Look Up. Sounds simple enough. But lace on a pair of trail running shoes or throw your leg over a mountain bike or cyclo-cross bike and things can get a bit challenging.
I always start with the best of intentions – to look up and down the trail so I can see what is coming up and be mentally and physically ready for it. Rather than being surprised by the big rock or the bend in the trail, I’ll know it is there and will instinctively react. At least – this is the theory….
On Monday night I attended a trail running clinic taught by Lise Meloche of Natural Fitness Lab. This was an excellent session that really taught me so much about trail running. Really, beforehand I believed that trail running was just running… Well, not anymore. There is some serious technique and skills that go into effective climbing and descending – along with learning how to read a trail. To say this trail running clinic reignited my enjoyment of running would be an understatement – I think it got me full-on hooked again.
So much so that on Tuesday I went out for a rather hot and humid lunchtime run at Kanata Lakes. If you’re looking for some good technical trail running in Kanata – definitely go for a run here. I’m used to mountain biking on these trails, but running on these takes things to a new level. The keys from Monday’s session came in very handy: look up, lift your feet, kick your bum, swing your arms, read the trail. I tried to do it all – sometimes it worked and other times I found myself surprised by a bend in the trail or a rock that seemed to jump out from nowhere.
Thursday in an effort to continue with my theme of nature, I did a before work mountain bike ride at Kanata Lakes. I must say, a great way to start the day and I’m surprised more people don’t do this… anyway, my goal for the ride was very similar to my run on Tuesday – to look up and to anticipate. I find I get caught up in looking at my front wheel and then because my technical skills are not top-notch, I end up braking, choosing a bad line or simply falling off my bike. I did have a great ride and started to feel really connected with the bike – I do find it takes me about 25 minutes or so of mountain biking before I’m super comfortable on the singletrack (I’m guessing this is because I don’t have a lot of experience).
So look up. Look up when you’re out riding or running. Look up from your computer when you’re bogged down with work. Look up from your gadget when you’re out for dinner or at coffee shop. Look up because you just never know what is around the corner. Chances are pretty high you’ll like what you see and want to do it more and more.