Virginia State Park'strails have spoiled me in the world of running. I’ve foundit's hard totolerate running along a noisy road, pounding the pavement and breathing in smelly fumes. Treadmills aren’t an option unless I’m desperate. I feel like a hamster on a wheel, watching theclock tick awayuntil Iquit. With the trails, it's almost as if you disappear into another world. The air is crisp and fresh. Noises come from trees blowing and birds chirping, not cars. The ground is soft and easier on my joints. The turning and winding is great for agility and strength. Jumping over creeks, crossing bridges, running down stairs…the intensity can’t be replaced by the "hamster wheel."
Runningacross the marsh at York River State Park.
When it comes to running alone, the trails make the perfect training partner. It's important to keep things fresh so you don’t become stagnant and bored. I find myself looking forward toregularcoursesI run through thepark.Differenttrails that loop aroundin acircle or long trails that go out and back one way.I enjoy scouting out newtrails for potential long runs.I rarely stop to read a map, or memorize trail names so I know how to get back. I just take off andenjoy the thrill running aimlessly about. Thisis my chance to run a little longer, a little faster, see new sights andlet go of everyday stress. Perhaps it's a mind gameto make time fly by, or a technique to make myself run that extra mile.Whatever it is,it works. And at the end of the day, it's rewarding to know you had a quality run and even enjoyed it.
Partnersrun along the Potomac Beach trail, at Leesylvania State Park.
If you’re in the midst of a training regime for a spring race, consider a state park near you. The parks offer hundreds of miles of trails. It'swonderful to have options when you're looking for something fresh andnew.There's hilly and flat, deep forests with trees or open roads with water views. Virginia's great for runningbecause the terrain is so versatile.Plan a longer run at a different park each week. It’s worth an hour drive to put in some quality miles. Many of our parks are in large forests with lots of trails, and others connect to major trails such as Grayson Highlands to the Appalachian Trail.
Trails galore! Sky Meadows State Park.
Looking for a hilly trail with a view?
Check out our Virginia Outdoors for enhanced maps and video tours of each park'strails. If you’re in the park, the electronickiosks offer trail guides so you can map out your course before you head out. Virginia State Parks has recently launched a freeapp foryour smartphone, with the ability to view any trail at any park! Pretty cool. But, if you’re adventurous like me, you’ll just find the nearestpark, lace up and go run!