Find out why Michigan was made for trail running

Get started trail running todaySick of pounding the pavement? Take your next run to a nearby trail instead! Hoofing it over hills and through trees is a great way to perk up a boring routine and will help you take advantage of how beautiful Michigan is this time of year.

First things first: The safety issue. Unlike when you’re jogging around your neighborhood, running on a trail can mean that you’re far from help if you need it. That’s why it’s important to either go with a buddy or tell someone exactly where you’ll be running. Also, bring your cell phone with you as well as a map of the area.

You also want to make sure you don’t get injured. If you’re used to running on streets or sidewalks, start with just a mile and work your way up each week. And keep your eyes focused on the ground in front of you to avoid any roots or rocks that could trip you up. If you think you’re going to love trail running, you might want to buy specific shoes. Most manufacturers make sneakers designed for trails that have tougher soles and are water-resistant (since you might come across some puddles or even a stream along the way).

Ready to give it a shot? For starters, check out this TrailLink map, which shows old rail lines in Michigan that are now designated for recreational use. Most are relatively flat, so it’s a good way to try running off-road without really roughing it. For even more options, the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance has a map showing different trails and greenways around the state. Feel like you could do a trail race? Here is a list of upcoming trail races, from a marathon in Waugoshance to a 5k in White Cloud.

Tell us about your favorite trail to run on in the comments!


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Photo credit: Jonathan Fox

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