With summer in full swing, its getting more difficult for me to exercise at the soccer park or fields without getting sun burned. This is because I'm not a morning person. Therefor the idea of getting up "earlier" aka 7am to exercise before the sun comes out = Mission Impossible. I ❤ SLEEP.
My solution for running when the sun is out in full glory? and you're not trying to get a tan? Go to woody
trails and parks. There are many benefits to running in trails
Unless you are running in the desert or an open landscape, most trails have TREES which provide shade against the sun
Performance: Not only do you get to cool off on a hot day but trails are also a better running terrain than a flat surphace. The unevenness of the path, the random hills & etc you sometimes encounter makes for a stronger leg workout. The softness of the grass/ground versus hard cement/pavement (sidewalk, road running) acts as a better shock absorber. Your joints, ankles and knees will thank you endlessly for switching terrains. Lastly, by tackling rocks, hills, pot holes, tree roots and etc, you greatly improves your balance, agility and coordination
Privacy: sometimes I hate running in public because I am very conscious of the way my body moves... specifically my butt. Yes, I have been blessed abundantly and no matter what workout I do, those gluteus maximus are here to stay. With trail running, you don't have to worry about that or watching out for cars who want to run you over.
Scenery: Nature is very beautiful. We live in such a fast paced world its refreshing and therapeutic to once in a while step away and enjoy it. The air quality in the woods is better than running in the down town area of a major city. The trees, animals, birds and insects that come alive in your wake makes it more interesting than doing 15 laps on a track field. I have noticed that I seem to run faster per mile on a trail than around a soccer field which can easily become boring + monotonous. Currently I have two consistent acquaintances I run into every time am on the trails, a very cute rabbit and a seemingly obese frog who am very sure I am his morning wake up call
Injury: Trail running decreases the likely hood of over use injury because the uneven surphaces cause you to have different steps and movements patterns. Whereas in road running, your running movement are always similar because the surphace is flat. Therefor you run the risk of having the same injuries..pulling/stressing the same muscles over and over again = over-use injury
Now that you know the benefits of hitting trails, Let's address my top 3 safety rules and precautions
1. Yes, You want to be "in the zone" and enjoy your run but BE ALERT. Especially if you are running solo + a female. Research the trail to make sure it is not a hot spot for "incidents" or "crimes" especially against female runners
2. Wear appropriate clothing. I always wear leggings and long sleeves or a windbreaker in trails because I hate leaves, branches, insects, foreign liquid i dont know...tree sap..etc...you get the picture...touching me...Yes, I'm jumpy like that....And I feel that if something is going to bite me, at least they have to go through a layer of clothing to do so.
If you do decide to wear shorts, use a bug spray or insect repellent. Research or become familiar on recognizing plants that are likely to give you a rash like the Poison Ivy. The trails I run in are so cool, I can get away with wearing long sleeves without getting too hot
3. If you're cell phone has no reception in the area, carry pepper spray, a taser or anything that is light but you feel comfortable using for protection. I always say hello and acknowledge the park facility workers so they can "recognize" and "know" who I am in case of an emergency. So far out of all the regular runners, hikers and cute young mothers totting toddlers i see at the park, i seem to be the only black girl around...lol...Black people and forests are like water and oil...they don't mix...except for the 1% like me ^_^
My Favourite Trail Running Gears
Pants with Secret Zipper big enough for An ID and 1 key
I hate running with a lot of junk in my pockets such as a huge bundle of keys .....which I would advise against. Just today I lost my key on the trails and it took me an hr to find it. I was lucky. Many pple never find their keys.
From my experience..it is better to leave all your keys at home or in the car except for the 1 key you need...whether its the car key or house key.
Hydrating Belt for water or electrolytes
Female Running Pack if its going to be a LONG run