The Benefits of Kayaking and Cross-Training, Part II

Today’s Workout: Rest day

I wish I could say that today’s (Monday’s) rest day was hard to take off, but it wasn’t. I was pretty freaking tired after Sunday’s run! If you haven’t checked out my post from Sunday, be sure to read it, as I’ll be referring to a couple things mentioned in it.My last post was on the benefits of kayaking as a form of cross-training. Today, I’ll be discussing the benefits of trail running as a form of cross-training.

First off, my time on Sunday was slooooow, but that didn’t bother me at all. The point of my run was to complete a long, slow run, which is what I did. And because I have been having some major issues with pacing myself, I decided to take it to the trails. I felt like it was the best decision I made in my life! I barely looked at my GPS watch the entire time I was running! I just enjoyed myself, stopped and took some photos for the blog a couple of times, and concentrated on not falling.

There are a couple bridges in the trail system behind my house; this is the first of the two. I actually took this shot during my early morning run last Friday.

The trails behind my house actually meet up with the lake where JP and I go kayaking.

How could I not enjoy my run when I’m able to enjoy this beautiful scenery? For me, I feel at home when I’m running in the woods. I ran high school cross-country while attending a private school in the city, practicing on the road all the time, so I was always ecstatic when we had cross-country meets at another school where you actually ran in the woods. To me, that’s what cross-country running embodies.

I could go on and on about what I love about trail running, but for time’s sake, I’m breaking the benefits and withdrawals into a list of pros and cons:

• It will force you to slow down and pace yourself
• It will prevent you from shuffling – you HAVE to pick your feet up to avoid tripping over a branch or rock!
• You are less susceptible to knee injury, as the trails are more forgiving on your legs than pavement
• Your chances of getting hit by a car are zero to none (unless your trail meets up with a road that you have to cross somewhere along the line)
• You’re less likely to get bored, as it’s a nice change of scenery
• You could possibly spot some cool wildlife, like a deer or a moose
• You’re less likely to check your GPS every two seconds, because you’re not only enjoying the scenery, but pushing yourself as well, and are too busy making sure you don’t trip and fall to look at it 🙂
• You WILL get a workout, and although it doesn’t seem like it, the trails will help you improve your time

The second bridge I encountered on my run.

A scenic view of the lake after crossing the bridge.

Those photos are all to remind you of the beautiful scenery you can find on trail runs before I dive into the drawbacks of them.

• You’ll be moving at a slower pace.
• If you run on the trails enough, you’re likely to trip and fall. In fact, you may just hurt yourself if you trip and fall, so pick those feet up!
• My friend Meg’s biggest fear – you may encounter a snake…or even worse, some other sort of wildlife that could hurt you.
• It’s usually a lot more secluded on the trails, so if you get injured, it could be hours, even days, before someone finds you (I always bring my cell phone)
• You could possibly get poison ivy or poison oak if running somewhere with tall grass (luckily I am resilient to both)
• It’s a major workout compared to road running (this could be a pro or a on, depending on who you’re talking to)

There’s a beach across the lake from where I run, so I suppose if I ever got injured, I could always yell out to the people there!

When on the trails, the end of my run usually consists of going up this huge, mountain-like hill. This photo doesn’t do it justice. My short-term goal is to be able to run this entire hill by the end of the month!

So, what do you think…are you ready to give trail running a try?

If you’re already a trail runner, where’s your favorite spot or what’s your favorite race to go trail running?

Next up this week: Wicked Random Wednesday makes a comeback and Short-Term Goals vs Long-Term Goals to keep you motivated.


7 thoughts on “The Benefits of Kayaking and Cross-Training, Part II

  1. irishrunnerchick

    Amen! Trail running is so much fun. I’ve been doing a lot more lately and it’s a great way to just get out in nature and forget about pace. Just wish that there were no snakes out there.

  2. emmelineruns

    I pretty much never run on roads, either packed dirt trails or actual trails for me 🙂 I have 3 regional parks and a county park all within 5 minutes of my house with miles of trail systems so I’m pretty spoiled for choice. It’ll be a rude awakening when we move again and I don’t have such awesome running so close!

  3. jvkom

    Trail running is my favorite. And since I’ve discovered it, toad running is boring for me. We have 13 miles of trails in our neighborhood. I love it!

  4. mstepler

    That lake looks beautiful! I have never been trail running (stupid ankle) but trying it is one of my goals for the next few years. Plus I’m hoping it will help to keep my ankle strong and prevent re-injury!


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