10 REASONS WHY TRAIL RUNNING BEATS ROAD RUNNING!

“TO ME HEAVEN ON EARTH IS EXPLORING A TRAIL” – DEENA KASTOR

Having spent the last 6 months more often on road than trail running, I can honestly say that if I had to pick between the two, trail running would trump each and every time.

I found very quickly that training for the Great Ocean Road Marathon and Sydney Marathon became very arduous and I had difficulty keeping motivated. Last month I completed the Sydney Marathon and since then I have been able to get back out on the trails and into nature and I’m loving every moment of it.

What makes it so great? Let me tell you!

  1. “GOING TO THE MOUNTAINS IS GOING HOME”

I think John Muir was onto something here! There is something to be said about going out into nature and finding comfort there; especially at the summit of a hill or mountain. Making friends with the birds, the trees, and the flowers along the trails, you’ll find that you lose all concept of time and will feel utterly content wandering through the wilderness.

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  1. IT’S EASIER ON YOUR BODY

Running on trails is what I imagine running on clouds feels like in comparison to running on the road. The terrain is softer and you will notice after a few kilometers it has less impact on the knees.

Trails are also great for strengthening your ankles and with the mixed terrain, jumping over rocks and logs helps to strengthen muscles you didn’t even know you had in your legs and feet!

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  1. TESTS YOUR LIMITS

One thing you’ll find on the trails are hills, but don’t think of them as nasty hills, think of them as mounds of opportunity. If you continue to persist and train, one day those pesky hills will feel like little speed humps and you’ll be running up and over them without even breaking your stride. Now THAT is testing your limits! And why wouldn’t you want to? There is no better feeling than being able to look back and see how far you have come and how much your body has strengthened during your time trail running.

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  1. YOU’LL NEVER GROW BORED

I can assure you that trail running is never boring! Nature is forever changing so even if you have a trail you like to run on frequently, you will never run the same trail twice. Trees grow, trees fall, flowers blossom, wildlife comes and goes and birds sing different songs. You’ll never have to stare down a never ending road as trails are often winding, undulating, and at times technical when faced with fallen trees, large rocks, and my favourite – creek crossings!

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  1. AWAY FROM THE HUSTLE AND BUSTLE

If you’re a city dweller, there truly is no better feeling than breaking away from the skyscrapers and the big smoke and surrounding yourself with natural beauty for a change. It’s soothing, it’s relaxing and fills your lungs with fresh, clean air. There’s no cars honking, no sirens blaring, no stress. You deserve to change your environment during your ‘me’ time.

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  1. PEACEFUL & CALMING

Heading out into the mountains really puts things in perspective. Standing at the summit of a mountain reminds you just how tiny you and your problems are in the grand scheme of things. Your mind becomes quieter as the environment you’re in is quieter and you can focus your mind on the soft sounds of nature.

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  1. FRESH, CLEAN AIR

Going for a run out in the wilderness trumps running road just for the air quality alone. Running in the city you’re inhaling all the fumes and pollution in the air; on the trails that’s no issue. A treadmill could never give you what running in the bush can, it allows us the chance to inhale all the goodness and exhale all the negative in our life.

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  1. SLOW

You might notice that your time out on the trails may not be as fast as your average road running pace; this isn’t something to be disheartened about. You’ll want to slow down and take in your surroundings as you’re coming up hills – besides, what’s the rush? You spend every day rushing, this is your time to take it easy and become more conscious of your surroundings and your breathing. Remember the saying, “go fast enough to get there, but slow enough to see”.

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  1. EXPLORING THE GREAT OUTDOORS

It’s proven that spending time in nature will make you happier; it increases feelings of well-being and lowers depression. Sun exposure increases Vitamin D levels that help to optimise hormones. There’s more sensory stimulation. The list goes on! There’s always new places to explore, so why not give yourself something to look forward to every week? Do some research, take a road trip, there’s so much to see in this great big world! Why not slowly discover more of it one trail at a time?

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  1. FUN!

Call me crazy, but there’s something about running up and down mountains, creek crossings, scrambling up rocks and jumping over logs that I just can’t get enough of! It’s exhilarating, it’s exhausting, it’s testing but above all it’s fun! There’s always a story to tell and you’ll find yourself counting down the hours until you can go again.

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Why do you love trail running? 

Be sure to follow my adventures on my Instagram & Twitter!!

