You know how it is: when it’s time to work out you get in your car and drive to the gym, or pop in that Biggest Loser DVD that helped you lose all that weight. But what do you do when your friends invite you out for a weekend of camping under the stars? Do you use the old excuse, what’s one day missed at the gym? Do you amp up the camping activities by strapping a fifty pound pack on your back to go day hiking? Do you relax and take it easy while canoeing, figuring you are getting in your hour of cardio anyway? You could. But then you wouldn’t be that crazy workout junkie that all your friends have come to love. The solution?
Sure, I know trail jogging is nothing like running on the treadmill at the gym. For one thing, you’ve got no little blinking red numbers that tell you how far you’ve gone, how many calories you’ve burned, what your heart rate is and what speed you’re at. But even the best digital display pales in comparison to actually being out in the woods, breathing the pine-scented air, feeling the whisp of the leaves as they tug on your sleeve. Now you’re actually out there in nature, going somewhere instead of watching the Cooking Channel surrounded by other 9 to 5ers. With a little preparation, trail jogging can be just as good of a workout, and even more enjoyable, than your daily DVD or gym cardio session. Here are some of the items I bring with me trail jogging.
What you Need When Trial Jogging:
Music. Bring it or not?
This one is up to you, but put some thought into it. Without music, you may focus more on your surroundings, possibly heightening the spiritual aspect of jogging through the woods. With it, it may help the workout move quicker, may help you ease your way into that cardio workout high, may be a totally awesome soundtrack to your nature experience. It depends on whether you are a purist or not, whether you want any of the modern distractions or would rather focus on the meditative aspects of jogging and communing with nature.
Sure you need good shoes for working out in general, but trail jogging is going to involve leaping over rocks, stepping on sticks and possibly the occasional snake on the path. Yikes! You need good shoes to protect your feet and give you the maximum flexibility to navigate those road blocks.
At home you can have a glass of water resting on the TV beside you; at the gym there’s a special cup attached to your treadmill or stair stepper that holds your bottle. On the trail, you will have to carry your own water. Depending on how long your run is, you may want to hydrate before, and set yourself up for easy hydration after. Leave the water bottle on the picnic table at your camp site, take a mighty swig before beginning your run, and hit it first thing after you come back. There are also options that you can buy at outdoor stores if you’re really serious. There are hiking canteens that strap onto your back, with a hose that reaches around to allow you easy access to your water. I’ve never heard of it used for jogging, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try. I would not suggest carrying a water bottle with you, as that would be distracting and heavy. Another option is structuring your run so you go past the camp store, grab a sip at the water fountain, and keep on jogging.
Map it out
When you get to the campsite, grab a camp map. Or download an app that has it for you. That way you can plan out which path to take, if you want to stick to roads or want to trail blaze it. This will also help you plan how far you want to run, and whether you are going to run past the swimming hole or the camp store.
Bring a Friend
Just a bit of practical advice, related to jogging outdoors in general. Working out in a gym or at home in front of the TV doesn’t leave you alone the way trail jogging will. Think ahead to make sure you are safe, and bring a friend. Just in case you twist your ankle, you need someone to lean on and help you back to camp.
Author: Gretchen Elhassani
Edited By: CampTrip.com