Before I get started, just wanted to mention that it's Tuesdays on the Run! The Tuesdays on the Run link up is hosted by My No-Guilt Life, MCM Mama Runs and Run the Great Wide Somewhere. Check them out!
So, why a trail running program? Well...why not? In all seriousness, trail running can be a great compliment to any runner's training. Not all of us get to run on trails very often, so when we do, it's a real treat. Aside from it being pretty awesome to be playing in the dirt, trail running benefits your running in many ways.
One of the best reasons to add some trails to your training is that they are really good for your body. Most runners pound the pavement, asphalt or concrete on every run. These hard surfaces are hard on the body and you can feel in in your knees, your hips, your back and maybe even your neck. The softness of trails provides less impact forces on the body, which can lead to less injuries. Another reason trails are good for your body is that they slow you down. I'm not saying they make you slow, but depending on how technical the trail is, you will most likely run slower than you do when out on the roads, which is less stress on the body. I'm not saying running trails are easy, but from a biomechanical standpoint, they are easier on your body.
Speaking of biomechanics, trails are a great way to work on running form. Due to rocks, roots, hills, and other variations in terrain, you need to adjust your form to keep yourself upright. You'll naturally shorten your stride, take smaller, faster steps and increase your cadence (your foot turnover). Making these changes is actually increasing your efficiency because it requires less energy to run this way as opposed to taking longer strides. Shorter strides make you feel a little more stable on the trail, especially in rocky conditions where sure footing is essential. If your trails have hills, you can work on your hill-running form as well. For example, making sure your feet stay under your body, rather than hitting the ground too far in front of you, will help you on the downhills.
All of the terrain variations of trails have another benefit: making your legs strong. The uneven surfaces will help build strength in the small muscles of the lower leg, which help stabilize the leg as you take a step. This added strength can help improve balance and coordination as well as prevent many running-related injuries. And if your trails have a lot of hills, you'll be building strength in your hips, glutes, quads and hamstrings. Do use caution though: if you have ankle or balance issues you may want to work on your balance and stabilization before you hit the trails.
With stronger legs from trail running, you may notice you're faster on the roads. It's not a guarantee that trail running will make you faster, but it's highly likely, especially on a flat course. Road races that may have seemed difficult pre-trail running may seem like a piece of cake after hitting the dirt for a while.
Have I convinced you enough to join our new trail running programs? Here are the details:
2016 Lake Hodges 15K Trail Running Program
What: 10 Week 15K Trail Running Program
When: August 14 through October 22, 2016
Where: Rancho Bernardo Community Center
Time: Every Sunday at 7:00am (we will not meet Sunday 10/2)
Price: $100 (race registration is not included but we have a code for you!)
Program Logistics: We will meet Sunday mornings at 7:00am at the Rancho Bernardo Community Center and run the trails around Lake Hodges. We have the opportunity to run the race course every week, ensuring your success come race day! We will be training for the Lake Hodges 15K on October 22, 2016. Please note that dates, times and locations are subject to change. Stay tuned for more information!
Registration for all programs will open soon. I hope to see you on the trails!!