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Trail Running: Running Through the Woods

An interview with Roxane Duby, Founder of the Charlevoix Running Club.

You’ve heard of trail running but aren’t sure whether this type of running is made for you? We’ve demystified this trend with Roxane Duby, passionate trail runner and founder of the Charlevoix Running Club.

What is trail running?

“Running in nature, mainly” answers Roxane. “It’s as simple as that”

That’s right! Preferring forested ground covered with rock and roots to pavement, lovers of this sport
enjoy running through fields, mountains, and valleys, depending on their capabilities and the region they are in or exploring. And Canadians are lucky! Our land is riddled with beautiful trails for all levels, from a path running along a river to a rugged mountain trail.

The benefits

It goes without saying that the benefits of this sport are numerous! In addition to the multiple advantages of traditional running (development of cardiovascular endurance, release of endorphins, etc.), trail running also contributed to a healthy mind and works different muscles in your body that wouldn’t normally be used running on a flat surface.

“The runner must stay 100% focused at all times. When someone isn’t paying attention,
that’s when injuries happen.”

This focus allows for a peaceful, reflective, or meditative state of mind. Making sure not to trip over a rock or root helps someone doing this sport not to allow his or mind to wander to tomorrow’s to-do list.

“The athlete will not only have toned legs, but will also have to train his or her upper body in order to attain more balance for this type of activity.”

Gear

Whether you’re looking to gear up or just start running on the trails, Roxane recommends taking it step by step and grow progressively. Start with trails offering shorter distances that you’ve already walked on, and test out your materials before tackling steep hills or more rugged terrain if you aren’t yet used to it.

“The most important thing is your selection of footwear” she reminds us, as she runs on trails year-round.
“Some will prefer a specific type of sole, but you must avoid purchasing your trail-running shoes in the internet. Get to a specialized store, ask for pertinent advice, and take the time to try on different shoe models.”

Designed for a different type of use than running shoes for pavement, trail-running shoes might have cleats, or may be made of water-resistant materials such as Gore-Tex to get through snowy areas in fall and winter. And for the heart of winter, certain types of snowshoes are also made especially for running.

When it comes to clothing, short pants and t-shirts made from lightweight, breathable materials should be your choice. A headband will keep perspiration out of your eyes, compression sleeves will help your calves, and a cap will protect you from UV rays. These items will up your game a notch and give you a more comfortable and safe experience.

If you are a tech junkie, there are several apps and gadgets, such as smart watches that help you measure distance traveled, your heart rate, and your stride speed.

“But runners should also learn to run without a watch”, specifies the trainer. “Knowing and respecting your rhythm and breathing is the key the having fun and improving your technique.”

She does note that, having a GPS is extremely useful. To conserve your energy over the course of your run, you must also carry along some healthy snacks rich in natural sugars and lots of water. Hydration packs with a straw are handy, but Roxane notes that there are even some packs that are made specifically for trail running, with bottles in the front – and will be the perfect sidekick for your outing.

Hydration packs Women’s sportswear Men’s sportswear Women’s trail running shoes Men’s trail running shoes

 

Some last bits of advice: if you’re interested in trail running and having direct contact with nature, trail running clubs exist almost everywhere in your province to get you started with your sport. And if you decide to go it alone, don’t forget to share your itinerary with someone before you set out, to avoid littering, and to give the right of way to cyclists you may come across.