Why You Should Hit the Trail
Author Maxim Tourou / Category Architecture / Published: Apr-05-2018
We get it. If you're not going to be racing on a trail, why should you run on one?
But actually, running on a trail will help you prepare better for your next race on road.
And we are here to tell you why!
1. Teaches You to Slow Down
We know how the saying goes, "recovery runs are recovery runs, take them slow." But sometimes what we hear is, "run fast." Which in turn, doesn't help us recover at all. We need time to let our bodies fully recover. If we keep training at a racing pace, we don't allow the body to reach its full potential of recovery.
When we run trails, it encourages us to slow down and be mindful of our pace. Trail running includes many obstacles along the way and in order to stay injury-free, it's important to take this path slower, whereas running on road is straightforward and easier to "zone out" and pick up our speed.
Running an easy-intermediate technical trail--meaning a little curvy, rocky or rooty--forces you to slow down and take your time, putting a lighter training load on your system. (via @Runnersworld).
2. Improves Technique
Running trails requires you to take shorter, quicker strides and land more on the forefoot than the heel. These adjustments become helpful when you are running on any surface. This technique allows for faster acceleration than heel-toe running with longer strides. (via Active)
3. Increase Pace
We are all about techniques and strategies that help us increase our pace and become faster for race day, and that's exactly what running trails will do! Trail running involves many, many hills and is the most efficient form of strength training. Running uphills uses all the muscles you activate when running on flat surfaces, but increases your strength as you put on more resistance.
"Kenyans and Ethipians who dominate the elite levels of the sports are the uiltimate trail runners. They run hills and soft surfaces every day and many count hill training as one of their secrets to success." (via Active.)
4. Mental Break
Trail running is not only a great workout, it can be a great stress reliever as you're putting yourself into a different mindset. You have to pay attention to where you are placing your foot, but you're also allowing your mind to be in tune with the environment around you.
Be a kid again! Not only is it a change of scenery, it's a breath of fresh air! No concerns of cars not paying attention, what side of the road to run on, boring views of the road, constant pavement, etc. Running trails is an adventure. Puddles to jump in, streams to jump over, logs to skip, trees to duck - it's a fun adventure with more likely than not, a gorgeous view along the way. Challenge yourself to a new path and hit up the trails.
*Keep in mind - Trail running pace will be slower than road running pace. Don't let you watch dictate your experience!