Trail running and trail shoes
Trail running/hiking may be the best way to improve and maintain fitness for cross country skiing. Lucky for us, trails and trail running shoes have recently seen huge improvements. Communities have invested in trails and shoe manufacturers have embraced trail running by developing and improving their trail shoe lines.
What’s new with trail shoes
Traditionally trail shoes have been built with beefy soles and exaggerated rubber lugs to protect you from rocks and roots on trails. Over the last few years running shoe companies have been focusing on building unstructured, lightweight and flexible trail shoes with a precise fit. This new breed of trail shoes gives natural feel while providing traction and protection on uneven surfaces.
The new Nike Zoom Wildhorse is a nearly minimal shoe with a low 4mm drop and lugs that are not too aggressive and handle uneven terrain nicely. The Brooks Cascadia worn by Trail Ultra Marathoner Scott Jurek is engineered to adapt to the trail surface and your foot. The amazingly light New Balance 1210 is built to withstand the punishment of the Leadville 100. The Salomon Speedmax is a flexible trail shoe with heel stability, a snug fit and aggressive treads for excellent grip in rugged conditions. The New Balance 910 has Rock Stop and Toe Protect to safeguard feet on rocky trails. With it’s less aggressive tread, the Salomon Mission gives a smooth ride on pavement and has enough tooth to provide traction on most non-paved surfaces.
Why trail running?
If you are lucky and have nearby trails with hills, get out and enjoy them. Running on hilly trails mimics the kind of workout you get while cross country skiing. You work hard on the uphills and recover on the downhills. Add poles and you have a workout for the upper body as well. Dirt trails are softer and easier on your feet and joints than roads or sidewalks. Running on uneven trails improves agility and balance which translates nicely to cross country skiing.
We are cross country skiers for a reason - it’s fun to ski up and down hills through forests. No matter how hard we are working, even in a race or in the cold, we enjoy being in nature. After the snow leaves we still crave the forests, hills and the weather. Embrace the aspects you love about cross country skiing. Lace up your shoes and hit the trails.
-Posted by Tony Mommsen on Apr 18th 2014