Friday, February 26, 2010

Running the Rails

Earlier today I had one of the more interesting runs that I've had in a long time. I met up with fellow PR Fitness Coach, Richard Stent, just West of Pittsboro and for a very unique run; something I had never done before, yet something Richard is quite familiar with - rail road running. We jumped on the tracks and headed West. Sure, I've ran on abandoned tracks when I was a kid, or a "rails to trails" kind of thing, but never an active rail system.

At first, it was really tricky to get the hang of running atop of rail road ties and rock. I wasn't sure what the best strategy might be, so I just followed Richards lead and did my best to let things flow. The head wind was stout at times, yet I really didn't care as I was in good company and way too focused on my footing to care about wind or cold.

After 45 minutes of running, we decided to turn around and head back. Our pace quickened on the return leg and I really began to find the rhythm and flow as I let my instincts take charge and not "think" so much. I also noticed my strength was good and my running technique was making the transition to running on the unique terrain of the day. The final 30 minutes were really quite enjoyable and I can see why Richard makes "Running the Rails" and regular part of his running routine.

We ended up covering just over 6.6 miles, but I gotta tell ya, the mental and physical impact felt more like a 10 mile trail run with hills. The training effect was fantastic - mental focus, skill and accuracy in stride and foot placement, leg/lower leg/foot strengthening, stamina, endurance, it was all there.

I can't condone running the rails, as I don't want to be responsible for any of you getting splattered by a freight train during a training run (heck, I don't even know if it's legal), yet I'm sure I'll do this style of training again in the near future.

1 comment:

  1. Running the Rails - awesome! I did that as a kid - in the summertime, my dad would load up the pick up truck with two mini bikes (homemade) and about 7-8 neighborhood kids: From after supper until dark, two kids would be on the bikes, and the others would be running the rails. Fun times - who knew....