According to the eminent psychologist Erich Fromm, the desire for “rootedness” can be described as our need to feel at home due in part to our alienation from nature. This may be seen as the reason behind some of our attitudes and behaviors.
This week, we’ll talk about trail running. In simple terms, it can be described as running through the woods, listening to the rustle of the leaves and the songs of the birds.
Trail running doesn’t have to take place high in the mountains, but still may involve traversing rugged terrain and climbing. During ascents you can alternate walking and running, and can use running poles. During descents, you need to be careful, use your arms for balance, and look immediately ahead to see where you can best take your next three steps.
The terrain you encounter can vary from mud to snow; sometimes you run over rocks when on very technical courses such as the Lycian Way. As well as the trail surface, the weather conditions can vary, from sizzling hot to extremely cold. But trail runners don’t let this stop them; they wear extra layers if it’s cold or put ice cubes in their hats if it’s too hot.
What’s important about trail running is that, whatever the weather, after running in a setting where you can connect with nature, you feel alive and released. In what’s called the “trail running state of mind” you also feel a sense of gratitude and appreciation.
Generally, unlike road runners, trail runners don’t care that much about pace and finish times. Especially during trail races, gains in elevation and total distance are the primary concerns; the only success and the main motivation are to finish the race.
In our country many trail races are held, with the biggest one being the Cappadocia Ultra-Trail. In this race there are three courses, 38 km, 63 km and 119 km long, with elevation gains of 1,120 m, 2,030 m and 3,730 m respectively.
The biggest trail running event in the world is the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB). It attracts runners from around the globe, who must collect points based on their performance in qualifying races and then enter a lottery to win a place in the race.
The event has grown to include several races of varying length, but the main one is the UTMB itself, which is 171 km in length with an elevation gain of 10,000 m. The route, which loops around Mont Blanc, starts in Chamonix, France, and continues through Italy and Switzerland before returning to France.
What’s most important in trail running is just having fun. And what’s great about it is that you can see places while you’re running that you would never see from a car or other form of transportation.
Tips for trail running:
-Make sure that you have enough water in your flask.
-Trail running shoes are different from road running shoes. But if the course isn’t too technical, you can choose whichever kind works best for you.
-Give yourself time, and also give yourself credit for your own accomplishments instead of comparing yourself with others.
The topic for the next column will be the triathlon. Would you swim 4 km, then get on your bike and ride 121 km, and finally run 42 km without a break? That’s what triathletes do!