After my experience trail running on the Gatlinburg Trail in the Smokies, I decided to try it again when I got back home. I run on the local Greenways often, but they’re paved and heavily trafficked by walkers, runners, and cyclists, so it’s not really the same thing. Since I had the morning free, I opted to half-trail run, half-hike the 4-mi Day Loop Trail in Long Hunter State Park.
I’ve actually done this hike many times before, so it made for an ideal experiment with trail running since I was familiar with the terrain. I started off at the trail head walking briskly to warm-up before I started actually running. I did have to stop and walk in a few rocky patches to make sure I didn’t accidentally twist an ankle, but overall it was a fantastic experience! My pace was slower than if I had been running on flat pavement, but I enjoyed myself thoroughly and I felt as if I was getting a much more intense workout as well.
The last half of the trail I actually hiked, but at a brisk pace in order to keep my heart-rate elevated. Although it’s a loop and there’s no correct direction to go, I prefer heading to the right at the split so the first park of the hike is in the woods and then I end on the part of the trail that parallels the lake, so as to get the nice views and breeze. Overall, it made for a lovely morning and I’ll definitely continue with the trail running/hiking combo experiment in the future.