This Land Is Our Land
September is the month most of us find ourselves returning to our normally scheduled programming, with long weekends and endless sunny days fading into the rearview mirror—replaced with things like packing lunches and navigating school-traffic-snarled commutes once again. Somehow this return to normalcy often awakens an appreciation of nature within us. Now that we find ourselves confined to the office, the lure of outside becomes almost unbearable as the tedium of our indoor routine can begin to rest heavy on our shoulders. And there are reams of research that support this feeling of indoor malaise, with numerous studies pointing out the myriad health benefits—both mental and physical—of spending time in nature.
That’s why we dedicated our entire issue last month to celebrating the great outdoors. The combination of exercise and fresh air can’t be overstated for its therapeutic benefits. Our cover runner, the vivacious and tenacious Mirna Valerio, shares with us how her connection to nature at a young age changed her worldview and, ultimately, led to her becoming one of the most inspirational figures in trail running today.
We want to encourage you to find time to step outside of the office or carpool lane and carve out some space in your day to spend outdoors on a regular basis. In this issue, we highlight some of the country’s best urban trails to tackle, along with a training plan to make running hills an integral part of your running routine (and not just a geographical obstacle to be endured).
Luckily for runners, this month usually heralds cooler temps just in time to start ramping up mileage for those of us training for long-distance races, one of fall’s best offerings for the sport.
While we celebrate the great outdoors as September closes, it’s important that we remember the importance of protecting our incredible national parks system. It is one of our country’s greatest natural resources, and we must ensure that we can all enjoy the benefits that nature has to offer, both now and in the future. Consider donating or volunteering with the National Park Service or other conservation organizations to preserve our lands for future generations.