“No thanks,” used to be my normal response when asked if I ran trails. I’m a roadie through and through. I was told I would start trail running when people learned we were moving to Salt Lake City, but I didn’t believe them. I’m still focused on learning what fast feels like so the road is where I wanted my training. It still took me several months to try them out, but I’ve incorporated a short, weekly trail run with the track club into my training schedule.
Trail running is a great way to get some hill training in and work on foot and ankle flexibility – even though the injury risks for sprains and bloody knees are high. As long as your cautious and not trying to run a new personal best, I’ve learned that trails in training are pretty beneficial. It’s a refreshing workout with friends.
Racing trails is a whole different story. I’m not quite there. The road marathon is my main gig, and I don’t really care to go farther. I like the competition aspect of racing and when you go that kind of distance on trails and get into ultra running it seems to become pretty lonely. Because I know that I like competing, I WILL want to run faster during a trail race, throwing caution to the wind. And to me, an ankle sprain on a trail race isn’t worth missing my goal road marathon for the year.
I’m not saying I’m never going to race trails. I already have some ideas for next season. But I don’t think I will make the switch like some people thought I would. I love the road too much. Trail racing will be just another training tool, once I trust myself not to go all out against the competition.