I just returned from a trail run during a rainstorm and naturally I’m completely caked in mud and dried leaves. Seriously, I have mud in crevices once unknown. This experience taught me something every trail runner learns at some point- how to fall without seriously hurting yourself.
Someday I will write about “How to Fall Safely” but after hearing my wife laugh her ass off at my mud-covered misfortunes, I have decided to take a less serious approach… Here are four ways trail runners fall down:
1. The Classic At the end of a long run (or at the beginning, if you lose focus) you are completely exhausted. Every time you move your legs you feel like you are ripping your muscles from bone, you are most likely dehydrated and starving, and your brain is running on fumes. In this state of mind you decide “Hey I’ve run pretty damn far, I don’t need to lift my feet up anymore. I’m just going to do the zombie shuffle instead.”
This thought lasts about two seconds until our old friend Mr. Tree Root decides to bring you back to reality. You kick it as hard as you possibly can and do one of two things: you either pull every muscle in your back holding yourself upright as you contort your body in ways previously unimaginable or you fall face-first into a puddle, rock, deer poop, or nasty bug-infested dried leaves. Congrats! You just did “The Classic” trail running face plant!
2. The Old-Timey Banana Peel Slip This kind of speaks for itself, but it happens mostly when running downhill, although it is not unheard of to happen on flat ground (and God forbid you somehow accomplish this bad boy running straight up a hill!) Essentially, you go to take a step and your foot receives no friction and kicks wildly out in front of you. All the wind from your lungs leaves your body as you flop onto your back.
If you’re like me, then this fall will generally happen when you are carrying a whole bunch of stuff in your arms or you are in view of your girlfriend and all of her giggling roommates. (Traumatizing incident from college) When trail running, the banana peel slip can be both dangerous and hilarious!
3. Olympic Speed Skating Slide into the Wall If you ever watched Olympic Speed Skating then you know what I’m talking about here. These dudes (or dudettes) are careening around a corner at sickening speeds when someone just completely loses footing and flies into a wall (conveniently covered with a crap-ton of padding). In trail running it essentially works the same way, except minus the padding and add evergreen trees.
Word of advice: if running in the rain, slow down when hitting those corners Apollo Ono! (Speaking from experience)
4. On a Cactus Self explanatory.