Not long ago as runners in Western NY – We would see snow fall in late November and it would stay until sometime in March. Then we would have 1 more storm in April and tons of mud after.
Now it seems we have a storm – lots of snow – Some crazy meltdown that includes trails covered in ice – and then – like today – Mud everywhere –
So what should you do. How do you traverse these muddy slippery trails? These points are really valid in the fall and spring – but now – thanks to that wonderful thing called Climate Change – we seem to need to talk about it in the winter.
First things first – stop trying to avoid the mud. These are trails. Embrace it. Don’t hide from it.
Just like on ice or snow – Shorten your stride. If you over stride into a slick mucky spot you will slip big time.
What if you start to slide? Go with it. The more you try to fight the more likely you will fall. Hit the slope with the thought you might need to “ski” a little bit. This is hard to get used to – but a valuable skill.
Hands out – elbows out. A wider position with arms and elbows will really help you keep your balance.
Your shoes will get stuck if you do not tie them tight. Stomping down and quickly bringing a foot back out creates suction. Suction steals shoes. Don’t let your shoes get stolen.
Slow down – No one runs as fast when conditions aren’t perfect. So slow down a bit and enjoy the challenge.
Dont try to avoid the mud by going around – this causes erosion and widening of the trail. Suck it up and get through it – Save your trails from destruction!
Know when to avoid the trails. We are trail advocates and sometimes that means staying off the trails. Heavy rains on some unstable hills cause mudslides – Too many runners on bad courses cause trail damage – Too much rain on a hilly trail can be unsafe. Be smart.
There is no secret to this – Find what works for you – Try to smile your way through it and embrace the mud. Mud runs are fun runs – Have fun out there!