The other day, I went out to a trail that I had only heard about. I had yet to venture out to where it was. For some reason, things never worked out for me to go run there. I kept feeling pulled to it for some reason, I just needed to wait for the right time and this day, it just felt right.
There is a sense of excitement when going on a new trail. like going into an unknown territory. I feel like an explorer at times. Everything is new to me; the terrain, the challenges and most of all the views. There is a sense of wonder around every corner and a learning of where to go. I know that I am not the first person to go this route, but when there is no one else on the trail around you, there is a bewilderment about it. I felt like the great explorers of the past, who knew nothing about what lies beyond the the next ridge.
Adding new trails to your training lets you expand your total experience. Without these new paths, we would wear a rut into our everyday trails. Things would become worn out and nearly impassable. Changing things up will keep your running fresh, it will keep your mind sharp. Doing the same thing over and over will dull your senses. You have to stay focused if you want to traverse the path as fast and efficiently as possible.
Some people are happy going to their local track and doing the same loop over and over and over. Where is the adventure in that? Adventure is why I started trail running in the first place, so why not go somewhere new? I read about a man who ran 100 miles on a high school track, breaking a time record. I admire the grit that this took, but all I could think about was how boring that must have been. Then I realized that he BROKE a record. That means there were others who did it. I can’t fathom 400 laps spread out over several weeks, much less at one time.
We have to keep trying new trails. Running would be boring if we ran the same loop constantly. Part of that is to step out of your comfort zone and try the new, while not forgetting the old. It’s the old ones that have lead you to the new ones, the old paths that gave you a new sense of accomplishment once.
This goes for all of our life, not just in running. Going into the unknown helps create a new person or, as some would say, it “builds character”. Our continued growth relies on us not becoming stagnate, running the same loop for hundreds of miles. Running in circles does not give you any new visions or perspectives, it just causes worn and beaten down ruts.
We need to follow trails that, while not new, are less traveled. You may not necessarily be blazing a new trail, finding the way so that maybe someday you will be able to guide others down the same path. It might just turn out that you help refine that path, finding a better way.