Trail running beats road running by a country mile in so many ways. Being in the great outdoors, the shared experiences with friends and of course, the child-like sensation of getting your trail running shoes muddy (and of course, putting the resulting carnage on Instagram).
Unlike the road, each trail run is different. Even if you run the same trail two days in a row, you’re almost guaranteed to have two difference experiences.
There are so many reasons to head off the road and run the trail less traveled but today we’re going to look at 10 of our favorite.
1 – Mountains
Run the right trails and soon you’ll find yourself in the mountains. Exploring this playground sometimes means packing extra kit but they pay off is huge; not only does your fitness and strength improve from mountain running but you’ll also get to see some spectacular scenery.
2 – Exploration
Running on the trails is a mini adventure, the sense of being off the beaten path really wakes up that sense of exploration that’s in all of us.
3 – Nature
For a lot of runners, the real love for trail running comes from being in nature and feeling more connected to the great outdoors.
4 – Weather
For me the biggest appeal of trail running is not knowing just quite what’s going to happen with the weather. Some days the sun is out at the start of a run only for it to change for the worse halfway through. This is especially true when running in the mountains.
5 – Camaraderie
Running alone is a great sport for building friendships, however, you’ll find that sharing adventures and exploring new trails builds a real camaraderie between fellow runners.
6 – Challenge
Unlike road running, trail running requires you to constantly be thinking about your run. During a trail run you’ll always be thinking about where to put your foot, which path to take and (especially on more challenging runs or races) where the next checkpoint on the map is.
7 – Variety
Dirt tracks, mountain paths, woodland trails, and mossy moors – you’re never short of variety when it comes to trail running. If ever you tire of running on one surface type it’s relatively easy to pick a different trail next time with different terrain.
8 – Racing
Just as there are many different types of trail there are also many different types of trail races. Whereas on the road you might run one of the big 4 – 5K, 10K, half or marathon; when it comes to trial racing your options are legion.
9 – Injury Prevention
When you run on the road your foot constantly strikes the tarmac in the same way, over and over again. Trails not only soften the impact of a foot strike but the very nature of uneven terrain means that your joints and tendons actually strengthen when trail running.
10 – FREEDOM
Last but not least is the sense of freedom that trail running brings. When you bring everything on our list together you get the to the very heart of why everyone should start trail running – the freedom of being in nature, of every run being a mini adventure and the challenge of running over some difficult terrain in some difficult weather really builds the sense of wonder and makes you realise how beautiful the freedom of it all is.