Paul Van Hooydonk (or Coach Van) coaches for both SuperTots Sports and Skyhawks Sports in the Jackson area and is also an avid trail-runner.
Could you give an overview of the Skyhawks and SuperTots programs?
SuperTots Sports is a national company that provides sports programming for children two to five-and-a-half years old. Our curriculum is designed to engage kids, develop motor skills, promote fitness and most of all, be fun.
Skyhawks Sports is a nation leader in providing safe, fun, skill-based sports experience for children three to twelve years of age. Skyhawks teaches life skills such as teamwork and sportsmanship through sports.
What are the benefits of running on trails versus running on pavement?
Generally, the trail surface is softer than the road, so it is better on joints. Of course, you do need to be more careful if the trail is technical (roots, rocks, mud, etc.). But even that can be good because it helps develop the secondary, stabilizing muscles that may not get much use on the road. Being on the trail is also good mentally. It allows you to see nature’s beauty and wonder. Also, as I’ve gotten older and slower, trail running for me is just kind of a nice release from paying too much attention to mile splits and pace. Most trails are more difficult than the road so pace becomes irrelevant. Then it just becomes running for the sake of enjoyment and how you feel.
What motivates you to run outside, even in the winter?
It really isn’t that bad once you get out the door. Most days the sun is out and the temperature is not too cold. You just need to dress appropriately. Even if the weather is bad, there is a pretty good chance it will be nicer in a day or two. And treadmills are just boring. Of course, you do need to take into consideration that I’m from Upstate New York.
Do you have a favorite trail in the area for running?
I’ve probably put the most miles in at Butts Park. But the Yockanookany is also a great trail.
How did you get started running?
It is ironic that during my high school and college soccer playing days, the part I struggled with the most was the running. But as I got older, it got harder to find opportunities to play soccer so I turned to running. Trail running started for me when I was looking for a new running challenge.