Monday, September 7, 2015

Trail Running

View from a trail in Eagan, Minnesota
Running on trails is special. It's tranquil, peaceful, and good for the soul.

Research has shown that spending time in natural settings--green spaces--can reduce stress, boost levels of oxytocin, and increase your quality of life.

Read, "Forget Your Stress While You Run" from Runner's World if you want to know more about using running to reduce your stress. Here's an excerpt:
John Douillard, D.C., author of Body, Mind, and Sport, suggests running in an especially scenic place--a view of a beautiful vista will keep your mind from drifting off to stressful thoughts.
Spring along the Minnesota River Bottoms Trail
Test it out yourself. Go for a hike, bike ride, or run in a green space.  It could be a city park with lots of horticultural offerings, or a paved or unpaved trail through trees, grassland, or along a body of water. See if you feel more at peace afterward.

I can't think of a time I've run a trail and not felt fantastic afterward. Many times run on one of my normal paved routes through the suburbs and been tempted to cut a run short for no reason other than boredom.

Trails, however, have a way of luring me in. I think less about pace. I think less in general. Instead, I soak things in. Running water. Wildlife. A spring.

Even when I run with a friend as I did the other day, conversation often stops during shared experiences: tiptoeing around a section of trail thick with mud and water; a bird of prey perching on a stump next to the Minnesota River; and the natural sounds of birdsong, breeze through the cottonwoods, and running water.

These are things to be experienced.

Run well, and run a trail.

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