The sound of the leaves swaying in the wind, birds singing, the perfect temperature and endless amounts of clean oxygen to breathe in. This describes any outdoor person’s paradise. If you’re a trail runner or hiker you understand this feeling that is almost indescribable when you’re outside and moving.
Trail running is an amazing exercise that uses different coordination skills than road running. Running on unstable, soft ground utilizes balance skills and your body needs to work different muscles to stay stable. Trail running has far less impact on bones, knees and hips than road running does. Pace is usually slower as you have to slow down to be more aware of your surroundings so you don’t make a fall but anyone who wants to be running in nature probably isn’t dead set on a regular, fast pace. Your brain is also more active while running on trails because there are many unexpected turns or routes and different elevations rather than just the constant circle at the track or running in the same place on the treadmill for an hour. It’s a mind and body experience. While it is still high impact, the impact on your body is far less and many people who feel like road running isn’t for them should give trail running a try.
Higher quality shoes are a must whether it be trail running shoes with extra traction and support or a minimalist shoe that supports your foot but also lets it move its own way. If you’re running up mountain tracks or very rough patches, a lightweight shoe with a lot of traction and ankle support is a smarter option compared to minimalist shoes. Big busted women should give trail running a try since it’s not hard impact on the delicate tissues compared to running on hard surfaces that can lead to tender breasts and eventually sagging.
I am speaking from experience on this topic. At the moment, I am not able to do any running and am barely able to walk because I ran too long and too fast uphill on pavement and injured my hip/groin/upper thigh tissues and muscle fibers. All the hills I ran up the past couple months were on trails with soft materials and the day that I change it and go on the pavement, my body disagrees and I am then forced to stop running until I heal. Now I know for sure that I am only able to run on soft ground for hills and higher elevations. Any runner knows the mental and physical struggle that comes with not being able to run when wanting to. Just listen to your body. Trail running works for me but maybe it doesn’t work for the reader reading this. I enjoy being outside and in nature and breathing in clean oxygen but some people don’t enjoy it. If you’ve been running on the road for years and your bones and body aren’t in pain, awesome! Continue! But I want to make sure that people know their options and the risks that running on hard surfaces can pose before they damage their tissues and can’t run ever again. Run on!