If you’re getting bored with your normal running route or just want a change of pace and scenery, it might be time to check out some local trails. The alternative terrain has grown in popularity in recent years as more runners ditch the pavement and opt for running in Mother Nature.
In addition to the peace and serenity, trail running can be a good way for road runners to help avoid burnout and injury. The trails are generally easier on your body and can be a source of recovery from pounding the pavement. Hitting the trails just once a week can add variety into your routine. And in the summer, the trails can also help you escape and shield your skin from the hot Mid-south sun.
Keep in mind that trail runs will typically be slower than your road runs as you navigate the terrain around you. Don’t worry about how fast you go, but instead keep an eye on your footing and enjoy the sights around you. Spending more time in the woods provides added stress relief, a taste of clean air, and some time to yourself without any distractions.
Things To Consider
When running on the trails, carrying water and nutrition is a must. There usually aren’t any stops along the route (especially bathrooms), so it’s important to go in fully prepared. You should also let someone know where you’re headed and how long you intend to be gone, in case anything goes awry. Lastly, even if you usually don’t carry a phone on your runs, consider taking one on the trails in case of an emergency.
A shoe with a more aggressive tread does better on the trails. However, since the trails in Memphis aren’t too rugged, a road shoe will typically get the job done. One of the most popular trail shoes around town as well as on the Appalachian Trail is the Brooks Cascadia. Montrail also makes several great models.
Where To Run
Shelby Farms: Wolf River Trails and the Tour de Wolf Shelby Forest
Herb Persons Lake
When To Race
Trail races are held in Memphis throughout all seasons. Fleet Feet sponsors one every fall, Wade’s Big Adventure. Runners can choose the 8- or 18-mile course and it’s a great chance to see what the trail running community is all about. To keep up with the latest race information, visit fleetfeetmemphis.com/wades.
Do you have questions about getting started or finding a plan to work for you? Stop in and talk 12 to anyone on our staff. We’ll be happy to help!