The running phenomenon has swept the world in recent years. The number of people entering races is expanding far faster than race organisers can manage. Popular races can reach capacity within hours after opening for registration.
More and more runners enjoy the sport simply for fun without the goal of running a race. With all of these individuals, roads and pavements tend to be the preferred environment for running. However, the benefits of running on trails compete easily with road racing. Read on to learn how you can incorporate and enjoy trail running as part of your running routine.
1. Trail Running Is A Great Workout
One of the easiest ways to learn how to enjoy trail running is to remind ourselves that it offers one of the best workouts in the world. Running in and of itself is a fantastic way to keep the body in optimal shape. However, running on trails ups the ante. The uneven terrain of running on trails provides regular challenges throughout the run.
Many people stick to pavements and roads, believing this would be easier and safer. While easier may be true, the simple choice may not always the best.
Many physicians believe that training on pavements is the worst possible choice because it is tougher on joints, especially knees. The softer cushion of running on trails provides more “give”, lessening impacts on the joints. Any runner knows how important it is to keep knees healthy and in shape.
Once you begin running on trails, you will find that the curves, hills and regular surprises can keep you much more alert and in tune with your body. Trails can make you a stronger runner, able to take on obstacle races and road races with greater ease.
2. Running In Trails Improves Pace
Training for a race is not just a series of intervals, fartleks, and long runs to be repeated until race day arrives. Race training is also about strength, endurance, and pace control.
Too many runners start out strong only to find themselves halfway through a run up against “the wall”, a term runners use when they have no more energy stores.
Chasing the elusive negative split, in which the second half of the race is faster than the first, is where the benefits of trail running come in. Trails force a runner to keep an even pace, and even slow down, to avoid getting injured. This sets a precedent for races of all types, making for stronger runners with better times.
3. Trails Stimulate The Mind
Some runners might prefer to train without music, finding headphones to be a distracting nuisance. They might also prefer to remain aware of their surroundings at all times. Running on the road can get boring fast, which is why so many people carry their music with them. Running on trails does just the opposite.
Being closer to nature is stimulating to the mind and soul. Paths change with each season, sometimes with each day, which makes trails all the more inviting. Even more importantly, running on trails removes the threat of vehicles, a common concern of runners.
When you run on a trail, this is the time to concentrate on yourself, to focus on difficult problems, or just let your mind relax.
Using trails for running is a great way to start the day. Waking up is hard to do, but an invigorating run makes getting out the door much easier. Some runners find that running on trails is the ideal choice during rest breaks.
A stimulated mind can return to the office better equipped to take on difficult tasks. It is also easier to focus on the job at hand after an energising run.
4. Trails Make Breathing Easier
Relaxation is not the only benefit to having fewer vehicles in the area. Nature trails, away from the pollution and noise of the roads, are healthier for lungs that need to breathe in fresh air. That fresh air also allows runners to move faster, think more clearly, and feel a general sense of well-being.
It is often said that running isn’t for everyone, but it is possible for anyone. If you do want to properly enjoy trail running, here’s a few tips on how to make the transition work with minimal fuss.
Trail running shows even the most reluctant runners how thrilling half an hour with nature can be. All it takes is a pair of trainers, half an hour, and the will to make a positive change.