The Benefits of Trail Running : Thinking about trail running but not sure if it’s the right fit for you? You’re not alone. While there are risks involved when not properly equipped for running trails, the benefits of trail running are endless.
1. The Scenery
Why look at cars, trucks, buses, street signs, and pavement when the beauty of nature is calling your name? Enjoying trees, grass, mountains, meadows, streams, birds and other wildlife will make long runs go by in the blink of an eye when you choose trail running outdoors. You might get to watch a deer, rabbit or squirrel cross your path, listen to waterfalls or birds chirping, or witness fish jumping through streams.
Why run on busy streets bustling with pedestrians and loud traffic when you can enjoy the peace and quiet and relaxing sounds of nature? When you just need time to clear your head, de-stress, and get out of the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life, trail running has got you covered.
3. Fresh Air
Don’t you hate going for runs when you’re breathing in smog, fumes from traffic, or unpleasant aromas of restaurants, construction sites, or even portable toilets? It’s bad enough having to breathe in these smells when you’re getting to and from work, but working out is no time to inhale pollution. Get outside for some fresh air by choosing trail running over urban-setting workouts.
4. Injury Prevention
What better way to reduce stress on your bones and joints than by running on the soft surfaces of nature trails instead of hard concrete? Runner’s World says trail running provides some give and reduces the force of impact from rock-hard pavement which is easier on your knees, ankles, shins, and even hips. This means a lower risk for sports-related injuries due to repetitive movements, such as tendonitis.
5. Improved Mood
Feeling depressed or in an exercise rut? Trail running can keep you from feeling blue and reduce your risk for depression, according to research performed at Stanford University. Researchers say that walking in nature for 90 minutes vs. walking in high-traffic urban settings decreases brain activity associated with feeling down in the dumps.
6. Reduced Stress
It’s no surprise that exercise reduces stress and running in relaxing environments, such as scenic nature trails, is a key component of stress-free living. You don’t have to worry about loud noises, crowds, traffic, and other stressors that lower your quality of life and can become problematic for mental health. A lower stress level even means getting a better night’s sleep!
7. Better Muscle Definition
Looking to achieve a tight, toned physique every fitness enthusiast dreams of? Trail running is a good place to start. Mensfitness.com says trail running can really transform your body, due in part to uphill and downhill climbs. Trail running tightens and tones your glutes, quads, calves, core, and overall physique.
8. Improved Training Times
When training for a race, trail running can whip you into shape better than flat surface running. That’s because you’ll likely have to fight uneven terrain and steep uphill climbs you don’t always face when running on pavement. Once you’re used to running on grass or in higher elevations, pavement running will seem like a breeze.
9. Weather Protection
Chances are when you’re trail running, you’ll have plenty of access to shade or protection from wind and rain compared to training in urban areas. This comes in handy during the heat of summer or other times when you need a little extra protection from extreme weather. But, be careful on trails that are muddy from rain, though, as these surfaces can get slippery.
10. Easy Route Planning
Tired of strategically planning training routes that meet distance running requirements, while winding your way through traffic stops? When you’re trail running, you don’t have to worry about creating the perfect urban route to achieve the distance you desire. Simply choose a trail that’s long enough to meet your needs, relax and enjoy your run!
Take proper precautions when heading out in nature, so you have the best chance of staying safe. If you’ll be running through secluded trails alone, take a running partner, pepper spray, or both for extra protection. You never know who else will be on the trail, or if you’ll encounter a not-so-friendly animal along the way. Take your cell phone in case you encounter an emergency or get injured during your workout. A cell phone carrier is a convenient hands-free way to keep your phone safe. Trail running belts also work well for carrying valuables.
Gear You’ll Need
While trail running provides you with a variety of physical and mental health benefits, it’s important to be prepared when setting out on long training sessions. Are you considering trail running at night? Visibility gear is a must, so you’re seen by others and are able to see all the bumps, bends, twists, turns, and elevation changes trail running has to offer.
Don’t forget to plan for proper hydration. Consider a hydration pack. You can wear it on your back so you can trail run hands-free, keep your water cold, and have easy access to fluids when your body needs it the most. This helps maximize workouts and muscle function and makes longer runs more comfortable. Worried about safety while out on the trails? Hydration packs can even store first aid kits, cell phones, and your mace!
Need a quick boost of energy during trail runs lasting longer than an hour? Consider packing a flask or flexible bottle in your hydration pack to store sports drinks. Try a waist pack for carrying snacks or gels to fuel your body, and maximize performance and muscle recovery.
Having the right gear with you during long trail runs helps you take proper precautions and reduce the risk of being in dangerous situations. That way you can thoroughly enjoy all the benefits trail running has to offer.
Why You Should Be Trail Running
Trail Running Tips: 5 Things to Know
Trail Running: For Beginners
Road Trip: Trail Running
The Benefits of Trail Running
is trail running harder than road, trail running weight loss, trail running tips, trail running beginner, does trail running build muscle, trail running vs road running calories burned, trail running shoes, trail running body,