Hitting Your Stride on Michigan Trails

Hit the TrailRunning can get pretty tedious. However, having a rocking playlist on your iPod can help, but its not nearly as good as taking things off road.

Trail running is one of the fastest growing participation sports in America and for many good reasons. The sport provides a more varied, more scenic and less stressful option for runners of all abilities. If you run with a dog, your canine companion will probably appreciate being in the woods as well. There are a variety of trail types that offer many benefits to runners--and trails have fewer traffic stops. In addition, many trails offer amenities like water stations and bathrooms.

Rail-trails are great for steady, relaxed, out-and-back running. They usually have a softer surface that is easier on the body. And unlike hiking trails and mountain bike trails, rail trails and greenways are typically well groomed, so you need not worry about rocks, roots and other trip hazards.

Trail shoes typically provide more foot and toe protection, more tread and are more stable. However, those features come with the price of added weight. They are unnecessary on Michigan rail-trails as well as most single tracks. Unless youre going on longer trail runs over rougher terrain, you can probably get by with regular running shoes.

Trail running is a year-round sport. In fact, winter trail running is a blast. The woods and hills can help block the winter to keep you warmer. Running in light snow or packed snow can make your run more challenging, but the beautiful pristine winter scenery usually makes it worthwhile. And when the snow gets too deep, you always can break out the snowshoes.

Michigan leads the nation in miles of rail-trails and Greenways and has hundreds more miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. To find trails throughout the state, start by visiting the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance (MTGA) Trails Finder. You can also request a printed may by mail by sending a self addressed stamped business envelope with two first class stamps to:

MTGA Trail Map
PO Box 27187
Lansing, MI 48909

For more trail tips, visit Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance (MTGA.

One final reminder, please be a courteous trail user by sharing the trail (and keeping the iPod volume down.) Dont be shy about flashing a smile or a hello to others enjoying the great outdoors on Michigan trails.

Written by Todd Scott is the Detroit Greenways Coordinator for the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance.

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