We all have that stretch of trail that we run, again and again, a ‘go-to’ for when we are short on time or just looking to push ourselves. Sometimes we feel great, we push every segment, legs feel strong and turnover is easy. Other times, we are tired and each step is a struggle, our muscles need a break, and that trail is so well known we don’t have to think to find our steps.
The Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST) in Salt Lake City is my trail treadmill. With year-round access, I have run it back and forth dozens of times. I know every turn, every climb, every glorious downhill. In an area surrounded by 11,000-foot peaks, some find the BST boring. Why run a trail so close to the city when you can so easily access any serene mountain trail in just minutes? Locals living in a trail running mecca like Salt Lake City sometimes forget how lucky we are to have a trail so close to home that offers beautiful single track overlooking the entire valley, stretching from Provo to Ogden.
Sometimes I run every hill, other times I can hardly walk. I use it to recover, to build strength, and to let go and fly. Like a treadmill, I use the BST to track my consistency. For long runs, I’ll run repeats on 6 to 8 miles sections. I try to keep my last lap as even as my first few. When I am short on time and need a push, I set this trail treadmill to pace, pushing every step.
The view really can’t be beat. On a clear day, you can see everything stretching from one end of the valley to the other, snow-covered peaks and reflections on the lake. At night, the valley lights up and the sky twinkles. I need no music, no outside distraction, just a pair of running shoes and a clear mind.
Find your treadmill, push your limits or just let go and let your feet take you. Don’t be discouraged if some days are harder than others. You are out there, you are running, you are strong, even when you feel weak. Whether you’re training for a race or just trying to get out and stay healthy, find a go-to place, a place you know, a place you can love again and again.