So you want to go on an adventure, but you don’t know where to start. Try trail running. Why? Trail running is a gateway to adventures. Trail running will open up opportunities for adventures while easing you into the outdoors. It is a great way to get outside, it is easy to fit into your lifestyle, and it can turn into bigger adventures down the road. Still not convinced? I am here to help you get started in the adventure called trail running. Soon, you will be heading out on your own trail running adventures!
One of the first steps to going trail running is to, well, find a trail. You may think you have no trails near where you live. Trails can be sneaky, though, and with a little research you may find a perfect trail tucked into your urban neighborhood. Often, nearby parks have an off road nature trail of some sort that you can add into a running routine. Being outside on a trail is an invigorating experience and a nice switch from your daily grind. It’s these little micro-adventures that add up and enrich your life. I’m lucky enough to have some great trails only 5 miles from my house. These are the trails that I visit a few times a week.
Once you have found a few trails close to home, look a little further and see if you can find longer trails within an hour of your home. These trails are usually in County Parks, State Parks, and Nature Preserves. Pick a weekend morning, and make a field trip out of your trail run. What a great experience it is to explore a new trail for a few hours! Usually these parks boast a network of trails, so you can plan several different trips to try out all of them. I love to head out onto a trail on a Saturday morning and spending a few hours on the trail. It’s also nice to reward yourself with a picnic breakfast and coffee after.
Part of the Routine
One of the best things about trail running, is that it is easy to fit into your lifestyle. Once you have found a few trails to run, you don’t need much more than that. There is no need to pack a lot of cumbersome equipment, and you will only be gone a short while so it will fit into a busy life. I do recommend some basic running gear to make you comfortable, and a trail running shoe may be necessary if the trails you will be on are technical (rough, rocky, or tough to navigate). Bring along some hydration ( I prefer a CamelBak hydration pack), running gels, and a map of the trail. I also stash a basic first aid kit in my car in case of a minor cut, scrape, or bug bite. It’s as simple as it can get! An hour on the trails, you will get some great exercise, gorgeous views, and back in time for the rest of your day.
Trail Running Adventures
Here’s where your trail runs can get really fun by turning them into trail running adventures! Expand your horizons and turn a trail run into a bigger adventure. Sign up for a trail race in a new area to challenge yourself and meet some new people. Plan a running camping trip in a state park, and camp out between running on the trails. Or, look further than your backyard and plan a destination trail race. Find a trail race in a different city and plan a vacation around it. This is one of my favorite ways to adventure. Not only am I traveling to a new city, I get to check out the local trails and challenge myself on a trail race!
Where Will You Go Next?
Once you’ve dipped your toe into trail running, the sky is the limit on your adventures. You may find a passion for state parks, and set out to check out the ones near you. You may want to start exploring National Parks, and everything that they have to offer. Or may you love the thrill of a challenging trail race. Your path may lead you to some bigger and better trail races, and the love of the trail racing community. Or maybe you’ve found you love the slower pace of just being outside in nature. This love of nature might have you setting up campsites more often. Wherever trail running takes you, just make sure you wander down some new and interesting paths. And hopefully most of them are dirt.