Tayte Pollmann’s Tuesday Trail Tip – Explore New Trails or Run Trails You Know?

Tayte Pollmann’s Tuesday Trail Tips series of articles are supported by American Trail Running Association corporate member Nike Trail Running. Tayte is running all the mountains & trails of Southern France; all of them! 

This week’s trail running tip is inspired by a question: When do I run familiar trails and when do I explore new trails?

This past week, I’ve been running in the L’Hérault and les Sevennes regions of France, which are completely new areas for me. Almost every run this week, I’ve discovered a new trail. I always love to explore trails I’ve never ran before, but running trails I’m familiar with is perhaps the most enjoyable for me.

For example, it was a great feeling this last Thursday when I left from the permaculture farm I’m staying at in France and found trails to run on. It’s exciting to discover a place by running. The run is never dull because every step is new and I’m always figuring out where to go.

But this past weekend on Saturday, I ran a trail I had hiked the day before. My familiarity with this trail, by contrast, allowed me to get excited about the sections of the trail I knew would be fun to run, such as some anticipated stair climbing and one rocky descent. I also found myself relaxing into the run, even on the steep parts, because I didn’t have to worry about getting lost or deciding where next to go.

Overall, I’ve learned that when discovering a new place, I’ll enjoy doing at least one run on a trail I don’t know while the majority of my runs will be on trails I have more familiarity with. Hiking is a good solution for me to still explore a large amount of trails, while allowing me to have the feeling I love of relaxing into a run on a familiar trail.

I hope this tip can help you think about your own preferences when it comes to running new trails. When you go out for your next run, ask yourself if it’s time to explore or to get excited by running a trail you already know and enjoy?