Information about a local rail trail

LOCATION: 99 Champ Blvd, Manheim, PA 17545

Click below for driving directions.

Looking for a new place to run? This rail trail has been on my to-do list because it’s near Spooky Nook. My son has been practicing lacrosse there so I was eager to check it out. The Lancaster Junction Rail Trail is one of the many convenient rail trails we have in our area.

A sign lets you know that you are in the correct place! One of the many features of this rail trail are bathrooms located near the parking.

I love rail trails. I cannot get lost, I enjoy running out and back, and I enjoy the softer surface. This trail is about 2.5 miles one way, so I would not suggest doing all of your long run here. Crushed stone surfaces are not ideal for shorter speed intervals, but they are great for easy runs, recovery days, and the occasional tempo run. Most rail trails have unique features that keep them interesting and they are very user friendly. This rail trail even has a bathroom at the parking area.

Not far into your run you are greeted by sweet-smelling pine trees.
Further along, you have a little creek to enjoy.
Do be careful when running on this rail trail – there are two road crossings. One at Spooky Nook Road, the other at Colebrook Road. Both are well marked.
There is no chance of getting lost – this sign makes the end quite clear!

Do you like running on rail trails? Check out my other blog post about local rail trails:


Where to Buy Running Shoes

Specialty Store, Department store or online???

We can argue whether runners need GPS devices and heart monitors, but few would disagree about the necessity of proper running shoes. The question is: Do we visit a local specialty store, or do we shop at a department/big box retailer, or log online?

My definitive answer – SHOP LOCAL! It benefits the consumer AND the community.

There is a lot of talk about why we should shop local, but what are the benefits?

  • Relationships. When I go to my local running store, I’m greeted by name. They have a history of what shoes I’ve purchased and when I bought them. They know what type of shoe I should be wearing and if I pronate, supinate, or if I’m a neutral-footed runner. Could you imagine going into a big box retailer and asking a sales clerk if they’d keep track of this information or could make such recommendations based on your running history and goals?
  • Newbie? If you are new to running, or maybe it is your first visit to a specialty shop, you will be given extra attention. Stores often provide gait analysis and will examine the wear on your current running shoes to determine shoes that would meet your needs.
  • Testing. Many stores also have a treadmill for you take a test run.
  • Resource. Most of the salespeople at local running stores are runners. If you have any question related to running, they can find the answer – from where to run, who to run with and other tips.

Buying running shoes from a local specialty shop also benefits the community! Not only do running stores employ your neighbors, but they also support the running community through donations, races, volunteering and running groups.

A few words about department stores: Often, their selections are based with fashion or comfort in mind, not running. Getting the proper shoe and fit is key for injury prevention. It might be tempting to save a few dollars, but you get what you pay for.

I get most of my running shoes at Flying Feet in York, PA. We are blessed to have this store in our community, not only for the products available, but also for the services and knowledge they provide. Click below for driving directions.



Information about a local rail trail

LOCATION: 2459 River Road, Washington Boro, PA 17582

Click below for driving directions.


I recently ran on the Enola Low Grade Trail and was reminded of how fortunate we are to have such beautiful places to run. The south central Pennsylvania area is filled incredible running opportunities.


I began at the Turkey Hill trailhead in Manor Township and ran to Safe Harbor. The crushed stone trail is a little over 5.2 miles long one-way, Eventually the trail will be a continuous 29 miles. There are plenty of things to see along the way though so it does not get boring.


PROS: Like all rail trails, this has a crushed stone surface and is mostly flat. Even though it is only a tad over 5 miles, I actually enjoy doing long runs here. I usually return to my car for fuel and hydration, so this is convenient. Here is my most recent long run on the Enola: I also appreciate mile markers (every half mile!) and port-a-potties along the trail. In addition to waterfalls, you can spy windmills, turkey vultures, bald eagles, and even a caboose!

Some of the fun sights along the trail.
One of the many waterfalls.
The end of the trail, at least for now.

Mile markers every half mile make it ideal for interval training.

CONS: This portion of the trail lacks shade so it can get quite warm in the summer. There aren’t any water fountains, so be prepared. Oh, and you COULD get hit by a rock slide, but what are the chances?


Goal Setting

My twenty-year-old son, taking a risk.

Do you have running goals? You should, they are important and act as a road map to your success. In his book, “Meb For Mortals”, he believes there are three things that determine your success as a runner: good goals, hard work, and commitment.

Here are some qualities of good goals:

  • It Should Have Personal Meaning – The goal should be something you want to achieve for yourself, not to meet someone else’s expectations. Just because you are a runner it does not mean you have to set a goal that is popular, such as running a marathon. The goal should represent you, it should not be about anyone else. When training gets tough, it will be difficult to persevere if you are not intrinsically motivated.
  • It Should Be Specific – Make sure your goal is clearly defined. For example, stating that you want to run more is not as specific as stating that you want to run five times a week.
  • It Should Be Challenging Yet Realistic – Goals should require you to reach outside of your comfort zone yet be attainable. Not everyone can qualify for Boston or run a sub 6 minute mile. Goals should require work to achieve them, but they should not be out of reach. Although it is important to dream big, we need to be realistic.
  • It Should Be Measurable – When setting a goal, it should answer the question, how much or how many, and also have a deadline. A great example of a measurable time goal is running a sub 30 minute 5k. Deadlines help prevent boredom and will help keep you motivated.

As you progress as a runner, so will your goals. My first marathon goal was to run a sub 4 hour marathon and in 2012, I ran 3:47 in the Marine Corps Marathon. In 2013 I targeted the Boston Qualifying time and ran a 3:15 in a local marathon. This spring I have a challenging goal of running sub 3 at Boston and then running in the Age Group World Championships at the London Marathon 6 days later.

Setting goals and running requires a bit of risk. Sometimes you are asking your body to do something it has never done before and that can be scary. Sometimes you just need to take a leap of faith and jump in with both feet!

“A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal written down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.”

Greg S. Reid

12 Weeks To Boston – All About Weekly Mileage

Last Monday was 12 Weeks to the Boston Marathon.

I am running Boston, and I love this part of the training cycle. Despite the challenging weather, I love seeing my weekly mileage increase.

Your weekly mileage is the number of miles you run in each week and it is one of the most important parts of marathon training. Simply put, more mileage builds your aerobic system (your engine). The more you run, the better you get at it. You become more efficient, and use less energy per step. Just like anything else, the more you practice, the better you get!

The marathon is mainly an aerobic event, so the more your aerobic capacity you have, the better you will perform. The best way to do this is to run at an aerobic pace- which is your easy, relaxed pace. That is why I stress to my athletes, run your easy days easy!

So, for a marathon, how many weekly miles should you run? Anywhere between 25 and 125! Helpful, right? Personally, I peak at just over 100, but it took me years to get to that. I will also add, that is my PEAK mileage, not my average.

Everyone’s journey to the start line is different. When I help runners train, I look at their running history, training background, age, injury history, overall health, goals, and their personal responsibilities in order to determine what would be best for them. We are all individuals and our bodies work differently. I know I respond well to high mileage but some people cannot handle the pounding, nor do they have the time.

When determining your weekly mileage, take an honest look at your current level and time. Try to increase for 1 or 2 weeks, but then remember to have a recovery week. Just like we need easy days, we need easy weeks too!

Do you have questions about weekly mileage? Contact me.