My Love Affair with Trail Running

michaelI discovered my love for running when I was just a kid, but my passion for trail running started when I visited Southern California during a summer in high school. I just fell in love with The Backbone Trail in Santa Monica Mountains. I felt so close to nature when I ran up and down the hilly terrains.

Often, you will find backpackers and mountain hikers along the way, and then that’s a whole new adventure. Of course, I will always advise trail runners to be careful of people you meet in these terrains.

Don’t get me wrong, I would never turn my back on road running. That’s what I grew up doing, and I will always have in my heart the joy running through the city or my hometown brings me. Besides, a road is much easier to find than a hiking trail or a mountainous terrain, right?

Very Important Reminders For Trail Runners

If you’re just starting to get the hang of trail running, I can tell your right now that it’s pretty close to road running. However, you have to be more physically fit because the terrain is not as smooth as a city’s road, for example. When it comes to clothing, wear the same thing you would wear in a road run, but try to choose something you wouldn’t mind getting dirty or snagged.

michael 2Then, you may also want to change your running shoes into trail shoes because trail runs will be too much for ordinary running shoes. You need shoes with greater stability and protection from injuries. It has to have protective soles. Some runners want to run barefoot, but as a beginner, you have to be careful because rocks along the train can be pretty sharp.

Don’t forget your water bottle, and this is something I tell everyone even those who don’t run that much. You need fluid to help you with hydration, and that’s something you should never underestimate. Furthermore, bring an insect repellant with you as you wouldn’t want to see yourself get eaten alive by mosquitoes during break time.

And finally, attach a lamplight or flashlight in your gear, especially if you plan to trail run at night. This will help you navigate in low-light conditions and find your way home.

When trying out a new sport or activity, just make sure you learn everything you need to about it. Having the proper knowledge and tools will help you enjoy it more.

Learning the Habits of a Runner

I’ve repeatedly said that I’ve been running since I was five years old. I wasn’t lying, although I may have enhanced my resume a bit. There was a time I actually stopped running for a week or two—I became so fond of stand-up paddling.

A good friend of mine back during my college days is an avid water sports fan. One day, we were running, and the next thing I knew I was already buying an inflatable stand up Paddle Board.

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It is an interesting sport. For at a time, I even got into a debate about the Best inflatable sup we could get. You can only imagine my friends’ surprise seeing me doing another athletic activity other than running. However, a week or so into paddling the waters in my hometown, I thought about what made me a good runner.

My dad taught me that the most successful people have an exact habit and routine of what they should do every day to achieve their goals. They stick to that routine and they never let up. Consistency is the key to achieving success in your passion.

There are at least four habits I stick to and have been following since high school:

First, I wake up at 5AM every day to start preparing for breakfast, which I make sure is exactly the kind of nutrients my body needs. I made it a habit to prepare my own food because who knows my body more than I do? I know what it needs, and I’m pretty knowledgeable about what will work.

Second, I am consistent about working out. I follow a strict routine. It starts with a healthy breakfast, warm-up exercises, and a five-mile run at the least. I do this every day of the week, rain or shine (unless when there’s a storm, of course). It is easy for some to turn their backs on an activity they started simply because they have not found the perfect routine for it.

The problem is; there is no perfect routine. There’s only consistency.

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Third, I update myself about new findings about running. Whether it is about a result of a certain experiment, a survey, or a new journal on running, I make sure I read about it. As this helps me learn more techniques and strategies from it.

Lastly, I sleep and relax. I never sacrifice sleep for running. If I ever find myself climbing to bed at 3 AM and knew I cannot be up by 5AM, I don’t try to make it anymore. Instead, I sleep the required hours, do my usual breakfast routine, and run for a mile or so if I’m a bit pressed for time. There is really no use to cutting short your restful sleep for another mile or two of running. As much as I enjoy running, I know there are more important things than that.

What are the Best Running Shoes?

This is a tough debate, and I learned the hard way about when to shut up about a topic. A lot of people may probably scoff at my choice of Running Shoes. Yes, it is Nike, but I won’t even tell from which line. However, there’s a principle I believe in when it comes to living that also perfectly sums up our opinion about shoes in general—to each his own.

I’m not afraid to admit I use a “mainstream” running shoes, and that I sometimes ride the bandwagon of all those cross-training sneakers Nike came up with in the past years. I use a pair of Adidas too, but not as much as I love my Best Running shoes from Nike.

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What to look for in running shoes

There are specific things that I am looking for in a pair of running shoes. Primary of which is the flexibility of the shoes and the comfort for my soles. I’m very particular about the kind of foam used on the cushion of the running shoes as well.

The Boost foam is the one used by Adidas Supernova Glide 6. This is very different from the traditional UVA foam since it offers more cushioning. In addition, the Boost foam is also resistant to temperature changes. This means that it won’t get too hard when the weather is very cold.

It is very important for you to choose a pair of running shoes that fits you well, that is flexible, and has a soft cushioning. This protects your feet from sprains, strains and even blisters.

One thing I like most about my running shoes is the mesh body. For example, the Nike Zoom Vomero 9 employs that mesh body that can keep your feet dry and clean. The mesh allows for better air flow and increases the breathability that allows your feet to battle the heat.

Moreover, I’m in the lookout for more running shoes that use a specialized crash pad that can protect my feet from injuries. Of course, when we run, it cannot be helped that accidents are always around the corner. That’s why it’s vitally important for me to know that my running shoes have the best anti-injury feature.

In the end, what every beginner should look out for is the comfort with the shoes. You should always test it out before using it for a long run since we don’t want injuries to happen when we’re doing something we’re passionate about.

The Journey of Running

I wouldn’t want to dramatize my life as a Runner. I’ve been running for so long that I can’t accurately pinpoint the exact period of my life when I realized this is what I was meant to do, and this is what I wanted to do with my life.

No one expects one’s child to be a runner. For many parents, they dream of a doctor, lawyer, engineer or even an accountant for a son. They don’t wake up one day and say, “Son, I want you to be a runner.” My parents have always been supportive of my passion for running though, and for that, I will eternally be grateful to them. It made my life so much easier to manage.

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Why I Wanted to Run

It started as any other sports out there. I played with my cousins around our neighbourhood. We played all those street games kids used to play. It involved a lot of running on our part that I just woke up one day wanting only to run, and not to play the games anymore.

I didn’t have any specific illness that required me to exercise my heart and test how much it can take. I run because I wanted to. The first few times I did it, I immediately knew that it is baseball to me as it is to Babe Ruth. There was no question that in this lifetime, I found one passion I’m going to stick with.

Running inspired me so much that I got a scholarship to college just because I was able to run “quite well.” There was never a day that I felt so low in which running did not solve. Putting on those shoes and just doing a strenuous but uplifting activity always makes me feel so good that I eventually forget why I was sad or angry in the first place.

However, more than just being the linchpin to a good college education, running helped me avoid being an obese, or at least being overweight. My family has a terrible history of heart ailments, so weight and fitness have always been big issues for us. Although they were not the reasons why I wanted and needed to run, these reasons helped me further my skills in running.

My journey to being a runner is an ongoing story. There are still so many things I have to learn about it. Even though I found my career in this passion, I am still eager to keep on learning what I can about it.