Trail running is a running category which consist of a running and hiking over different trails. Unlike the track running or road running, it takes place on hiking trails. Often it is on mountain terrains, with larger ascents and descents. It is similar to the cross country running, but the main difference is a sports discipline raced mostly on shorter distances (mostly under 12 kilometers) while trail running is running on longer routes.
Trail running has become increasingly popular in the last decade. In the USA, estimated number of the trail runners grew from the 4.5 million in 2006 to more than 6 million in 2012. The number of trail runners increases in the other parts of the world as well. Main reasons people have for trail running are that it is less stressful for the knees and other joints than the road running. Another great reason for the trial running is the environment people run through since it happens in a non-urban locations.
If you plan go try trail running, there are few things you should consider. First of all, it requires better shape than ordinary running or some other form of fitness since you have to run through the nature and up and down the hills. So, this is generally not a sport for beginners. Also, it would be a good idea to get specialized equipment, especially shoes. Shoes for a trail running have more rigid soles than ordinary shoes. Also, if you are planning to stay for a several days, you should take some other equipment like water bottles, insect repellent, sunglasses and other things. It is essential, especially if you happen be in the wilderness by yourself. If all this didn’t turn you away from the trail running, here are some good news for you. Trail running has many benefits from which you may profit as well.
First of all, trail running will create fewer injuries since you will run on softer surfaces other than concrete or asphalt. That will spare your knees and other joints and help you create stronger muscles of the lower leg. While running on uneven surfaces, you will have to take shorter and quicker steps and land on the forefoot instead of the heel. This is a good technique for running on any surfaces since it needs less energy and allows a faster acceleration. This, along with the fact that trail running is running over the hills, where you need to run uphill, which will help you increase strength, and make you faster in general.
If that is not enough for you, there are other benefits and they are directly connected with the fact that you are going to spend the time in the nature. Running is good in general, but benefits of running on the crowded city streets are often annulled with the amount of the carbon dioxide you inhale with the exhaust. On a trail running, you won’t have that problem since roads are in most cases not the part of the scenery.
And finally, trail running is a great way to relax mentally. As a part of the nature, we may only profit from connecting with it. Running in the nature will reduce stress and make you happier and more relaxed. It will have a positive effect on your overall health as well. So, don’t hesitate. Take your running equipment, find some lovely and untouched wood and start running.