Today’s 16 K run was much better. Probably my best run since Boston. Why? I am hoping part of the reason that I felt better today was because I focused on my feet. Feet? Footwork is the key to successful trail running technique. Rocks, roots, branches and even a surprise fallen tree from last night’s storm are all obstacles we find while running trails. Trail running brings an aspect to running that really isn’t present in road running. A very important aspect that changes the run but also adds to the run. Lateral movement. A road running is often a metronome of repetition and auto pilot punctuated by interruptions and man made obstacles. Foot follows foot and off we go. We sometimes focus on putting one foot in front of the other but rarely on where that foot will fall. Trail running is very much about where that next foot will fall. You must move in three directions with each foot. You move forward, vertically and almost always laterally. You gain fitness in three directions as well. You gain distance, elevation and lateral strength by running trails. Your body is finding its way through the woods. As I ran today I became very conscious of my footfalls. Leaping over this root, catching the tricky slope with a slight uphill turn of my toe, pushing off the trail ridge to provide a better push up the long hill. These are all the things that make the runner more present in their run. More conscious of their technique and run. Today I breezed by Trilliums and snapped around tricky turns all within a few seconds. I ran the trails today and I ran better because I didn’t just put one foot in front of the other, I moved laterally well and my core was strong. Remember – ELEVATION, GAIN. Hills and more hills.