Trail running is growing in popularity and the number of trail runners in the US doubled in the 10 years from 2006 to 2016. But why is it so popular? We look at 5 reasons why you should try trail running.
1. It is better for your joints than running on hard surfaces
Pounding the pavements for mile after mile eventually puts a lot of stress and strain on our joints and can lead to health complications and injuries. By mixing it up and running on different terrains like mud and grass, you will be reducing your risk of injury and will also strengthen the joints and muscles in your legs so that you can run further!
2. It will take you to more interesting places
Let's face it, road races are great but they're best for achieving a PB. If you really want to explore and experience what the world has to offer, hitting the trails is the way to go. There are many exciting and interesting trail races in the UK such as Race To The Stones and Race To The King. Both of these races are ultra-marathon distance and take racers through some of the most stunning countryside the country has to offer, including ancient monuments and areas steeped in history.
3. It has more purpose
Many people go running just to burn a few surplus calories or to feel less guilty about the burgers and beers. However, trail running will give you more of a sense of purpose than just running round the block. You will be on an adventure and will have the chance to experience nature in a way you perhaps have never experienced it before. Because of this, time will pass more quickly and you are far more likely to enjoy yourself.
4. It will also workout your brain
Running on paved roads and sidewalks allows your brain to shut off. For some people this is the whole point, allowing them to switch off from the world and just put one foot in front of the other while listening to music. However, if you're looking for something a little more stimulating then trail running is for you. The entire time you're running you will need to be focused and looking out for hazards like stones and rocks. One false move could lead to a twisted ankle so you have to stay alert!
5. It is good for your mental health
If you are going through a particularly stressful time or struggle with mental health issues, trail running could really help. Spending over 8 hours a day sitting at a desk under fluorescent lights is bad enough, but then heading to the gym to run on a treadmill and stare at a wall will just make things worse.
By heading outdoors and running in nature, you will be able to take in some amazing views and clear your head. It will also take your mind off whatever is bothering you because of the fact you have to concentrate so much. Trail running will give you a sense of freedom and purpose that regular running just can't beat.