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Ester Marsh column: Trail running and/or walking

When it’s this hot, it is great to find trails and paths to go for your walks or runs! I am blessed to have beautiful trails right on my land and neighboring land where I can run with my dogs or ride my horses. It makes a huge difference when I walk or run in the sun or on the shady trails — it’s a lot cooler on the shaded trails. As I have mentioned in past columns, I also love our Salisbury Community Park, which is off Hurley School Road. It has wonderful trails besides the beautiful paved path. I am glad to see that more and more people have found this “jewel” and are using the trails and paths for their walks and runs. This year on Saturday Aug. 22, we are hosting our 3rd Annual Warrior Way 5K on those trails and it is a fundraiser for our Hurley YMCA Track and Field and Cross Country teams. We had numerous walkers last year but we highly encourage walkers since you will be very pleased to see how beautiful the trails and surroundings are. We also challenge our High School Cross Country teams as this will be a great tune-up for the upcoming season! At 8.30 a.m., we will have a half-mile Fun Run first, followed by the 5K which is 100 percent trails. Fast Med Urgent care, off Klumac Rd, and Lazy 5 Vet, off U.S. 29 and John Leatherman State Farm Insurance are our major sponsors for this event. For other sponsorship opportunities, please contact me at the JF Hurley Family YMCA.

There are some things to look for if you have never run on a trail before. Our Warrior Way 5K trail run is a very well marked trail where we even spraypaint the big roots so they are more visible. However, if you are going to run on another trail make sure you do the following first:

Know your trails. Walking them first would help to figure out if it is a good trail to start with. The recommendation is to start with flat trails. Not knowing your terrain can make your chance of injury greater. Dan Nicolas Park has some great trails which are great for beginners too.

Wear the right shoes. If you run “manicured” packed trails, normal running shoes will work. If it is a rocky and/or slippery, trail shoes will give you the right traction.

Run with a buddy, especially when your trails are not heavily traveled.

Slow down your pace. Trail running is harder than road running so plan fewer and slower miles at first. Watch your downhills — your muscles already are taking a pounding going downhill but slowing it down can prepare you better for obstacles.

If needed, walk. Even trail racers will walk when getting to a very steep hill or have to cross streams or big logs. No logs or streams to cross on our Warrior Way 5K!

When running trails, adjust your stride and lift your feet and stay focused. I really have to watch when trail running because when I get in “the zone,” I always seem to trip on a root,stick or rock and take a big spill. Paying attention, lifting your feet, and adjusting your stride can prevent that (or at least minimize it).

Do not look down at your fee. Not only will it limit your oxygen intake and put added stress on your back muscles, it does not “warn” you on obstacles up ahead. Recommended is to look about 10 feet ahead on the trail.

When running on community trails, stay to your right, when passing yell loudly “On your left!” (If the person is on left yell opposite).

If the trails you run are shared by horses and their riders (such as Morrow Mountain), when you approach, ask the rider if it is OK to pass and let them know in advance that you are coming.You don’t want the horse to spook.

I love to run trails. It clears my mind and I love the challenges of jumping logs, watching out for roots and rocks. And my dogs Bear and Zoe love to go with me!

Trail running actually burns more calories due to the uneven terrain and other challenges you might encounter. Even if you are not planning to do our 5K walk or run, check out Salisbury Community Park off Hurley School Road. They really have some outstanding trails for any level! Get closer to nature, improve your balance, agility, and coordination and burn more calories — try trail running or walking! And I do hope to see you Saturday, Aug. 22!

Ester Marsh Associate Executive Director JF Hurley family YMCA

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