Continuing last week’s post from my husband about trail running:
Many people often ask me if I enjoy one more than the other when I compare road and trail running and racing. I really have enjoyed both road and trails based on their convenience and benefits. Here are some of my thoughts on how these compare and contrast:
Trail running is mostly on dirt and occasionally on grass. This offers a soft and low impact option compared to asphalt or concrete paved road running. Running on softer trail surfaces reduce the possibilities of new running injuries related to shin splints, IT band, and joint pains. It also helps people who are trying to recover from their past injuries. Trail running gives you the opportunity to be close to nature and away from the hectic life, air and noise pollution in the city. It also allows for a decompression/stress free time due to its inherent laid back nature. Having a partner, a friend, or even a dog may be a great way to enjoy the slow nature of these runs.
On the contrary if you are looking for races to PR, trails won’t be an ideal choice. Soft trail surfaces which helps in injury prevention and faster post-race recovery also provides lesser bounce for you to move faster. Also if you the person who enjoys lot of race support, music, cheering, trails will not provide that adrenaline rush or stimulation. Other drawbacks I can think of is the possibility of tripping or ankle injury due to sudden change in directions and stepping one has to do to avoid trail hazards like rocks, tree roots, or wet slippery portions. It is also not uncommon to encounter some wildlife if running in State parks or other wilderness trails.
Finally if I have to pick one over the other, I would probably go with trail running. Running in itself is very meditative phenomenon for me. Running on trails while being one with nature is even more therapeutic. Happy running to you – be it road or trails.