Running on Trail

Covid-19 may be leading to the "Quarantine 15" for a lot of us – an extra 15 pounds that sneaked up because of inactivity, greater distance from workout facilities and closer proximity to our refrigerators.

Organized road races, such as Huntsville’s annual Memorial Day tradition, the Cotton Row Run, have been canceled or postponed. But circle this date on your calendar: Sept. 7, 2020. That’s the new date for the Cotton Row Run, which has a 10K “main event,” as well as a 5K and one-mile fun-run.

We’ve reached out to members of the Huntsville Track Club for some advice for runners – and particularly novice runners - who might want to target their training for a competitive debut in the Cotton Row.

Getting Fit

Runner Stretching

Suzanne Taylor is one of the most impactful leaders in the running community and owner of Fleet Feet Sports Huntsville. Her store offers a detailed running plan online.

Among the key points:

  • Start with a big-picture view. Choose a target distance for your virtual race day, and work backwards to build a plan around your goal.
  • If you’re starting to run for the first time, think in terms of time rather than distance. Run/walk intervals are a great place to start, and you’ll want to begin with no more than 20-30 minutes every other day. Take it slow and easy as you build your endurance.
  • Your total weekly mileage will only increase by a few miles each week. A common rule is to increase mileage by no more than 10 percent per week, but it depends on your experience and fitness level.

Regena Moore, another leader in the Huntsville Track Club, says, “Find a partner in crime. This person needs to have the same values, goals and determination as you so that you can hold each other accountable. It's tough to start something new and it's more fun with friends or spouses.”

Getting Fitted

Running Shoes

Comfort is key. Experts say you should be form-fitted from your toes to, well….

Moisture-wicking apparel is recommended, as is a hat or visor. Shorts that accommodate a cell phone are a plus in case of an emergency. Make sure, if you’re going to run at dawn or dusk, to have reflective elements to your attire. And, as sad as the notion seems, those who run at night and in more remote locations might want a bottle of pepper spray.

If you’re subject to chafing, a product such as Body Glide will help. Buy a hand-held water bottle for your run, much-needed as the weather heats up.

Just because a pair of shoes may look cute or cool, it doesn’t mean they’re what you need. Fleet Feet and other stores that specialize in serving runners have scanners that give a thorough examination to your feet – size, arch, heel width, etc. – that lead to a custom fit.

On a semi-related subject, studies show that most women runners are not wearing properly sized sports bras, and stores can help there as well.

Where to Run


Where to “compete”

Running photo

There may be not be an actual finish line and a trophy awaiting, but it doesn’t mean you can’t still compete.

Fleet Feet has initiated a one-mile-a-day challenge, called #keepmovinghsv. More than 600 participants have enrolled. For more information, see their Facebook page.

Missing the beach, and concerned about traveling there now? Well, run to the FloraBama. That’s what some folks are doing, virtually. Just 5K a day, and you could make it there by Sept. 7. Though registration to participate officially has ended, it doesn’t mean you can’t still give it a go.

Global Running Day is June 3, with a virtual “My Big Run.” Go online to sign up! It's $10 to register, and competitors receive a $15 voucher to be used at Fleet Feet.