Let’s face it. Road running, even in a city as beautiful as Vancouver with numerous uninterrupted routes along the many seawalls, can get monotonous; especially when you get up to the longer distances.
Training for my fourth full marathon I’ve tried diligently to plan new and varied running routes. In the past couple of weeks I’ve added some sections of trail runs or complete trail runs.
This has completely reinvigorated me, raised my energy levels during my runs and rekindled my passion for running.
Each turn and every step offers a new challenge. The varied terrain: dry or wet trail, tree roots, large and small rocks, fallen trees, wooden bridges, stairs, you name it! I am amazed at the agility of almost every trail runner I encounter along these route. There are hill climbs that will slow you to a walk but the promise of a downhill on the other side is really just the trail coaxing and calling you to push yourself a little bit harder, a litttle bit further. In a short time I’ve found trail running to be a welcome catharsis.
The past couple of weeks I’ve run sections of the Baden Powell trail and I find the Vancouver Trails website incredibly useful for finding other routes that would be good for trail running. What I really like about the Baden Powell is how well it is marked and maintained.
If you’re looking for a good intro I’d suggest Quarry Rock in Deep Cove. It’s got some challenging sections but is a shorter route with a great view out Deep Cove. Not to mention you can swing by Honey’s afterwards for the best doughnuts of all time (we all need a nice post work out snack!)
So yes, I realise that a couple weeks of trail running doesn’t make me fit to tackle the Knee Knacker; a 49km trail race from Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove, but once I’ve completed the Big Five Marathon in a couple of weeks I’ll looking at other trail races; the Five Peaks series comes to mind.
If you’re looking to change up your regular running routine I strongly suggest grabbing a friend or two, plenty of water, a cell phone just in case and taking the time to find a trail that would interest you.