Sunday, February 13, 2011

Trail running as a contact sport

Who said trail running is not a contact sport?

Gill and I recently came in contact with dirt (in Gill's case) and a wet shirt (in my case). Apparently, a wet shirt can do quite a bit of damage, if you give it enough time. Chafing is one of my nemesis, since it always seems to find the only little spot not slathered in Body Glide. Last weekend I ran the Icy-8 Hour run, on a wet and soggy day: within the first 3 hours, I had horrible and very painful chafing. Fortunately, I had a rain jacket to change into, which was baggy enough not to touch the skin.
On this weekend's long run, there was still quite a bit of ice left on the Appalachian trail (above 2500 ft). But ice is not what Gill manages to slide on: mud is what he made contact with. With the snow melt, the dirt becomes soft and often muddy. He put his foot on an angle, and slid onto his knee. The rocks did the rest.

Even though some of these minor scrapes look gruesome, they are way better than injuries. The road might not lead to a bloody knee quite as often, but it leads to more serious injuries from the repetitive motion. Running on trails is definitely healthier for the knees and other joints. So, put your knee pads and helmets on, and hit the trails!


  1. What kind of knee pads do you use or recommend. I took a bad fall on the trail and at first it looked like I’d broken my knee cap. Turns out I didn’t, but I’m looking for some way to avoid that risk in the future.

  2. I fell twice in a trail run last week, and after previously falling, I've decided to search for some type of knee pads to wear just so i don't skin my knees if I fall. Just bought some volleyball knee pads from Academy. . .they seem thicker than I would like. By this time, maybe you answered your own question: did you find a knee pad you liked?