At some point in a road runner’s life, they think “What next”. When they have graduated from 5k to 10, from the half marathon to the marathon, the next logical step is hitting the trails.
If you have never done trail running before, check out my intro guide to trail running on what to expect.
Trail running is a great way to spice up your running routine but also be submerged in nature.
Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned runner, there is a trail event for you from smaller distances like 10k. Middle distances like half-marathons, and then the big ones, ultra’s 50km and up.
Here are 11 reasons why you should enter a trail event and experience the thrill of running off-road.
Join the Trail Running Community
- It gives your brain a workout. Trail running requires more concentration and focus than road running, as you have to navigate uneven terrain, rocks, roots, and other obstacles. This challenges your brain and improves your cognitive function¹.
- It improves every element of your fitness. Trail running works your muscles, joints, and cardiovascular system in different ways than road running. You will improve your leg strength, ankle stability, balance, agility, coordination, and speed by running on trails².
- It’s great for mental health. Running in nature has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and boost your mood and self-esteem². Trail running can also help you disconnect from the distractions of everyday life and enjoy the present moment¹.
- You feel like you’re on a mini adventure. Trail running can take you to beautiful places that you might not otherwise see, such as forests, mountains, lakes, and waterfalls. You can explore new trails, discover hidden gems, and experience the thrill of adventure².
- It will improve your balance. Running on uneven surfaces engages your core and activates smaller stabilizing muscles that are often neglected on flat roads. This improves your balance and body awareness and reduces the risk of injury².
- It’s better for your joints. Running on softer surfaces such as dirt, grass, or sand reduces the impact on your joints compared to running on hard pavement. This can prevent overuse injuries such as shin splints, knee pain, and plantar fasciitis¹.
- It’s more fun and challenging. Trail running adds variety and excitement to your running routine. You never know what to expect on the trails, so you have to be ready for anything. You will encounter hills, turns, twists, and changes in scenery that will keep you entertained and challenged¹.
- It’s good for the environment. Trail running has a lower environmental impact than road running, as it does not require any pavement, traffic lights, or cars. Trail running also encourages you to appreciate and respect nature, and to support conservation efforts².
- It’s good for the community. Trail running connects you with other like-minded runners who share your passion for nature and adventure. You can join a trail running club, participate in trail races, or volunteer for trail maintenance projects. Trail running also supports local businesses such as cafes, shops, and hotels that cater to trail runner.
- It’s good for your soul. Trail running can be a spiritual experience that nourishes your soul. You can feel a sense of awe, gratitude, and wonder when you run in nature. You can also meditate, pray, or reflect on your life while you run on the trails².
- It’s fun! Trail running is simply fun! You get to run in beautiful places, challenge yourself, meet new people, and have a blast. What more could you ask for?
So what are you waiting for? Check out Running Calendar Australia to find a trail event today!
(1) 6 Health Benefits of Trail Running – Verywell Fit
(2) Benefits of trail running: 10 reasons why you should go – Red Bull