By Monique Chavez
Summer is almost here, and there are plenty of ways to get active and accomplish fitness goals in St. George, even outside of the gym.
Perhaps the most classic form of exercise is going out for a run. Whether it is hiking, cycling, walking or running, it can get boring to follow the same trails every time. So, I decided to get some route suggestions from some of the best runners in town, the Dixie State University women’s track team.
Skyler Storie, a senior exercise science major from Cottonwood, Arizona, recommended that new runners start slow. She said walking or jogging one mile and building up from there, adding an extra mile every week, will help build endurance.
Storie’s favorite route to run is the Riverside Trail, along the north bank of the Virgin River.
“I prefer to be on trails,” Storie said. “I think just getting out in nature and being in a different scenery where you’re not having to worry about cars or soccer balls flying at your head is nice.”
Storie said she runs approximately eight miles a day, averaging 50-55 miles a week.
“My secret is gum,” Storie said. “If I chew gum, I’m good for eight miles.”
Although she prefers trails, she has to do the street routes with the team at practice as well. So, she added when running on busy streets it is important to look out for drivers and pay attention to where you are going to prevent injuries.
Storie said even her experienced teammates have tripped on small ledges and rolled their ankles on rocks from not watching their step.
Marieta Wright, a sophomore elementary education major from Las Vegas, said she likes to run along the dirt trail by the Dixie Rock behind Pioneer Park. She said all she takes with her when she goes on a run is her watch and her car keys.
“I try to make sure there is a drinking fountain on my routes,” Wright said. “I would rather not worry about bringing water and just go to a park that has drinking fountains.”
Wright said she tries to reach five to 10 miles a day and recommends the Riverside Trail to new runners who are trying to improve their stamina. Wright also added a good precaution to take when going on a run alone is to tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be back.
Justin Decker, head coach of cross country and women’s track team, said he tries to mix up the athletes’ routes as much as he can.
Decker said St. George has plenty of options. He said he likes to take the team on one of the many bike and hiking trails the city has at least once a week. He mentioned the Virgin River trail is especially nice because it include, markings of the distances which helps the runners keep track of how far they are running.
For those willing to go a little farther, he recommended Zion National Park and Snow Canyon State Park. Nevertheless, Decker, who is finishing his eighth year as a coach at DSU, said his favorite route is the Webb Hill trail in St. George.
“It’s about a mile from the bottom to top,” Decker said. “It’s just straight up so it’s one of the toughest workouts we do.”
For those looking for a change in scenery the next time they are out for a jog, the Pioneer Park, Riverside, Virgin River and Webb Hill trails are only a few of the several options that St. George has to offer.
Women’s track is in the middle of its second season here at DSU, their next meet will be April 19-20 at the Utah State Mark Faldmo Invite in Logan.