If sticking to tarmac is starting to get boring, maybe its time you took your running off road. Trail running is a hugely popular alternative to road running and can take you through moors, woodland and even mountainsides, allowing you to experience some of the most beautiful parts of the country – and giving you an incredible workout all at once!
In terms of running technique, trail running is very similar to road running. It does, however, take a little more awareness of your terrain and an ability to adapt to different conditions which may pose a risk if not considered. This often includes mud, wet rocks and loose, scree slopes. These can all impact your pace and balance, but shouldn’t pose a threat if care is taken. There is far more variation in terrain than in road running, but most trail runners will tell you that the extra challenge is what turns an ordinary run into an adventure.
Will I need different footwear?
Trail running is best undertaken wearing specifically designed, trail running footwear. A trail running shoe will normally have less padding and a thinner midsole than a road running shoe, as running on a harder surface such as tarmac requires more cushioning to reduce impact-related injuries. Trail running shoes also tend to have a deeper, more aggressive tread on the sole. This provides extra grip in a number of different conditions where ground may be loose or slippery. A range of other features will sometimes be built into a trail running shoe, such as ClimaShield waterproof technology to add extra protection against puddles or long, wet grass.
How can I get started?
You can try trail running anywhere that could be considered “off road” and often, the perfect running spot is closer to home than you may think. Local parks, green belt areas and woodland can all be found in and around even the biggest urban areas, and depending on where you live, you may even be lucky to have local moorland or hills to explore on your runs. If you’re unsure of the best area to try trail running, or the thought of running away from built up areas worries you, try talking to your local running club. Most running clubs will organize regular trail running trips, and be able to share resources and information on how to make the most of your run. Running with a group, or even just a partner can make trail running a lot safer, meaning there’s always someone nearby to help if you become injured or lost, allowing you to enjoy everything nature may throw at you whilst running in the wilderness.
Image sourced from: Pierre Thomas