1 Way To Keep The Big Dream Alive Is Trail Running
Past Sunday I had my first opportunity in trail running. Running friends who enjoy both street running and trail running regularly and I were gathered at Coastal Peak Park, Irvine, for a 9 miler. The December morning was slightly on the chilly side at 8 am, but once we started running, it got warmed up.
Like many, I have always loved hiking by the water. For instance, Topanga Canyon or Temescal Canyon is my go to trail for a short hike by the water here in Los Angeles. I must admit though that I haven’t hiked there much lately because I have moved onto longer and more strenuous hikes with high elevation gains, in and around San Gorgonio and San Jacinto mountains or the Sierra Nevada.
It was great trail running with the ocean view for a change, and the blue sky with no clouds was a bliss.
Even before I started training for BQ, I was always tempted to give trail running a try.
Since hiking has been a big part of my life and that nature is where I am the happiest, I knew that trail running was something that I would enjoy. The combination of running and being in nature – trail running, what else could be better.
But my plan was simply qualify for Boston first, so I decided to dedicate my time solely to street running training.
Of course, no one tells me that I only can choose one or the other, or no one argues that doing one won’t benefit the other.
However, there’s always a factor that makes one different from the other – elevation gain and loss.
And BQ comes down to how fast a runner can run. For instance, in order to qualify for Boston Marathon, for my age bracket (40-44), I must run under 3:15:00 (3 hours and 15 minutes), which translates into a 7:26 min/mi pace. However, apparently those runners who qualified for 2016 ran 2 ½ minutes faster than its own qualifying standard.
On the other hand, although trail runners get awarded for speed upon finishing a race, due to the aforementioned factor – elevation gain and loss, they simply cannot run as fast as marathoners do. Besides, endurance is the name of the game for ultra runners of, say, 50 miles, 100 miles or 200 miles than speed, as opposed to marathoners of 26.2 miles who have to work on both endurance (for its distance) and speed.
For instance, when Mebrahtom “Meb” Keflezighi, won the 2014 Boston Marathon, his official time was 2:08:37. No fastest trail runners or ultra runners can run that fast in the street, let alone on the trail. Speed isn’t the requisite. Endurance is.
I suspended my BQ training four months ago and am now slowly getting back into running again as my injuries, especially the knee pain, have got under control. And it occurred to me that my knee may appreciate more if I run both on the dirt trail and on the pavement, rather than just on the latter.
I’ll definitely enjoy both worlds of running. My BQ dream won’t go away, even if one day I may want to run a 50-mile race, like Kodiak Ultra Marathon.
Have you tried trail running? Have you considered doing ultra marathon? 50K, 50 miles and/or 100 miles? What in trail running attracts you most? Do you run half/full marathon as well as trail run races?
Thank you for reading.