courtesy of DAVE NARONA
There is nothing more enjoyable than leaving the paved road behind as you venture deep into the serenity of the forest.
The Lower Mainland is littered with thousands of easy and challenging trails to tackle. Whether you are new to trail running or have already ventured off-piste, here is what you'll need, how to make the most of your workout and where to go.
Trail running requires and helps build stronger muscles throughout your entire body. Instead of striking the ground the same each time like on the road, the undulating, rooty, wet trails require constant changes in body positioning, speed and body balance. All this makes trail running a little more physical than its road-running counterpart.
Start with a good pair of low-profile shoes. The soft forest floor provides extra cushioning and you will be better balanced and less likely to roll an ankle if you're lower to the ground. Choose a shoe with a tread pattern that matches your trail. If it is a gravel track, then a typical road running shoe will suffice, however, if you get into rocky, rooty terrain find an aggressive trail runner that will provide you with the grip you need and that extra bit of support.
You may be quick on the road but if this is your first venture into the trails then take it easy. Trails are littered with rocks, roots and mud bogs that can throw off your balance and cause you to turn an ankle fast. Cutting your speed in half will allow your mind and body to adjust to this uneven terrain and build the small muscles required to keep you on your feet. Each time out you will be a little stronger and be able to handle more.
Focus on looking ahead instead of at your feet and keep your arms and hands relaxed. Having a little more knee bend also helps with your balance, especially when descending.
The Stanley Park trail system is a perfect area to get started. The gravel and mixed dirt paths allow you to keep your speed up while enjoying the natural surroundings. UBC, SFU and the North Shore all provide some of the best and most challenging terrain anywhere in the world. I spend most of my time tackling its wet terrain and arduous climbs. The Lynn Loop, Norvan Falls and Hanes Valley are three of my favourite trail-running routes. All three can be tackled from Lynn Headwaters Park. Lynn Loop and Norvan Falls are moderate distances with hard technical climbs and descents. Hanes Valley is for experienced runners and hikers looking for that elusive epic. Its 24-kilometre distance is made harder by creek crossings, mud bogs and an elevation gain that finishes atop Grouse Mountain.
But if you head off into the trails, make sure you are prepared and let someone know where you’re heading. This way you can ensure safe travelling in the backcountry and enjoy a whole summer of trail runs.
Lululemon Litespeed men’s running short
Chafe-free flat seams, moisture-wicking, quick-dry material and back vents for awesome air circulation.
Teva X-1 control trail shoe
Enjoy comfort, durability and support with Teva’s newest trail shoe. This lightweight shoe sheds water with ease, offers dual-density EVA cushioning, and the low profile lugs offer fantastic traction in every condition.
Icebreaker elite crew S/S
The perfect top for escaping off into the trails. The Superfine GT 190 fabric is super light, offers supreme breathability and like all Icebreaker pieces, it never stinks!
Nathan HPL #020 pack
Two-litre bladder, twin gel-holsters and three-way-propulsion harness for ultimate comfort and weight distribution.