How Trail Running Will Ruin Your Life
If you are a die-hard trail runner you were already grinning and nodding in concurrence right after your eye caught this title. For those unconverted roadies thinking we are finally admitting defeat: please do stick around! We would love to share with you a few ways in which trail running may ruin your life (and why you will absolutely love it).
How Trail Running Will Ruin You Personal Record Charts
Do you measure the success of your road race by the PR (personal record) you attained or missed over that 10k or half-marathon? Trail running will quickly change that for you. A PR in trail running is more likely to refer to the maximum altitude gained in a specific distance than finishing times. No two trail runs are comparable. PR’s are something you read about in popular running magazines and you vaguely remember logging during your early years. The trail runners that don’t push for the podium are happy to finish before the cutoff and so make the most of their allowed time on the trails. In this way PR may also refer to the maximum time spent completing a given course, the number of river crossings or the number of tumbles taken. This is why trail runners demand finisher’s medals. Beer is optional but very well received. Just ran an eight-hour trail marathon? You are hard-core and deserve that reward.
And know what? Spending eight hours slogging it out on a narrow trail over rocks and roots, up and down mountains along with a handful of like minded people is more rewarding than a PR or any other bragging rights. The personal satisfaction and sense of achievement will become your fix. And like an good addict, you will start to crave more…
How Trail Running Will Ruin Your Budget
Trail running will wake up the explorer in you. Gone will be the days when you were happy to chase a faster and faster pace around the same old city blocks. Once you completed your first challenging trail you will begin to scour magazines and the internet for more. More remote, more technical, longer, higher, tougher. You will crave the experience of exploring a piece of the planet that is mostly accessible on foot. Of running through dense forests and up and beyond the tree line, with bird’s-eye views to wax lyrical about.
Whatever you spent your moola on in the past, prepare yourself to start saving for airline tickets, pricey entry fees (chopper stand-by time is not cheap) and minimum gear list items. Guaranteed, your entire family will catch on sooner or later and gone will be your savings for the annual Christmas ski-vacation. But guess what? You won’t see it as expenses towards a costly hobby. With every penny you spend you will know whoever coined the phrase ‘money can’t buy happiness’ didn’t know what he was talking about. And he surely wasn’t a trail runner.
How Trail Running Will Ruin Your Self-Image
Thought you were an okay-ish runner, finishing in midfield with 10,000 people coming in after you? Trail running will fix that for you. In a field of 250 runners there is hardly any safety in numbers. But trail running, again, is much more about personal accomplishment and fulfillment than how you can compare your achievement to the rest of the general running community. Getting yourself to the starting line will be 90% of the challenge. After that it will be pure fun and enjoyment as you put body and mind through trials and tribulations of the course. IF you manage to finish and it is in 249th place, nothing could make you prouder or more satisfied.
You will spend a lot of time by yourself on the trails, in training and also in racing. Very often there won’t be any supporters to cheer you on or help you get through tough patches. So you will learn to rely on yourself and get to know yourself in a way like never before. Through trail running you will find your inner lion. An animal proud, fierce and powerful. One who doesn’t have to go around pouncing and roaring to prove to the pridelands his courage and deep sense of self. He just is. And he knows it.
It Will Ruin Your Household
You thought dealing with sweaty running apparel was a chore? Try sorting three-day-old sweaty, muddy, bloody kit, including shoes, hydration vests and all of its content. Because three days is often how long it takes you to get back to civilization and the nearest laundry machine. The stench may take four cycles to remove. The blood may never wash out. The burrs on the socks and gaiters may scratch for the next three runs you wear them. The muddy shoes? Don’t even bother. The first river crossing in the next race will deal with that.
Your neat freak friend suggests you store the offending gear in the garage. You burst out in a hysterical fit of laughter. “Would you store your fine art in the garage?” Of course not. You love your gear with a deep and burning passion. Every smudge and stain was hard earned and you want to keep it on display for yourself and the world to see. Heck, you even posted three pics on Instagram of your post-race gear alone! You will embrace the various chaotic corners in your home taken over by dirty kit, hydration bladders hanging out to dry or gear storage. For it bears the proof and memories of all the adventures it accompanied you on and the exciting promise of what still waits.
In a Nutshell
There are a myriad of benefits and advantages to trail running. Most often people shy away from the trails because of various fears, to later find out they were mostly ungrounded. So if you are a regular runner and you haven’t tried your hand at the trails, why not give it shot? How did that proverb go: “He who runs does good. But he who runs trails does better?” Something like that.