As spring gets closer so do many goal races. After a tough winter training cycle and a hard race effort, ease back into summer base building with trail running. Here are five good reasons to hit the dirt this spring, summer and fall.
Weather. Warm weather can put a real damper on your desire to go out for a sweaty run. Luckily, trail running provides one huge benefit lots of roads don’t. Shade. When things start to heat up outdoors running early in the morning or at night is ideal. Since that isn’t a possibility for everyone shaded dirt paths can give you some relief from baking sunlight and heat. The trees can also protect you from rain drops and oftentimes a windy day.
Surface. Roads, sidewalks and treadmills are hard. They’re hard on knees, hips, ankles and sometimes, brains. Getting off a man-made surface and onto some good old fashioned dirt for a little trail running will give your joints a break. The softer surface can help protect you from injury while challenging you body to respond to something new.
Strength. The same way dirt softens your landing and gives you beautiful scenery to look at, it helps make you stronger. Balancing on trails as you traverse paths covered in leaves, roots, streams, holes and hills make you work harder. Your core activates to keep you upright, your ankles and calves have to be more flexible and responsive and as your stride shortens to give you more security, you’ll land more on your mid-foot, protecting you from injury.
Fun. Trail running forces you to spend time with nature. You’ll see wildlife and jump over a few squirrels all with a smile on your face. The slower pace gives you time to genuinely enjoy your surroundings without any of the pressure associated with a tough track workout. Pushing your body to learn how to respond to the toughness trails present without worrying about how fast you’re going will be a big bonus when you get back on the road.
Accessories. Trail running invites accessories. For the fuel belt, water pack, trail shoe, energy gel, sunglasses, visor, shorts with pockets runner, trails are the spot for you. With your next water source usually unknown, taking hydration with you is a must. Try that new arm band for your phone and snap a few photos during your workout. Since you’re out there having fun, don’t be afraid to try new things that could help you perform better in the future.
So head on out there and start trail running! Changing your scenery and your pace is good for your body and your brain.