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Best Tips for Spring and Summer Trail Running
Wear Trail Running Shoes, Have Fun, and Avoid the Mosquitos and Spider Webs
Considering the summer heat and humidity here in Texas, it makes sense to leave the pavement behind and hit the softer trails. If you are running for a weight loss program, you cant just bail on your workouts but you can make it more comfortable.
During the summer the heat is always a consideration. Sure, you might be running in the shade but in many situations you miss the cooling breezes due to the trees and underbrush. This can lead to a false sense of complacency. Before hitting the trials, inform yourself of the effects of different ranges of heat on your body.
If you can find shade, and stay properly hydrated, youll have a much more satisfying workout. If youre not yet a trail running aficionado, know that there is a slight but interesting learning curve. Heres a few handy trail running tips.
Pay close attention to the trail surface. Things like exposed tree roots, partially-embedded rocks, and pesky gravel on steep declines can sideline you in a flash. Im not saying you have to constantly stare at your flying feet; just pay attention to whats coming up. Then you can make adjustments as you go along. I generally scan about ten feet ahead.
Run Softly and Carry a Big Stick
The running stick is an important tool if your trail is at all wooded, like Houstons Challenger 7 Memorial Park. So whats the purpose? Spider web control. They spin their webs across the trail, presumably because thats where the bugs fly.
Bigger webs means a bigger bug harvest for a hungry spider. I cant think of many things to get less excited about than a mouth full of spider meat or a web nailed to my sweaty body. That stuff just wont let go. Running with a group? Only the lead runner needs a stick. What kind of? I like one with a Y shape on one end, similar to a dowsing rod. Hold it up in front of you keeping the Y at face level. That won help your legs too much, but most of the webs are higher anyway.
Use an Insect Repellant
Keep a small spray bottle of insect repellant in your water belt. Mosquitoes are attracted to trails just like runners are. The incubation period after a recent rain is seven days. Theyre not a big problem while you are in motion, but theyll be on you like white on rice when you pause to climb over a log or take a break.
Wear trail running shoes. Its not a hard and fast rule, but they are designed for the terrain. I wouldnt recommend racing flats or worn out shoes in any situation.
Obviously, have fun! Its no surprise that running trails are dirtier than city streets by nature. Getting dirty is unavoidable if youre doing it right, so just go with the flow. Mud puddles? Enjoy them like a kid.
These are just a few tips to bring trail nubes up to speed. Theres a great selection of trails in Texas, so take advantage of them and catch some shade.
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