Today's long run was all off-road for 7.4 miles at a 12:15 minute mile pace. It took me 1:30:45 with an average HR of 152. I'm not sure of the elevation gain, but know I had to walk a little as the mountain climb got looonnnggg toward the end. The whole time I was running, I was thinking how running trail is similar to mountain biking and you better stay focused and watch every move. Thus, a couple tips on off road running.
Watch your step - literally. Keep your eyes on the trail at all times and look where you want to plant your foot. This is serious business. There are rocks, roots, divots, and leaf-covered holes that you could end up turning an ankle on. The key is to look directly where you want to put your foot and your foot will land there. Use the rocks when you hit a rock garden -- they are easier to maneuver through than attempting to plant your foot in between the rocks and risk a turned ankle. Go over the roots because they could be slippery. And beware of leaves -- they could be camouflaging a hole. Always, always keep your eyes on the trail. Use a nice big fat log as a step rather than stepping over it - your foot could get caught as you go over and down you go. I must say, after reading Born to Run and spending a little more time in the woods trail running these past few weeks, I've acquired a new respect for running and am enjoying the change. Trail running is SO relaxing and quiet - not to mention the soft trail being kind to your body. 7.4 miles was probably the furthest I've been in at least 5 years. I recall hitting the 1/2 marathon length several years ago, and thinking that's about as far as I wanna go. While Born to run is all about ultra-endurance and those folks think a marathon is too short, I'm not sure yet if I want to go for 13 miles as I do my 10% increase each week. I'll wait and see how I feel after the Tough Mudder. No mountain bike rides today -- the skies were threatening and I opted to head home after run. So it was a low-key day (if you can call a 1.5 hr trail run low-key!). The Rattling Creek trails had about a dozen riders on them today even with temps in the 30's. The season is here and they gotta get riding to be ready to race. I'll stick to running for now.