RUNNING ON DIRT | Tackling the technical trail | SierraSun.com

RUNNING ON DIRT | Tackling the technical trail

Peter FainRunning on Dirt

Rocks, roots, uneven surfaces and creek crossing are only a few obstacles youandamp;#8217;ll face on our area trails. Add a few ankle rolls and nose dives each season and you have a Truckee trail running season. Becoming nimble and agile on these trails is a talent worth learning. It will make you a better runner and it will make the trails more fun. Recently I ran the 3.75-mile stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail from Old 40 to Interstate 80. I was expecting snow, but the trail was almost clear. This is one of my favorites for turning up the speed and really focusing on technique. The trail has it all, but not too much of any one thing. Your start will wind over large granite ledges, until you hit a small meadow where the trail eases. Take it easy in the beginning. Familiarize yourself with the footing. About three-quarters of a mile in youandamp;#8217;ll have your first climb. There are lots of loose rocks and several switchbacks. Then youandamp;#8217;ll drop and wind past a couple of small ponds. Move quickly or the mosquitos will get you. Down and up, a few more twists and turns, a couple of downed trees to hurdle and youandamp;#8217;re nearly to the other end. Youandamp;#8217;ll reach the far end of glacier meadow loop. Pay attention. There will be several forks in the trail before you get to the parking lot/trail head. Always veer left. It is easy to run past a turn. Take it slower your first time through to acquaint yourself with the area. Once youandamp;#8217;ve made it to the end, eat a GU and drink water. Once youandamp;#8217;re mentally ready, head back. Stay focused and turn on another gear. You have to focus. Get into a space where you feel as if youandamp;#8217;re dancing down the hills and gliding over the tops of the rocks. Your feet should glide through the terrain with ease. If you get winded from running too fast, take a break. You need to be clear and focused the whole way back. If not, your chances of rolling an ankle or falling will be good. The whole idea is to feel good about running fast on challenging trails. The last 600 meters of granite ledges will be uphill. Push it. You should be nearly max output at this point. The rock climbers will get out of your way. They may even cheer you on. Maybe.andamp;#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.