Trail running is a great alternative to running on other surfaces. It offers you great scenery, solitude and a reasonable running surface. You should know that trail running isn’t for the light at heart. While it can be exciting, trail running can pose problems for those who aren’t prepared, and their are both pros and cons that you should consider before making the trail your venue of choice for your running routine.
Pros of Trail Running
1. Soft Landing: Trails are usually composites of different materials: rock, sand, dirt and wood chips. Also, you may be on an old worn out trail that is little more than dirt with some grass. The terrain will give more easily than running on concrete or asphalt.
2. Change of Scenery: Trails offer exciting views, be they of nature or the perfect sunrise, you’ll always have something inspiring to look at.
3. Solitude: One of the most irritating things about running is when you want to be alone, it seems like the whole world is watching you. When you’re on a trail, you don’t have to worry about other people, runners, or cars. You are in your own little world of solitude.
4. Challenge: Trails offer you a unique set of challenges. You’ll be facing uneven terrain which will challenge your muscles, you’ll be in nature in the truest sense, and you’ll have to learn a little bit of self motivation to push beyond your limits.
Cons of Trail Running:
1. Obstacles and Debris: Trails are often littered with holes from rain and water run off, fallen branches, rocks and other naturally occurring debris. You’ll need to keep your eyes open and be on the lookout, least you take a nasty fall.
2. Darkness: Your running time will be cut shorter on a trail because the tree cover will block out a good bit of daylight. You can run on trails at night, but you’ll want to be careful to bring some type of light source with you, and to remember that batteries can and do run out.
3. Solitude: One of the best things about trail running is also one of the worst for safety. It would be a good idea to take someone with you or inform others of your running habits. Trails offer a remarkable experience for solitude, but there may not be anyone around if you were to get into trouble.
4. Special Gear: You’ll want to buy shoes specifically designed for trail running. That means you’ll be spending a good bit more on quality running shoes designed specifically for giving you good tread when on the trail. You’ll also need to think more in advance about a water source. You may want to invest in a large transferable source of water for this task. You won’t find many places along the trail to refill, so you’ll need to be cautious to bring enough water to keep you hydrated.
It’s a great experience, and some swear by trail running. It’ll get you out of your old routine and into a place that is special just by being, but it can be dangerous. So, be sure to weight the pros and cons of hitting the trail long before you head out the door.
Trail running is a perfect way to spend a lazy Saturday, but you’ll want to take precautions and realize that it takes more planning and comes with more risks than running in other venues.