61 Comments Add yours

  1. Miriam says:

    I don’t run the trails, I walk them but all your reasons fit me as well. Nothing beats being out at one with nature. Lovely post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Two types of people I have never understood – trail runners and trail bikers. Nature passes by so swiftly that you miss so much. I hike / backpack every chance I get (sadly, not as much as I used to). The flora views *might* be near as good, but I would miss all the fauna that scurry away from sounds, or are just too small to see at a fleeting glance.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. If I’m heading out on a track I haven’t been on before, I will generally walk most of it the first time to get a feel for it and take it all in. But I’m no Usain Bolt, I’m a fairly average pace runner for that reason – I don’t want to miss a thing 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Miriam says:

        I agree with you. It’s good to savour all that nature has to offer, one step at a time. 🌿

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I totally agree. Running on the trails is almost meditative for me, and I do a lot of good thinking. Sometimes I am oblivious of my usual turn off and go further than intended. Ya…those hills don’t seem as bad on trails versus roads! Love the photos (especially the 4th one—so fresh looking).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happens to me too! And then I always stumble upon something I haven’t seen before! I love it!! OH yep! There’s a lot more to take in around you and it definitely makes it that little bit easier! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for visiting my blog about my family’s adventure here in Costa Rica! I love trail running way more than running on a road or sidewalk! My husband and I especially like running at night with headlamps.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have my first night trail race next month! I’m really excited. I’ve only done a few night runs, so this will be a great experience 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. #1, 7 and 9, although I live by the ocean (for now) so there’s no heavy pollution in spite of living in ‘LA.’ I run in the street often, but also trail running is something that I started earlier this year, and hopefully, I will continue. But I hike (and backpack) often anyway, so it works either way… run in the street and hike in the mountains… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like the perfect balance! If I lived by the ocean I’m sure I’d enjoy afternoon runs on the road looking out over the big blue. I don’t always run, there are days where I just head out for a hike to a new spot or go camping in the wilderness. There’s so much to see. The great experience is to move! Whether it be running or walking 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. stubbsyblog says:

    Totally agree with this, and the best thing about trail and fell running? There are endless variations to explore even a small area which you can’t do on the roads! And each one never fails to bring something new to the route, be it a new challenge or a new amazing view!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Couldn’t agree more! I love stumbling upon hidden gems that I hadn’t known were there – especially if they are just off routes I take quite regularly! 🙂

      Like

  6. Botendaddy says:

    Trail runs are usually easier on the knees, but iceberg run a couple over moraines where there is a lot of uneven rock. Thanks for the like on my site Adventuress.

    Peace be the Botendaddy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most definitely! Coming down very steep hills/mountains can cause some discomfort at times too 🙂

      Like

  7. Botendaddy says:

    Spellchecker turned I’ve into iceberg, that might be just as difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL! Yes, I have yet to try on snow and iceburgs but I can only imagine it would be as difficult 😉

      Like

  8. Great photos. I prefer trail running to road running.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      Like

    1. Thanks for sharing Running to Zen!! 🙂

      Like

  9. livevigorously says:

    ABsolutely trail running offers those benefits and more and it really gets to our primal natures. Abs, because it really works your core too ; ) .
    If you are ever in Southern California, I highly recommend the Catalina Island Marathon – rugged and beautiful. They also do a double which is right up your alley.
    Thanks for jogging by my site and for the like on my Missoula, MT Rattlesnake Rec Hike – a perfect spot for trail running. Seems we are kindred spirits – champions of adventure, travel, and living vigorously.
    Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My abs seem to be hiding, but maybe one day they’ll make an appearance 😉

      That sounds awesome!! Thanks so much for the recommendation.

      I think we are!! I absolutely love connecting with like minded people. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. livevigorously says:

        With your running sched sounds like they will come out of hiding soon. : ) On my personal training blog (which I’ll be reviving soon) livevigorously.wordpress.com, there’s a post about those elusive abs and common myths. Right now you have to scroll down to it. It’s the “Got abs? The Flat Truth About Getting a Washboard Stomach” post. ; )
        I’ll be updating and optimize that site soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ohh!! I’ll check it out!! Thanks 🙂

        Like

  10. You’ve nailed it. These are all the reasons I love to trail run. You won’t find me on a road by choice, ever. I just came back from a chest injury (biking oops) and did my first trail run in a while this morning. It was FANTASTIC. So seeing this post today definitely hit home for me. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad to hear it! I’ve been crazy busy leading up to Christmas, so the few runs I’ve done have had to be close to home and on the road 😦 Have my first trail night race tomorrow and I’m so looking forward to it!! Ready to RUN WILD 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. thistleamy5 says:

