I don’t get trail running. It is needlessly dangerous. I was walking my dog on a trail in Rock Creek Park the other day and played witness to a poor chap falling on his ass and sustaining one heck of an inversion ankle sprain. I had to help him get back to the street. Thank goodness it wasn’t too far, as I would have hated to strain my back assisting him.
I have no problem with running if it is done occasionally and responsibly. Flat surfaces and predictable scenarios are preferable. The ligaments of the ankle and knee can do their jobs effectively. No surprises, hopefully.
I give you the following arguments to plead my case.
Even on dry days, sections of trail strewn with leafs and heaven knows what else have the potential to be wet. Liquid moisture lessens the coefficient of kinetic friction on surfaces in the same way as does ice. For a more detailed explanation of the particulars, see “The Physics of Falling On Your Ass.” You’ll get it.
Paths that are not paved are not safe to run on. Small incongruities on a running surface can wreak havoc on the ankle, especially if the ankle has been previously sprained. If you have had the pleasure of a sprained ankle, you may know that your muscle reaction time to correct out of a divot on a running surface is delayed because of the ligamentous damage.
3. Poorly Lit
This is a no-brainer. Your body cannot adjust nearly as quickly to things that it cannot see. Some trail runners strap lights to their heads and run in the dark. Good luck with that.
4. Obstacles and Distractions
If you are going to go running with your dog, please do not run on a trail. You are potentially throwing so many dangerous variables into the equation that I shudder to think about it. Please don’t. Is that a squirrel?
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