Tag Archives: trails

Trail Running for Amateurs! 3 Rebuttals for the most common excuses.

Winter
Winter

Running indoors has its benefits, it gets you moving, especially in the wintertime. No need to embrace the harsh elements of the outdoors when you’ve got a treadmill or indoor track right? Wrong!  Limiting yourself to the indoors for training, or even to suburbanized sidewalk running is dooming yourself for a short lived running life.

You need to see and feel the inspiration nature can give you if you just take the time to step out into the wilderness.

Here are some remedies to a few possible hindrances keeping you from the trails.

Spring
Spring

“bad ankles”: I have them, so I get it. Running on the trails is a higher chance of rolled ankles with rocks and roots, but it happens a lot less often than you might think. Your ankles do get stronger the more you go on trails, therefore leading to less rolled ankles.

Start on a mild trail, and if your ankles are sore, then that’s good!

It means that your stabilizing muscles and tendons were working hard and will be even more ready for next time.   If you have serious ankle issues, tape your ankles by watching YouTube videos, or get a brace from a local drug store.

Summer
Summer

“I’m going to get lost”: unless you are in the real deal wilderness of Canada or something of the sorts, the chances of you getting lost and actually being in real danger is slim to none. But to ease your fears, there are a few things you can do. The more prepared the better if you are one who is paranoid. Stop by the park office for paper maps, turn on a gps trail map app, go on the parks website beforehand and get a feel for the trail. The information is out there, but you can always take my suggestion and just GO.  Getting temporarily lost can feel exhilarating and adventurous, let alone distract you from the fact that you’re getting a ton of exercise!

Fall
Fall

“It’s just not convenient”: It most definitely takes time and effort to get out on the trail, and I understand your thinking if you get home from work and only have a little time before the sun goes down to get an outdoor workout in. To work it into your schedule, make it a weekend event that you can look forward to.  Planning ahead makes it more likely to happen, and with the hilly terrain and new scenery, you’d be getting twice or three times the workout in the same time period than if you were to be jogging around your subdivision.  Think about those kind of outcomes and you could instantly justify the extra travel time and efforts to get to new places.  Oh, and don’t forget to soak it in! I have a blast taking pictures while on the trail,

I worry less about my time and pace since the terrain is so different, and it is a great opportunity to see wildlife, stunning plant life, and more.

If I missed a key reason that is keeping you from the trail, please comment on this post and I’d be happy to throw some possible solutions your way!

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NO SUCH THING AS BAD WEATHER… JUST BAD CHOICE OF CLOTHING.

Quotes addressing this idea have been sourced back to 1912, and it holds true to this day! As we are reaching record lows across the country for this time of year, I figured it would be appropriate to create a post that addresses the best clothing that gets your mind off the chill factor.

As one who doesn’t let the cold hinder activity, I wanted to share what I’ve learned about how to dress in winter.  It took much trial and error through a large span of climate settings, but what is posted is the best of the best of my experiences. The following advice goes from head to toe to help you be prepared for the winter chill.

NOTE: this is somewhat bias towards women… since I am not a man and don’t know what is, or is not, comfortable. If you are a male reading this and have some good recommendations, PLEASE comment below and share the knowledge!

“You know it’s all about the base…”

The most difficult thing to anticipate in the winter is whether you will be too hot or too cold during your adventures outside…either one could be very uncomfortable and affect your experience.  I’ve had the best result with the following…

Detroit Turkey Trot 2013
Detroit Turkey Trot 2013

Head: fleece headband and men and woman can wear the behind the head earmuffs. Both of these are nice because it allows heat escape, avoiding the sweating and overheating factor.

Neck: I used to wear a variety of scarves with different densities, but I’ve moved on from those and onto Buff neck-wear.  I absolutely love the lightest density

Buff Neckwear
Buff Neck-wear

shown in this image. I’ve used it in multiple races and it helps to cover my face and allowing me to breathe, and doesn’t get too hot if the weather warms up on the adventure. I also have a more dense version of the Buff which I use for less exerting activity or more severe weather.

Upper body: when the weather is under 40 degrees, I resort to tight, form fitting Under Armour long sleeve base layer tops.   Men Click Here.

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Over the base top, I wear a light jacket if I’m running or doing similar exercises in degrees colder than 35 degrees.  If I am doing activities such as downhill skiing, cross country skiing, or hiking, I’ll wear a sweatshirt over the base, then a coat over the sweatshirt (depending on how cold it is and the intensity of the activity).

The main point is dress in layers!

If you’re exerting a lot of energy, start off feeling cold because if you start your exercise feeling comfortable, you will be too hot in a matter of minutes.

I once ran a 5K in 7 degrees and was grateful for my light choice of clothing as I found myself throwing off my gloves in the middle of the race.

Legs: I have been lucky to have relatives who know me and my hobbies during the holiday season, so I have no lack of athletic winter tights to fill my dresser drawers.  Athletic tights such as these truly help block the chill, while allowing mobility to the max.  I also use these as a base to all moderate activity, wearing them under jeans and snow pants when the temperature really drops.

Toes:  Cotton is not your friend, especially in the winter. I’ve read about the negative effects of cotton through various magazine articles and my experiences agree, cotton is terrible for athletic people.  The best solution, especially when the weather is below freezing, is wool. REI and Smartwool are my top two brands, as they have different densities for all kinds of activities.  From light running socks to extremely thick winter socks, these brands have a sock for any occasion. But with IMG_0593warmth and moisture wicking technology comes the hindrance of cost.  These socks are VERY pricy, my advice? If you have small feet, buy the children socks. They are just as good quality for a fraction of the cost.  Have normal size feet? The REI brand and other off-brands are usually cheaper than the most popular Smartwool.  You can go a step further and just wait for holiday sales to occur, socks are almost always on the discount list during the holidays.