    I totally agree. I love trail running. Here in Portland, Oregon we are gifted with a huge park (Forest Park) with miles and miles of trails. So 20 minutes from home I can feel like I am in the wilderness. It is such a wonderful way to escape the city. Thanks for swinging by my blog. Come visit us in Oregon some day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds wonderful!! Will definitely need to come visit Oregon 🙂

      Like

  12. Willow says:

    I loved this, and the photos are so great! I’m new to the wilderness stuff. I’m only walking them. I ran for many years (on the streets, sometimes a bark dust trail). I thought it interesting you said trail running is good for strengthening ankles. Just on walking trails, I find my ankles feel very vulnerable to twists and turns from the rocky terrain. I hope they get stronger before they get sprained, haha! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I still have fairly weak ankles myself, but I have found I am quick to respond if I ever find my ankle wanting to roll and I can quickly correct it before I fall flat on my face! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Willow says:

        Very encouraging! 😄

        Liked by 1 person

  13. This is so true, running on roads gets so monotonous and I feel like I can’t zone out enough to focus on my rhythm because so much is going on. Not to mention I hate the impact on my knees when running on asphalt.
    Being in nature makes it more relaxing but also much more fun! This has made me crave a trip to the mountains now haha! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All so true Kia!! Thanks for stopping by 🙂 Hope you make it to the mountains soon!! haha 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I couldn’t agree more. At the moment we are hiking up mountains and running down – and hell, I feel thing’s I’ve never felt before.

    There is one thing that I have to say that road running has over trail running. Jason Bourne. There is nothing that makes you feel like a Movie Spy more than running through a busy city. My running commute into work (London) would take me past MI5, Parliament and Downing Street, plus the rest of central London (Tottenham Court Road / Oxford Street / Leicester Sq / Trafalgar Sq). Running between people, on and off the curb, Jay running, jumping over rubbish bags whilst pretending I was being chased by Baddies made me feel AWESOME. I’d get to work – mission accomplished.

    This is of course helped by the fact that it’s central London. But for you city dwellers – this can be your silver lining!

    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WOW! When you describe it like that – it does sound exciting! I’m sure if I lived in Sydney’s CBD I would love running across the Harbour Bridge and around the Opera House from time to time! 🙂

      Like

      1. Just got to do what you can to keep you motivated! I needed the imagery of Spy Thrillers to get me going. You can do it in the forest too . . . just with wolves 🙂

        Every little helps!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Will have to give it a try! Thanks 🙂

        Like

  15. Becky says:

    I totally agree! I’ve always preferred trails to the road. I love obstacles to run around or jump over.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Keeps things interesting doesn’t it? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Brooke says:

    Love all the pictures you shared!! Makes me desperate to get on a trail – in warmer weather!!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Helena says:

    Inspiring post … for me who has never run a trail in her life but prefers to walk (albeit fast!). However, reading this I might just have a go! Thanks. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The great thing about trail running is that it is quite common to walk some parts – particularly very sharp steep inclines, stairs etc. Only ever run what you feel comfortable running – you can get some pretty nasty injuries otherwise! I’ve had a few stacks in my time and that’s enough to remind me that it’s OK to slow down and take it easy. Safety first! Just enjoy the journey 🙂

      Like

  18. rhallum says:

    As a competitive trail runner and avid conservationist, I can assure you that the beauty of nature is not lost on you during a run! They are all spectacular, and trail running – if anything – has made me into even more of a passionate environmentalist. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beautiful words! Thank you 🙂

      Like

  19. I agree with all 10 points. While I still do road racing, I find my heart on the trails.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Can definitely agree with you there 🙂

      Like

  20. shicek says:

    Your post echoes my thoughts.. and I heartily agree and endorse all the reasons. I am more of a hiker than runner. I also bike. Being out in the nature sends the mind into a semi meditative state.. and while you walk or run, the fresh air filters out all the negativity in the mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most definitely! 🙂 Have yet to start biking, but may be something I do in the future.

      Like

  21. I’ve never been a competitive runner and I’m 3 times your age but every reason you have given is why i hike trails. i love to be off-road. Maybe i can add some interval training with running? hmmm…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Whether you walk or run, the benefits are similar, if not the same 🙂 It’s a great outlet and a beautiful way to explore!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So true! i’ll be watching for your adventures.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So true I’ll be watching for your adventures.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Great post and beautiful pics! You should bring your running shoes to the UK – we have some awesome hill runs 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely will! My sister is living in London now – great excuse to visit 😉

      Like

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