Trail running good training

By Dana Stetson


Trail running at Lake Overstreet in Maclay State Park can be interesting and good training. The two Overstreet loops are approximately five miles and two miles in length, respectively. The smaller loop is the perimeter of the top section of the trail. This section is nearly flat, very picturesque and mostly root free. This is a good trail to start practicing trail running techniques on.
The five mile loop is more hilly, more technical, and much more of an adventure. The big loop is the entire little loop plus an additional trail around Lake Overstreet. If you run these trails for long, you soon realize that many of the trail users are as predictable as the tides.
I almost always start with the early crowd just as the trail turns light. There are only a handful of people who start this early, but those that do tend to see each other fairly regularly. These early birds (whether runner or hiker) tend to be single or at most two runners working out.
At about 8:00 a.m. (during the weekends) at least two groups seem to start their workouts this early. These groups are the really fast group and the group of more normally paced runners. After these two groups pass you by, you get more individual runners, each leaving at their personal time and working their own workouts.
The mountain bikers appear next. There are some groups of bikers. But, mostly there are bikers in pairs, sporadically appearing all day. Families and their dogs start appearing later and soon enough come the rental horses.
Because people tend to be so random (and yet highly regular in their starting times) each set of people can almost believe that they were the first ones out at this natural setting each day. If not for the tracks, footprints, and other small signs of persons passing, this natural setting looks untouched all day, everyday. Most peoples’ passing occurs with little sign of their time spend in the wild.
Then there is a long period in the early afternoon when very little occurs in the way of human activity. This period is for the occasional hiker, mad dogs, Englishmen, and ultra runners.
In the later afternoon, people of all sports persuasions seem to appear. It seems as if most of the runners have more fun from these later workouts than the workouts of the early a.m. As darkness starts to take over, there always seem to be one or two individuals who seem to finish the day hard, with one more blast of speed. As the day ends, it’s amazing (if you think about it) how many people got their fitness groove on at the same little trail over the period of one day.