Monday, May 31, 2010

Making the Switch to Trails

In the summer because the schedule is a bit more relaxed and I don’t have to be out the door at 6:45, I get to run with a group early in the morning. For me running with a group is a nice change of pace and gives me an added motivation, knowing that someone is waiting for me to run. This makes it much harder to decide not to run or not run as long or hard because no one is watching, as is the case when I run by myself. Although the group is made up of runners of all ages and running abilities, we all agree on the course that we will run. Normally, I like to run on the road, but the group will sometimes “agree” to run trails in a local park. Even though I am not normally a trail runner, I go along and hope to make it through the run without turning an ankle or falling.

So, in anticipation of having to run on trails again through the summer, I recently ran in Big Creek Park to get used to running trails again. As I ran the shady trails through the park, I began to think of many friends who prefer running trails to the road and wondered if I could ever get to that point. I do love the cooler temperature under the trees on the trails and the occasional deer that I may see in the park. But the roots and rocks always give me trouble, probably because I tend to be clumsy, even on flat pavement, let alone rugged trail.

But there are so many great parks in the Atlanta area that offer some great gravel, or even paved trails, that to me offer the best of both worlds. Oh, I know the true trail runners think this is not ‘real’ trail running, but for me, it is a great alternative.

If you are looking for a great change of pace to your normal road running routine, check out some of the great parks that we have in Atlanta. I found a great site that lists many of the great trail running locations around our city with great descriptions of each. Go to to find a new trail that may help you get into trail running or just offer an alternative to pavement from time to time. Whether you do it for a nice change or get hooked on trails, it is a great way to explore more of the great running venues we have in Atlanta and change up your running routine.