If this is your first visit to Mindful Trailrunner, I would like to extend gratitude for wanting to see and hear what I have to say. I get it, you might be thinking, “what the heck is trail running?” and at first, I said the same exact thing!
Trail Running has one major difference compared to regular running; you go off road. And no, not that strip of gravel and dirt right next to the pavement, I’m talking about the wilderness. It is a sport where you run through trails, navigating a route amongst fallen trees, roots, rocks, and unpredictable terrain. Then, if you’re lucky enough to have them near you, you might find yourself ascend and descend mountains, sometimes even a thousand feet upwards every few miles a few miles. So basically…
It’s like speed hiking, but with a twist
I spent high school just pounding the pavement between baseball practices, so running wasn’t something new to me. Since I considered myself to be a pretty decent runner, I figured trail running wouldn’t be too different (mistake #1). My first trail run was in the Fall of 2014 when one of my good friends, Brian, was headed out to Lime Hollow Nature Center in Cortland, NY for his usual weekly travel. So I laced up my normal sneakers (mistake #2), make sure I dressed warm (mistake #3), and grabbed a water bottle before headed out the door. Within the first 3 miles, we climbed a total of just under 1,000feet of elevation. And as I thought my lungs were going to explode, I just so happened to run out of water (mistake #4) and forgot my inhaler (mistake #5). But unlike being in your housing development, or at a school track, or even on the treadmill, there was no S.O.S. to snag some water; we were in the middle of the goddamn woods, without any phone, emergency water station, or the ability to say “okay, that was enough running for today, let’s go home”. We had to get our ass back to the trailhead and into our car before it got dark, so it was time to get moving (we didn’t have a headlamp or flashlight, mistake #6). So with a burning chest, we began our trek back to the car, with my perception of running now being flipped on its head.
Well, as you can guess we made it out alive, and although I left out some of the details, there was a reoccurring theme of “this is not like running at all, this is in a league of its own.” It isn’t as mindless as lacing up a pair of sneakers and just going for a casual morning jog down the road. The varying terrain and elevation changes bring a different approach to running.
So Why Trail Tip Thursday?
In the past 2 years, I have tried a bunch of different training modalities, shoes, apparel, supplements, recovery techniques, and other fringe tactics in an attempt to improve performance and enjoyment of the sport. In the sun, rain, snow, and darkness, various counties and states, the trails always have new surprises and challenges waiting. plus, by making a much of mistakes, it was in through those continuous mistakes that I tried not to replicate the same one twice…emphasis on the try. But by learning from those much more experienced and exploring our nearly unlimited access to information, finding a main database for those sorts of questions I had was quite hard. Athlete Instagram pages, FaceBook Groups, Trail Runner Magazine, and the Exploration/Outdoor company websites were (and still are) my saving grace to keep learning about how to enjoy and enhance trail running performance. Thus, Mindful Trailrunner: Trail Tip Thursday’s were born!
You don’t need to become a die hard trail runner to use these tips. Heck, you don’t need to be trail runner at all! My intention is to provide the mud runner, obstacle racer, weekend explorer, casual hiker, experienced outdoorsman, or ultra-marathoner tips and tactics to improve their performance, but most of all, hopefully, enhance the enjoyment of the time you spend outdoors. Heck, even someone who is looking for a new way to enjoy life and move their body may use this as a platform to evolve!
Whether you are headed out for an easy hike or about to run 50 miles, I would love T³ to be a part of your go-to resources for learning. If you’ve made it to this point, congratulations and thank you. Thank you for your support to get T³ and Mindful Trailrunner up and running (ha, see what I did there?) as a brand. And congratulations for feeding into your adventurous side. By making it this far, you hold the ambition to explore, to learn, and to grow. Whether you are aware of it yet is the question, but the internal desire you possess to keep exploring brings me joy, and should for you as well! I cannot wait to share my experiences, research and coaching prowess with you to consistently encourage enjoyable, adventurous & fulfilling moments on the trails!