always tie tje jacket around your waist.  Wear a loose fitting shirt, preferably dri-fit so it wicks away the sweat.  Wear comfortable shorts or pants.  Socks should be above the ankle to keep trail debris out.  You can check out different styles at

How to get started.

  1. Look up local running organizations in your area and see if they have any trail runs listed on their website or facebook page.  The Baltimore Road Runners has a regular trail run on Sunday mornings and will send the time and location information of the run in a weekly email.
  2. Pace yourself by starting slow.  Your average mile will be 1-3 minutes more than running on the road.
  3. Know the path you are running.  Most paths are marked by a colored paint symbol on the trees and a lot of trails have maps that you may be able to find online.  Trail link has a pretty cool application that you can download for $9.99 on your garmin, just go to

So go ahead, give it a try, and see why becoming a trail runner can be so much fun!

My song of the day is I like by Keri Hilson, download it for free or search for it in Itunes

In Health and Happiness,


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