Early season crucial for building miles | SierraSun.com

Early season crucial for building miles

Peter Fain
Running on Dirt

Many of us have a strong base from being active year-round with several different sports. But as I learned in March, cross training only helps so much. Letand#8217;s focus on the few trails we have right now and how we can use them.

More or less, that means doing repeats or running fire roads. I do both right now. Most importantly, though, is to put in some time on your feet.

Getting yourself going after a long winter is often hard. You may find new and special pains that you didnand#8217;t feel last year, like a patellar tendinitis, a tight IT band, shin splints or the famous plantar fasciitis.

You feel any of these, and youand#8217;re doing too much too soon. Take a quick break while you still can. If you use a PT, visit him or her and work out the problem quickly. Trust me, donand#8217;t run through it or youand#8217;ll be stuck with the pain all season or worse.

Having given that ominous warning, you need to work on building your miles right now. And since you are a trail runner, what I really mean is time on your feet. Yes, races are distance-based, but you need to get used to time on your feet. So, these early season miles, donand#8217;t worry about how fast or how far. Just choose time.

Last week I discussed Lloyds Trail just off of Prosser Dam. That is still the go-to trail of choice right now. Especially because the fire roads and the motorcycle trails throughout the area are clear. Itand#8217;s easy to get some miles in out there right now. Itand#8217;s important with your running to learn your trails and feel progress on them, so keep visiting the same places. It does help you progress.

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A place not to get the miles in but still have fun is the lower portion of JPand#8217;s Trail in Coldstream Canyon. I ran it Wednesday. The uphill is clear. Go figure. The road, well, there is plenty of snow, so thereand#8217;s no use trying to run out towards Lost Trail Lodge yet. This is a great hill for repeats.

From what I call the start (the split in the trail that heads up or down) to the top (the fire road) is nearly 800 meters. The trail is in really good shape. A mountain biker, no less, has already buffed out the trail for us. The pine needles are clear, branches off and rocks gone. Both directions are really fun.

Today, my disjointed tale is this: Get some time on your feet and do hill repeats. They will be key to making you an incredible runner this summer. Good thing we have many more new trail races in our area this summer. Weand#8217;ll talk about those soon.

and#8212; Peter Fain is a local trail runner who competes regularly in regional trail races and snowshoe runs in the winter. He may be contacted at runondirt@gmail.com.