As most of you know, Lost Oak is home to a 2.1 mile Lost Oak Bike & Hike Nature Trail carved into the woods along winding Village Creek. The trail was developed by Paul Courtaway with iMudRun and made for the Wicked Wine Run held at Lost Oak Winery each spring & fall.
Interested in running? Here is what our guest blogger Brett S. Garrett has to say!
It’s not a revolutionary concept that the activity of running and/or walking is beneficial. Just from a biochemical viewpoint the way the human body responds to exercise is incredible—metabolism increases, endorphins are released (which reduces pain and stress levels), and ultimately, blood pressure decreases. The intention of this article is to elucidate essential knowledge to allow you to feel inspired in partaking in the euphoric world of outdoor exercise.
Whether you’re a novice walker or an avid runner the ability to understand the anatomy of footwear is essential. Your feet are your base and when you don’t take care of your foundation a cascade of unfortunate pains will follow. Starting off, it’s important to identify the type of terrain that is consistent with your endeavors. Whether it be rock, sand, road, track, or a myriad of other possible topography, believe it or not, there’s a shoe for that. The outsole of a shoe is indicative of its purpose. Road-shoes have a smooth outsole while trail-shoes range from light tread to a deep-grooved tread, which are imperative for maximal elevation changes. If your terrain preference is a little off-road and a little on-road (hybrid) then I suggest you look for a lightly treaded outsole to ensure stability while traversing the path of most resistance. Also, make yourself knowledgeable that different athletic shoes are structured for different types of feet (i.e. low arches, high arches, wide, skinny, high volume, low volume etc.). They are classified in categories such as Stability, Neutral, Motion Control, Minimalist, and Maximalist. Insoles are also an option to allow yourself a wider selection of brands.
Now that you have a basis for selecting proper footwear the next matter of inquiry is Running Form. Running form has been a topic of debate since the seventies. I have developed my own conclusions to common understandings. For instance, “Only run on your toes.” This idea was born with the thought that we have more bones in our forefoot (14 phalangeal bones and 5 metatarsal bones) than our hind foot (8 bones). Seeing that that’s correct, one must then assess the difference of the bone density in these locations. Your hind foot consists of higher density bone to allow for greater impact. For instance, the navicular is the bone that makes up your arch, in which it is designed to be a shock absorber. If you run strictly on your toes you change the angle of impact which eliminates your ‘shock absorber’ from being one hundred percent effective. My conclusion is that stride-length and distance are inversely related. And since short-distance running (aka sprinting) consists of a long stride then a ‘toe-strike’ is more optimal in terms of time. But for long distances it is much more beneficial for the biomechanics and the longevity of your body to take short strides with your first contact being a ‘hind foot strike.’ If you’re not sure about your stride length for running long distances I recommended to go to a local track or find a place that you can establish a 400 meter mark. When you begin running you should count 180 paces (1 pace equals every time your LEFT FOOT hits the ground) to achieve 400 meters. And that’s the stride length you train with for long-distance running.
I have hopefully sparked an interest to partake in adventures in the landscape around you. While providing basic language and knowledge on how to begin, my objective is to also contribute my experience and education for improving your own experiences. My only caveat is realizing the importance of making a conscious decision on the environment in which you wish to participate. In present day, gyms and health clubs have become a multibillion dollar industry. These institutions are able to provide education, equipment, and sociality to communities all over the world which allow people to achieve fitness. But what I have experienced over the years is that I can’t help but feel like a hamster on a wheel when I run on a treadmill. I have always looked at the world through the eyes of a primal inhabitant; that the outdoors is my playground. Whether it be road-running, trail-running, hiking, walking, or climbing I want to be able to physically witness the terrain I have conquered. It doesn’t appeal to me to look down and read luminescent numbers that tell me how far I’ve gone. There’s something about humans that we need to feel like we can achieve something. Wether it be the simplest of tasks or recording your ‘personal best’ at your last marathon, the desire to be better is organic. Having said that, it can obviously be stated that I am an advocate for outdoor exercise. Not only because of aforementioned personal experience but because nature is truly evidential that miracles exist.
Brett S. Garrett
Current Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) student
Former USAF S.E.R.E Specialist
Cheers from Lost Oak Fit!