Before the holiday, I had the chance to chat with Scott Jurek thanks to Brooks Running. Yes, THE Scott Jurek!
In case you aren’t familiar with Scott —> he is an incredible trail runner and in 2015, set a new record for the Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike Speed Record. It was so awesome to pick his brain about everything related to running, nutrition and gear. AND, I didn’t know this — but he’s from Minnesota! He did have some good trails to recommend (further up north) that I want to check out at some point.
Trail vs. Road Running
Scott says that any running is great but he loves to do trail running (obviously). One of the reasons he loves trail running so much is because it’s like cross training because you have to build strength when you are dealing with rocks/roots on the uphill and downhill.
Urban vs. Green
I loved Scott’s philosophy on this because not everybody has access to amazing trails (or the time to venture out to some)… he “believes in running anywhere.”
That being said, he did have some favorite trails to share like running in the Alps, the Indian Peaks in Boulder and Rock Mountain National Park in Colorado, Mount Rainer and the Pacific Crest Trail and of course, the Appalachian Trail.
Advice for Beginner Trail Runners
Scott recommended that beginner trail runners shoot for about 85-90 strides per minute… and if you have an issue with sprained ankles (ouch), it generally means that your strides are too long. He also recommended working on strengthening the ankle outside of running by standing on a pillow/wobble board and balancing.
Also: Don’t be afraid to walk (walk up the steep stuff — Scott does!). A lot of trail running is transitioning from walking to running to power hiking.
Mental Strategy Tips
So for someone who conquered the Appalachian Trail, you know Scott has some good tips about your mental strategy — both for trail and road running!
- Focus on smaller goals (like getting to the next road crossing, the next shady spot, putting one foot in front of the other)
- Find little things to tune you in to the present moment in tune with your body (similar to the idea in yoga of offering your practice to someone –> who are you dedicating your race/run/etc. to? Push through for them)
- Focus on breathing/stride rate
Dressing for Trail Running
Scott has worked with Brooks for about 12 years now and was on the ground floor in developing their first running shoe. I don’t know if you guys have come across it yet, but Brooks has a new trail running shoe that is AMAZING.
It’s called the Mazama — it’s lightweight and a little bit more minimal. I love love LOVE the colors and can’t wait to take this out on the trails when I have some free time on the weekend. I’ll definitely let you guys know what I think!
In terms of other gear, Scott recommends:
- Ultimate Direction vests/hydration packs for water (necessary for long trail runs)
- Cascadia Shell (this is also a recent favorite of mine)
- Grit/Cascadia Running Shoes (he used these to run the Appalachian Trail)
Such an amazing opportunity and such an incredible person! Thank you Brooks for hooking us up with the convo. 😉
Anyways, I got off the phone with Scott and wanted to find the closest trail for a run. I’ve only done a few trail runs and they are definitely a lot different than road running… but my favorite when I need to get out of my head and just… run. I know that there are some great trails in Minnesota and I’m just really excited to check them out (but I might have to wait until after winter, because I’m a little bit of a wimp. It’s okay. ;)).
What are your thoughts on trail running? Love it?
Could you ever do an ultra race like the Appalachian Trail?
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