Artificial Trails

In the outer north east suburbs of Melbourne I have access to wide collection of trails. Over the last few years some of my more regular dirt excursions have been paved over with bitumen and evening out of the gradient. Something about access for everyone. Also the longer main trails are usually covered with concrete and bitumen.

So what do I do if I want to run completely off road?

I link up sections of some brilliant trails which are usually a mixture of horse trails and mountain bike trails, but in some areas are nothing more than almost undefined tracks left by the local kangaroos.

What about the links?

Often I love running on the road as well. However, since I am preparing for a trail ultra I want to keep a good number of runs on the rough as much as possible. The answer for me is to use what I call artificial trails. These are the shoulders and side areas of otherwise paved tracks. Nature strips, grass buffers, churned up ground from building sites and basically any section that doesn't have a man made covering.

In the past I used to avoid most of these side areas as it was slower going. Now I've discovered I can cover some good stretchers beside concrete and roads and hardly touch my feet on the hard flat stuff.

Keeping my eyes open in this way I've discovered a few gnarly little excursions to challenge foot placement. As a result my long runs are now making good use of a mixture of real and artificial trails.

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