Running is awesome, but just like in anything else, repeating the same routines can get boring and running can become monotonous. When this happens, the danger is that you lose your interest in running altogether, unless you switch things up.
When you feel like the dusty breeze of the concrete jungle has blown away your running motivation, trail running can be just the change you need and your path to finding that lost passion for running again.
While varying terrain will challenge your physical fitness, you’ll also be surrounded by the beauty of nature with no distractions other than your own thoughts (unless you choose to put on your favorite podcast). Trail running can also be a soothing, yet challenging, way to revive your inspiration for running.
Here’s are some of the benefits of trail running for both body and mind.
Benefits Of Trail Running For The Body
Looking at trail running from a physical point of view, the soft surfaces of most trails are better for your joints, as it absorbs some of the impact. If you stick to a moderate running pace, you can also minimize, or even avoid, some of the common running-related injuries that stem from pounding the pavement day after day
Trails also tend to vary greatly from one to another. With tree roots, rocks, leaves, twigs and a variety of other obstacles to go over and around, running on trails isn’t as static as it is on pavement. You’ll be challenged to adapt, forcing yourself to change your gait and the length of your steps to adjust to the variation of the surface.
In that sense, running trails can be a great way to develop balance and build strength in muscle groups you haven’t used before. With inclines, declines, switchbacks, and high altitude, running on trails will require your body to work in a more versatile way.
Benefits of Trail Running For The Mind
It’s a well-known and researched fact that the forest is good for the soul. Stress and tension melt away more readily outdoors than indoors. Studies prove time and again that spending time in the woods is beneficial for your brain and cognitive functions. The pleasant views don’t hurt either.
Also the mindset of trail running can be quite different from road running. Runners often adopt a more relaxed, easy-going approach, using it as a way to balance the ultra-competitive attitude of road running. Trail running instead is seen by most as a more meditative approach to running and exercise, offering the chance to get in tune with nature physically and spiritually.
Trail running can be your chance to let go of numbers and targets and make it more about creating your own zen moments as you leave the stress of the city behind you. Think of it as an opportunity to concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other in an environment that refreshes your mind and soul.
Athlete Tips From Runner Michael Wardian
Here are the benefits of trail running that stand out to runner Michael Wardian the most:
“Trail running enables you to run on a softer surface, which can decrease the risk of overuse injuries and reduce the impact your body needs to absorb – especially as the volume of training increases.”
Change of pace
“The terrain on the trails lends itself to slower and more careful running, which can allow your body to get used to running at a different pace, leading to adaption.”
“I think there is something awesome about getting a bit dirty and muddy. It makes you feel primal and visceral.”
“I think running on the trails makes you a grittier runner. Trail running challenges you to mind your feet, watch you pace, push up hills, descend with skill, and face consequences. But it is also super easy to get into and everyone involved tends to be supportive and encouraging.”