5 Great Reasons to Try Trail Running

Great Reasons to Try Trail Running

Trail running is very different from road running. Whereas road running involves pounding the sidewalks, trail running takes you into the Great Outdoors, with all the benefits that entails. If you are looking for a new and exciting way to level up your running because entering road races and jogging around your neighborhood is no longer doing it for you, here are some great reasons to give trail running a try.

Escape to the Country

Running along sidewalks and pathways is fine if you are training for a road race or can’t stray too far from home, but there’s no denying that concrete urban routes or a treadmill are both really boring, even if you listen to podcasts or watch TV in the gym.

Trail running lets you enjoy all kinds of scenery. Depending on how far you are willing to travel, you can explore trails that wind through thick forests, up mountains, and across other scenic landscapes. Running trails is far more mentally stimulating than hitting the treadmill. The scenery will take your breath away and distract you from the physical exertion of running on uneven terrain.

Not much beats running a trail through the countryside, miles from the nearest town and surrounded by wildlife.

Trail Running is More Challenging5 Great Reasons to Try Trail Running 2

Trail running is nothing like running on a treadmill or concrete paths. Trails are uneven, often crisscrossed by tree roots and littered with rocks. The elevation will also vary, especially if you are running in the mountains.

Running on trails is a lot more challenging, as you need to be more alert for obstacles. Trail running engages many different muscles and is a full-body workout. The payoff is that once you get into trail running, you will notice your fitness and agility improve.

Better Strength and Endurance

One of the reasons many serious runners mix in trails is that trail running helps build leg strength and endurance. Running on mixed terrain over 1,000m of elevation gets you fitter and stronger. Your muscles and cardio system will have to work harder. It’s a great workout for your core and glutes.

It’s Easier on Your Joints

While running on trails is a tougher workout due to the changing terrain and different altitudes, it’s better for your joints. Most trails are softer than concrete and asphalt and absorb the impact of running better. This is better for your knees, hips, and ankles.

If you are injury-prone, which is a common problem with older runners, trail running might be a better choice for you. Instead of doing your weekly long run on concrete, hit the trails instead. Your body will thank you.

Running with Friends

Finally, one of the best things about trail running is that it’s a great group activity. Gather some like-minded friends together and make it a fun day out. You can hit the trails together, enjoy the scenic views, and stop for snacks along the way. Trail running is a lot more relaxed and it’s perfectly acceptable to walk on inclines, which makes conversation easier.

Preparing for a Trail Run

While the basics are fine, it’s worth spending extra on trail shoes that offer better grip for mixed terrain, a hydration pack so you can carry fluids and have room for snacks, and layers in case the weather changes. Look for the right shoes for your preferred workout, so you don’t slide around in mud or get sore feet on rocky ground.

Why not explore some local trails in your area? Or, if you are feeling adventurous, travel to a different region and discover new trails!

Photo by Grégory Costa
Photo by Jack Davis