For discounted gear, check websites for their outlets. Here are a few good ones!  Nike  REI   Dicks Sporting Goods  Under Armour

There you have it, head to toe recommendations from yours truly, based on over ten years of experience in running, skiing, snowboarding, and hiking through the winter months!

Stay Dry and Warm or Get Wet and Muddy??

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There were so many signs telling me not go to out running today. There was this mix of sleet/snow/rain, no sun, cold, I just ate so I’d probably cramp up… It would be so easy to get in my warm car with heated seat and just cruise on home where more warmth and comfort awaits me….but luckily… I didn’t.

 

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Some background knowledge…. There was an opportunity to take advantage of an awesome free resource; an environmental science seminar at a local nature center. Yes, it was 4 hours of my Saturday, but taking advantage of these opportunities provides me with awesome resources to use in the classroom, plus, the setting is usually someplace new to explore.

 

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When looking up this place called Seven Ponds Nature Center, I noticed they had multiple miles of trails. I figured, if I were to drive out there anyway, why not go for a run after the seminar? (Planning things like this in advance really helps you gain new, fun experiences, fyi ;). BUT…the weather sucked, it was gloomy and cold, and they served us lunch at the very end of the seminar, meaning I would probably cramp up at any attempt to run.IMG_0522.JPG

IMG_0513Sometimes you just have to go against your will to be comfortable and embrace the cold, wet, mucky world of the outdoors. The adventure will ALWAYS trump the experience you would have had otherwise!

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All the pictures you see here were a result of my mini adventure trail run/hike through the unknown woods of Dryden, MI. In fact, every single picture on this blog was taken by me, proving that these places are real and are accessible to the average joe ;).

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I anticipated the discomfort of trying to run after eating, so this was a relaxing jog throughout the woods, I had a trail map, but I don’t like to use them.

I find that there is an extra sense of adventure if you don’t care where you’re going and you just GO.

Whenever I started to cramp up, I’d start walking, or stop to take a few pictures. There was so much wildlife to enjoy as well; I saw a beaver and a total of 8 deer. I even got up close to a startled six point buck that was taking a nap next to the elevated board walk. It was awesome.

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Despite all signs and temptations to stay inside and relax, it was such a rewarding experience to…

Embrace the elements, get outside, and explore!

BROKE? 10 THINGS TO DO UNDER $10 (Get out of the house! ;)

It is extremely easy to get stuck in the cycle of coming home from work and just relaxing inside.  It’s nice to do that once in a while, but having it become a regular thing could lead to a lot of negative affects. Weight gain, depression, poor eating habits, and increased feeling of laziness are all things that could come from staying at home too much. Here is some motivation that won’t break the bank!

$5-$7 State parks and County parks: there are amazing trails to hike in, walk your dog, go on a date. I will dedicate a post sometime solely to parks, but for now I’ll be brief.  You can go fishing, have a picnic, read a book, etc.!

$5-$10 (for used disks, free if you have disks) Frisbee golf is cheap and fun, I’ve learned that soccer golf is a thing as well ($5).

$7-$10 Rent Equipment: try something totally new, or get out and do something you’ve enjoyed by renting equipment. Many parks have rentals for cheap. Take a car that already has a park pass and you’ll just have to worry about rental fees, it’s about $10 or less an hour to rent a boat or kayak.

$5 (free with park pass) Dog Park: wear your dog out and make his/her day. Seeing them happy instantly pleases you! If you’re social enough, you could meet some new people in the process 🙂

$8: It’s that time of year, visit a cider mill! Not the store kind, but where there are hay rides for $1, pick your own apples for $4, and get a couple donuts and some cider for $3. This could be a great day date with a significant other, friends, or kids.

$10 in speaking of kids… if you babysit or have your own, check out favorite attractions as they could have special deals at certain times. Airtime apparently has admission for $10 and course, most playgrounds are free.

$5-$10 There are so many places to bike to. South-east Michigan has many “bike-able” cities, and those in northern Oakland county can bike from city to city using the Polly-Ann trail, Paint-Creek trail, and the Macomb Orchard trail.  Make a pub crawl out of it to attract friends and make destinations interesting! (note: please comment on this post if you don’t live in this southeast Michigan, and I’ll help you find some places near you!)

Rainy day?

$5 Matinee Movie:  Yes, Netflix is cheap and convenient, BUT it is better for your body and mind to get out and actually have a great movie watching experience.  Go out with some friends, take your kid, or a go day date to a matinee movie, only $5 before 5pm!

Get out for a drink and food while catching up with friends. You’d be surprised at how good weekly deals can be at your favorite places. Bar Louie has $1 burger days with $2 beer specials, you could easily work with those prices with tip for under $10 bucks! Even the small town I live in has great specials if you put a little effort into looking them up.

$10 Wednesday Crank Night at Planet Rock:  climbing can be expensive if you’re just starting out, rental equipment and such. There are ways to get around that if you’re just starting out, but the little extra spending is worth it for the future experiences!  Those who are a bit more experienced and have their own equipment (or a friend who has equipment you can borrow), can go to Planet Rock on Wednesday evenings for just $10 (6 dollar discount from regular admission!)