Trail Running – Mostly Good For You

Today is my first day of vacation and I opted to begin with a trail run at Huntsville State Park.

(Me, a trail and nature)

For those who are runners, trail running can give you a bit more bang for your buck than road running alone. Plus, you get to be in a natural setting and do not have to worry about idiot drivers, many of whom have not excelled at the whole evolution thing.

Most road running or sidewalk running doesn’t challenge runners from a coordination, agility and balance perspective. If you are running on a technical trail, which likely contains rocks, roots and is chock full of uneven terrain, you are working muscles and training yourself in a way that road running cannot match.

On a trail run you will likely be negotiating steep slopes, cutting around sharp corners and landing on unstable surfaces. Additionally, your gait is constantly changing and even the surfaces can change quickly. All of this helps help build your overall athleticism.

(Sometimes nature wins)

The more agile, coordinated and balanced you are, the less likely you are to fall. As you can see above, I have work to do. I have been up to Huntsville a half dozen times over the past few months and each time I have fallen exactly once. So yeah, there is that…

Technical trails require focus, so you have be wary of noises and the desire to take a look see. A few weeks ago, it was a woodpecker. I heard the familiar tap, tap, tap and made the cardinal mistake of looking up. And nature stuck a root in my path.

But even with a fall, it is always good to be hanging out with nature. In fact, science tells us that being outside is beneficial mentally. So trail runs are not only helping you strengthen your legs as well as improve your agility and balance, they also have a positive impact mentally.

(Happy to be here – I went that way!)

Balance, agility, coordination and strength are essential for all runners and trail running is a great way to improve each. If you are primarily a road runner, but have access to trails, you might consider working a trail run into your weekly routine.