Trail running: Fitness on a budget

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With every New Year comes a myriad of New Year’s resolutions intended to counteract the holiday overindulgence. Many center around the common themes of getting in shape, losing weight, and leading a healthier lifestyle. However, there are reasons why many have struggled to succeed in their fitness goals and not achieved long lasting results, including time constraints, obligations and responsibilities, lack of motivation, and of course budgetary concerns.

Not everyone can afford pricey memberships to yoga studios or the steep cost of just one hour of personal training. Gyms can be a bit more affordable, but can also quickly become monotonous and boring. How long until running in place on a treadmill gets old and unappealing? For many, this happens quite awhile before fitness goals have been achieved, leaving frustration and resignation instead of a slimmer frame.

One option for the financially cautious person looking to get into better shape in a fun way is trail running. It’s become common knowledge that running is one of the most effective cardiovascular exercises, so if the idea is to get into shape as quickly and efficiently as possible, running is your best friend.

Besides the cost of a decent pair of running shoes, it’s also practically free and can be done anywhere. Unlike studio classes or training sessions, you need not adhere to anyone else’s schedule but your own.

San Diego happens to have a number of great places to run and though street running is also quite beneficial, the benefits of trail running are numerous. Sloping trails challenge the body more than consistent paths, beautiful scenery promises to keep boredom at bay, and the absence of cars in most cases makes for an uninterrupted running session. Trail running is a great way to clear your head and have some alone time in a beautiful place, but it can also be an opportunity to explore with a friend while getting fit.

Sunny skies are a great reason for San Diego locals to forgo pricey fitness plans and take to the outdoors. In a region of the world in which seasons are basically nonexistent, trail running is just as practical in the winter months as it is in the summer. One excellent way to keep motivated and achieve fitness goals is by signing up for a race (10k, half marathon, or even a full marathon for the ambitious) in the spring. Races along San Diego’s trails are plentiful and most self-training plans have you ready for a half marathon in as little as ten weeks and can be found online.

For the price of one month of membership to the average yoga studio, you can register for a race that will have you motivated for months to come. No one wants to waste $100 in registration fees, and every time your motivation flags the upcoming race can act as a reminder to keep going. Embrace trail running in 2012 for a budget-friendly, exciting, and effective fitness plan.

Photo by mrhayata via Flickr.

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