Back to the trails…

I cannot express how great my run felt today.  This post is a bit of a follow up to my last one.  Over the past month, I have been doing all of my workouts on the road.  Whether it’s a run or a bike commute, I’ve been up and down the Springwater Corridor extensively.  The Springwater is great, but it’s no Forest Park.

I’m not trying to diss the road, by any means.  The road is where I, and I think it’s safe to say most of us, began running.  Folks in Portland are pretty damn lucky to have the Springwater Corridor.  You can run a half-marathon, or more, on the entire thing without having to dodge traffic.  The Springwater is something I’m very grateful to have in my city.  This month of road running was great, most days.  There were a few early morning work commutes that were not so rad, but overall I enjoyed my days out on the Springwater.

This also gave me a chance to do some work on speed.  Enter the new pair of Hoka One One Clifton 3’s.  Don’t wanna get too “product review”, but these shoes are amazing.  Hoka has always been a shoe I wanted to like, but the pairs I’ve tried in the past are way too snug on my feet.  The Clifton 2 and the Speedgoat are the other pairs I’ve tried.  I ordered a whole size up with the Speedgoat, but it was still too tight in the toe box.  The shoes themselves are fantastic in terms of design and materials, and they sponsor some truly remarkable ultra runners, so Hoka is always a company I admired from a distance.  When I heard the Clifton 3 had a wider toe box.  Curiosity drove me to my local running store and I picked up a pair.  The improvement is remarkable and these shoes are amazing on the road.  I was putting in some decent mileage within the first week of getting them and feeling pretty good in the knees and calves.  

Some of the ultra athletes I admire most have always stressed it’s good to mix it up in terms of exercise.  Once I got into trails I thought it would be really hard going back to road running.  To be honest, there was a fair amount of dread in my return to the road.  The Hoka purchase was done partially out of curiosity, but a great deal of the motive was to put a fair amount of money into some new kicks as an investment in the road/trail experiment.  

During the purgatory of being car-less, I tried to make lemonade out of the shitty situation, and came up with a plan to fit in my exercise into my commute to work.  The Strava title I gave each run/ride was Tour de Commute.  I live a little over 4 miles from where I work, so it’s a pretty easy distance to cycle or run.  Tour de Commute was a way for me to keep motivated, and I also didn’t really have a choice 🤓.

My work week is Sunday-Thursday.  I rode to work the first day, with my running gear packed up, and then ran home (also tacking on 4 miles to keep my usual distance).  The next morning, run to work and ride home.  It got tedious after a couple days, but I felt great.  I was running at a much faster mile pace than my trail runs, and the supplemental rides were great for recovery.

Every time I tuned into Strava or Insragram, I felt frustrated that I was missing out on my favorite season of the year.  I didn’t realize that mixing it up like that was going to be beneficial.  When I stepped back onto the trail yesterday for my first run, it was like I’d never left, and my mile pace was the same or better.  My running schedule is going to morph into at least a day of road running and cycling.

I recommend mixing it up!  

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