Trail Running in the Northern Suburbs

Getting bored of running the same routes over and over? I know I definitely have days where I feel like running a decent distance but can't bring myself to run that same suburban route again or watch the kilometres tick by on the treadmill (yuck!).

Trail running may be a good solution to change it up a bit and boost the motivation levels while getting serious strength and endurance benefits. Out in the Northern Suburbs and Beaches we are lucky enough to have access to both national parks and reserves which provide access to countless mapped out trails. I just recently started exploring an area out the back of Turramurra and North Wahroonga which lead me out to Golden Jubilee Field and Jubes Mountain Bike Park. Next week I plan on heading out towards Bobbin Head and exploring the Bobbin Head Walking Track and the Sphinx Firetrail, which I hear is good one for getting the kilometres in the legs. Then there's the all the smaller tracks that stem off West Head Road...the options really are endless!

The beauty of a trail run is that it's constantly changing- it's up, it's down, it's flat, you turn this way then that, and hence no two trails are the same. One of the things I actually really enjoy about running trails is having no real gauge of how I've done or how much more to go (unless you're wearing a GPS watch of course). This concept, while seemingly daunting, is actually rather refreshing. Rather than focusing on how long you've been running for or how many streets to go until you reach the home stretch, you learn to enjoy the surrounds, the tranquillity of nature and settle into a much better pace. The forever changing terrain is also a great way to build strength.

Depending on your fitness level, difficulty of the trail or what you want to achieve from the trail you may choose to walk rather than run or use a combination of both. Often it's good to start with aiming to run the flats and walk the hills. The slightly uneven nature of the terrain can take a bit of getting used to, especially for those of us with unstable ankles or knees.

A few tips before heading out for a trail run:

Do your research - take time to look at the map, know where you're going, how far you're going and roughly how long it will take you.. then plan accordingly..

Stay hydrated - ensure you're hydrated beforehand! Depending on the length of the trail and therefore the duration of exercise it may be wise to take fluids with you. You can either use a multi-bottle waist belt, hydration pack or hold the bottle in hand

Wear decent shoes - you want to maximise your stability and shock absorption to prevent any unwanted injuries occurring

Stay safe - I usually prefer to run with a buddy, I feel safer and it's more enjoyable. It's also a good idea for at least one of you to have a phone and possibly a map of the surrounding area (especially if you've never been there before)

Enjoy!!! Don't stress about your speed, rather take in the surrounds, enjoy the fresh air and the tranquillity of nature.

Sometimes the slightly (or in some cases severely) uneven nature of the trail terrain can take a bit of getting used to, especially for those of us with unstable ankles, knees or hips. Give me a call- By doing an assessment of the lower limb I will be able to identify any instability, strength or motor control impairments that may be present. We will be able to tackle these problems before they lead you to injury! If in the instance that you have unfortunately already injured yourself, for example from twisting your knee or rolling your ankle, let me help you alleviate the pain and devise an appropriate rehab program to have you back out there ASAP!

Enjoy exploring those trails!


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