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Trail running a possibility for local athletes (video)

By Julie Garcia
Sept. 24, 2013 at 4:24 a.m.

Surrounded by trees and plains grass Leana Elliot and Missy Janzow run along the nature trail in Riverside Park, a course they use for triathlon training.

Finding the right shoe

The first step to running is an important one, and according to Pat DeLeon, a certified perdorthist, it should be toward finding the correct shoe for your foot.

DeLeon, with Sole Solutions, a store that specializes in athletic shoes in Victoria, said that regardless of running on trail or on pavement, a good heel cup and arch support is necessary for injury prevention.

"The right shoe will help in controlling the movement of the foot, and you will be less likely to develop plantar fasciitis (irritation, weakness or inflammation to the ligament that connects the heel bone to the toes), or ankle, knee, lower back or hip pain," DeLeon said.

Depending on a person's gait analysis, a process which determines how a person's foot is positioned when in movement, a runner may need more arch support or less.

Comfort level should be kept in mind, too.

Jordan Myers, a certified pedorthist in training, found that he was pretty flat-footed (pronate) after his gait analysis.

"I prefer a more neutral shoe - whenever I tried to run in a shoe with major arch support or an orthodic, it would drive me crazy," Myers said.

The trick to keeping rocks from getting stuck to the bottom of the sneaker is to look into shoes tailored for trails.

Though Sole Solutions doesn't have trail running shoes in the store, it does carry brands, such as Brooks, Asics and New Balance that make them, and they can be ordered.

• Water bottle

• Sports beans, gels or goo (for that extra push if you need it)

• Visor or hat

• Dry, tech clothing that doesn't hold moisture

• Driver's license or ID in a Ziploc bag

• Cellphone (check forecast first)

When looking for an off-pavement excursion, a Crossroads runner may run into a few roadblocks.

The major one being that there aren't many options to choose from when running trails in Victoria.

"There's potential for a trail around the PumpHouse (at Riverside Park), down by the river," local runner Missy Janzow said. "It would be great for a mountain biking trail, too."

Janzow ran cross-country in high school and college and fell in love with the thrill of natural running trails.

"What I love about trail running is that you know you're a part of nature; you don't know what's around the next corner," she said.

The concrete sidewalk that winds around Riverside Park is a good resource for runners. A 6-mile loop can be plotted around the park with sights including the golf course, the nature trail and duck pond/gazebo area.

But for any distance runners, hitting the pavement daily can put pressure on the knees, hips and ankles. After a while, pressure becomes pain, which can lead to long-term injury.

"Mixing in trail running is good for the body," Janzow said. "It's more difficult - you pick up your knees more. It's almost like sprinting."

Unlike a road or a track where it's easy to know where the next step will land, running on a trail requires the runner to be more aware of surroundings.

"You have to look for roots, snakes and be cautious of the next step," she said. "Don't wear headphones or earbuds on isolated trails."

According to Janzow, the closest trail running opportunity is within Riverside Park at the corner of Red River and Bluff Streets.

"Trail running is easier on the joints - it's not so foreign for the body so it's easier for beginners."

Edna's Brackenridge Recreation Complex is one of the closest places to run trails, with opportunities to run a 10-mile loop.

"It's about experiencing it; it's not about going from A to B," Janzow said. "You're out in nature, on the trail, destressing; you're off the beaten path."

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