#RunFernieRun - Taking the First

While the somewhat simple act of trail running is nothing new, it’s evolving with every step. Each year there’s a new line to toe, a new trail to explore and a new training buddy to be found. This is no truer than here in Fernie - with a trail network to keep even the most enthusiastic distance runner inspired and spur on the novice into taking their first step.

The best part about trail running and racing, is that everyone’s journey is entirely their own. Goals and mileage can be customised to fit around work schedules, social calendars and family time - better still they can become part of them. However, such enthusiasm should come with a warning, as long before you’ve entered your first race, your casual running could turn into a habit, your Sunday lie-ins replaced with the desire to scale a mountain before breakfast, and your beach vacations replaced with toe-nail losing adventuring.

But really, it’s a good problem to have – and better still, it’s a sport for life. Luckily for you, Fernie is a trail runner’s paradise with a plethora of endorphin induced adventures just waiting to be found, along with support from an increasing number of local stores, races, events and trail running clubs.

Want in on the act this summer? Here’re a few key tips to help you start off on the right foot, and get yourself to both the start, and more importantly, the finish...

Find your right shoe.
Then be prepared to change your shoe. A few times. And more than likely appear to be operating your own shoe shop out of your basement. While the rest of your family might see you as having a “problem,” it’s well-proven that rotating through a variety of shoes is good for your feet. Plus, as you start running longer distances, you’ll soon realise what does, or doesn’t work for your foot shape. Be sure to match your foot shape to the shoe, pick the right cushioning level, heel-to-toe drop and of course shoe type – in short, don’t pick your shoes based on colour, or what works for your running buddy.

Find that buddy.
Or dog. Or in fact, both. Running with company not only increases you chances for success, but it also ups the fun factor. Sharing your exhaustion and utter hatred for hills with an equally sweaty, red-faced friend will soon help you see the funny side to running.

Learn to embrace hills.
Yep, you might hate them at the start, but make them your friend - and to be honest, as Fernie sits in a valley, you have very little choice. Don’t be afraid to walk, just keep on moving. They don’t just make you fitter, but the endorphins, views and sense of achievement will make you feel like a champ. Even if you have just gone 0.8km in 45 minutes.

Don’t run for mileage.
The terrain is what makes trail running so special, fun and unique. However, it’s also what makes you feel like some days you are going nowhere. If you’ve decided toinvest in a GPS watch, (good call), you’ll discover that on steeper adventures, those kms take a long time to rack up. Don’t be alarmed if your watch stops clocking your kms altogether – that is the sign you’re tackling your very own Everest session.

No two runs are the same.
Along with your new-found love of hills, be prepared for ups, and downs. In short, some days you might feel like you’ve cracked it, while other days you might feel like you’ve never run in your life. That is normal, do not panic – rather, just get back out there and try again. Fernie has so many trails, be sure to switch up your routes and find new areas – it’s such a fun way to explore, and it will stop you comparing every run to your last.

It’s all in the technique.
Good technique is key to success. Bad technique is one of the hardest things to kick. Find a professional to help, reach out to your local run club, or watch YouTube videos – it takes a while, but you’ll feel a difference and your body will thank you. While the internet is a great place to find information, check out the running section in your bookstore – there’s a book about every aspect of running, and there are some amazingly inspiring stories out there. If you haven’t read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, it’s an absolute must…

Look after yourself.
You’ll feel a whole lot better if you stay fuelled and hydrated. Carrying a water bottle, along with a little fuel and electrolytes will help both your run, and more importantly your recovery. If you’ve taken the next step to following a training plan, which states you need to run again tomorrow, you need to be ready to roll. And if passing out on the couch doesn’t quite cut it, book regular massages of the deep-tissue, slightly painful variety.

Lastly, set yourself a goal.
Whether you’re a goal-oriented person or not, there is nothing quite like entering a raceto spur on your running. Even if you’re not considering it a “race,”ensuring you’re adequately trained will raise your levels of enjoyment, the desire to ever do it again, and increase your chances of being able to walk down the stairs, (or sit on the loo), the following day.

Sound like a plan?
Check out Fernie’s summer trail running calendar. Then, find that trail buddy, rescue a dog, buy four pairs of new trail shoes, a GPS watch that won’t stop beeping at you and go run, walk or literally crawl up a hill. It will be a sure-fire way to a fantastic summer in Fernie.

Abi Moore is an avid endurance runner, who alongside husband Mike Moore created Stag Leap Running Co. Visit stagleaprunning.com for information on weekly run groups and exciting events, including the Lone Wolf, Elk Valley Ultra, and Fernie Tears and Gears.

Photo by Cam James