By Amy Begley, Atlanta Track Club Coach
As we head into the fall season, this is a great time to explore new places to run or walk. Hitting a trail instead of pounding the pavement can provide a much-needed change of scenery as well as some health benefits!
Running or walking on soft surfaces like dirt and grass puts less of a pounding on your legs than running on roads or sidewalks. Trail running will also help to strengthen your feet, ankles and lower legs since it is harder to stay stable on uneven surfaces.
I recommend running on soft surface once or twice a week. But before you lace up your shoes and head out, here are some tips to keep you safe on the trails.
- Slow your pace and watch your footing. You will likely find yourself in hilly or uneven areas, so make sure you slow down or walk to avoid tripping or falling. Keep a close eye out for holes!
- Leave your headphones at home. It is very important that you are able to hear your surroundings.
- Bring your phone and something to drink, especially if you are running in a new place. You will be able to call for help from your phone and having water or an electrolyte beverage will keep you hydrated.
- Consider bringing a running buddy. Whether it’s a friend or your dog, it’s never a bad idea to have someone with you.
There are a lot of great trails and soft surfaces around Metro Atlanta. You can also join us for the second annual Wingfoot XC Classic, a cross country event that features a community race as well as high school and middle school invitationals. The event takes place at Sam Smith Park in Cartersville on Saturday, September 24.
Registration for the Wingfoot XC Classic is free for Atlanta Track Club members and $10 for non-members. Visit atlantatrackclub.org for more information.