With the nation falling back in love with running, we caught up with Scarpa athlete, Carmine De Grandis to find out why he loves trail running and why you should ditch the streets and hit the trails instead.
With gyms closed during lockdown many people have been looking to running to keep fit. While running around the streets is great exercise, trail running can provide that extra something.
We asked Carmine to give us 10 reasons why you should give it a go:
1. No Place too far!
“Where you spend your time matters. Dreams can become a reality and adventure is a mindset.
If you want to run, but do not want to spend hours pounding pavements and shaving seconds, trail running can bring you closer to being outdoors.
Finding yourself in the urban wilderness of a city park or the outstanding natural beauty of a National Park in the UK, in Europe or even on Mount Everest. No place too far! All you need is a pair of trail running shoes and a drop of inspiration.
Running + Nature = Freedom.”
TIP: Try something new – pick up an inspirational book about running adventures such as “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall
2. Couch to
5k trail run!
“Trail running can be for everyone.
During lockdown millions of people turned to running, to help find a more balanced lifestyle. By subscribing to a running programme such as “Couch to 5k”, running became achievable and it gave people a goal to aim for.
If you have found (or re-found) a love of running in lockdown heading to the trails could be the next step in your running journey.
Why not complete the Couch to 5k programme, whilst exploring local trails? Listen to the birds, take in the views, get muddy, feel alive running in the drizzle. A ‘Couch-to-Trail’ adventure may be for you!”
TIP: We were born to run… download an App, pull on a pair of trail running shoes and set out to explore your local area.
3. A healthier you!
“As a runner, when you look for “the road less trodden”, remember: ”Mens sana in corpore sano” – a healthy mind in a healthy body.
Mixing hard trails with mud, flat with hilly routes, you will use more muscle groups, moving multi directionally. Mixed terrain means that your gait and foot strike is slightly different each step, as a result the impact on muscles and joints is lessened than when running on pavements and roads.
Running in green spaces, according to a Harvard study, can also be healthier than running in urban environments.”
TIP: Incorporating Pilates or strength and conditioning classes into your health regime will increase stability and flexibility – helping you to become a stronger trail runner.
4. Great for the mind!
“Most people are over-worked and under immense stress on a daily basis. Trail runners often state that one of the reasons they run in nature is that “it helps them clear their mind”.
Doing nature-based exercise boosts mental well-being while lowering stress and anxiety levels. Trail running maximises the mood, improving quality of exercise. Moreover, walking or running in green and blue spaces according to the World Health Organisation, reduces negative brain activity.
Walking or exercising outdoors helps break the “vicious thought cycle” often associated with depression. Feel the benefit of choosing holistic intentions for each run. Focusing on how fast you will run or whether you will be stronger than your friend, can bring added stresses, especially if those expectations are unreasonable. Simply enjoy being outside, breathing in the fresh air and letting all those negative feelings leave your mind. Fill your soul with a sense of harmony and gratitude.
TIP: Find your mantra – my mantra is: “I am blessed! La vita e’ bella!”.
Recommended reading: “Run with the mind of meditation” by Sakyong Mipham.
5. Discover “awe and wonder”!
Once in a while you find yourself in a magical place. Remember that holiday or that morning when you stopped and stood still? You were lost in that moment, absorbed in the “awe and wonder” of a beautiful sunrise, sunset, view of the mountains, the sea or wildlife.
An “awe-inspiring” walk or trail run does wonders for your wellbeing. Without the focus of races during lockdown, many runners have been practicing “awe-runs” – I like to call them “Spiritual runs”. These are runs that do not focus on pace, speed or performance.
According to a new study by researchers at the UC San Francisco, a regular dose of ‘awe‘ is a simple way to boost healthy ‘prosocial’ emotions such as compassion and gratitude. “Awe is a positive emotion triggered by awareness of something vastly larger than the self and not immediately understandable — such as nature. This experience can contribute to a host of benefits, including an expanded sense of time and enhanced feelings of generosity, well-being and humility.”
When I lost my father, when I fell in love, when I had my first child or I was close to a breakdown; trail running has saved me. Not the speed, but finding myself in the arms of nature and being able to let go, developing acceptance.
TIP: When did you last experience “awe and wonder”? Where was the place you found this “state of being”? A simple rucksack and a pair of boots or trail shoes can take you there again. What are you waiting for?
To be continued…
Carmine’s passion and enthusiasm for trail running is infectious and he has lots to say on the subject! So much so that we have split this blog into two!
You can also find out more about Carmine in our athlete pages.
Check back next week for part 2!
If this has made you want to give trail running a try you can check out our range of trail running shoes – perfect for finding that “awe and wonder”!