Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Paved and confused

It's amazing how much running on the road sucks compared to the lightly packed sand and rock of a nice trail. I can honestly say I don't miss running on concrete.

In preparation for the PF Chang marathon coming up here in a couple weeks, I decided that it was probably a good idea to lace up my Newtons and make sure I still remembered how to run on the road. Some people might say, "26.2 miles is still 26.2 miles no matter what". And they'd normally be right. Compared to trail running though, it's torture.

Here are some observations/differences between running on the road and on a trail:

  1. The road makes me want to run faster. Whether it's the shoes or my visceral desire to be done faster, my pace definitely picks up running on the road (averaging 8:30-ish compared to (9:30-10-ish on trail)
  2. I'm more of "a looker" on the road. Without the obstructions, rocks or undulations of a trail I'm free to gawk and check out the world around me while I run. For example, I saw the biggest damn bird in the world yesterday. A huge hawk was perched near the canal just waiting for me to avert my gaze and become his afternoon snack.
  3. Concrete has no bounce. My legs and calves hurt more from a short run on the road than my longest run on a trail. The pounding from the road is just brutal and has left my legs fairly confused and newly sore in several places.
I'll probably keep some of my shorter recovery runs on the road for the next couple weeks just to make sure my legs don't forget what it feels like but honestly, I can't believe I spent my formidable running years out on the pavement.

It just makes me wish I had found trail running sooner.

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