15 January 2018
t may be more convenient to run on the road, but there’s so much more to running than putting one foot in front of the other. Here are seven reasons to start trail running.
1. Core strengthening
Most trails are littered with boulders, trees, and other obstacles. Because of these obstacles, the trails are uneven and very unstable. This means your balance has to be on point. Balance is the ability to hold your body up, and this is directly related to your core body strength. The more you trail run, the stronger your core gets.
2. Stronger Legs
As you run across uneven terrain, your legs adjust position and style rapidly to compensate for the ever changing ground. This means your body starts developing stabilizer muscles as well as larger muscle groups. By engaging all these muscle groups, your body starts building according to the activity exerted. As the terrain is constantly changing, your body will develop all round.
You’ll also find trail running is a lot less taxing on joints and ligaments. This is a major bonus, as treadmills and concrete can be the downfall of your running.
3. Hill training that’s not boring
Running up hills can make a runner quit. Not just because they are tough, but rather because the intensity and monotony becomes overwhelming and, frankly, super boring. With trails, hills always vary and will always challenge your body in different ways. This allows you to approach the climb in different ways. The variety of challenges feeds your passion and makes the run that much better.
4. No traffic
A lot of runners take to roads and put a lot of trust in drivers to avoid them. Quite frankly, it’s scary and dangerous. With drivers more focused on cellphones and other distractions, they often don’t see runners and cyclists. Trails offer a safer and a more enjoyable run. No stress, no worries, just serenity. That’s not to say there aren’t cautionary measures needed on trails as well. Read our safety tips for trail runners.
5. Embrace the Quiet
Many road runners have their earphones in and get hyped by that rhythm running through their ears. But have you ever gone off the grid, out of the crowd, into nature, and listened to the sounds of birds, running water, and wind through the trees? It’s more inspirational and calming than most songs I’ve trained with.
6. Don’t Repeat, Repeat
Oh, there’s that crack again, I must be at the 2km mark. How fantastic. As previously stated, monotony is the cause of death for most running careers. Trails give you that ability to have fun again. It's the type of fun you had as a child in the playground, jumping in puddles and climbing jungle gyms, with no care in the world. With logs, rocks, trees, rivers and more, trails offer all you need to have an absolute ball whilst training. If you can even call it something as plain as 'training'.
7. A tougher workout
Trail running is often more taxing than road running. The terrain is constantly shifting and your body exerts more energy. This means your pace is slower and your oxygen levels deplete faster. But that’s nothing in comparison to what the trail has to offer. Just be sure to do some research on your nearest trails, as it is nature, there are a few do’s and don’ts.
Now get off your couch and get onto the trails!