Why You Should be Running the Trails Instead of the Streets
Running has many mental and physical benefits, like reducing stress, building aerobic fitness, and increasing endurance. Did you know that hitting the trails instead of pounding the pavement can have the same, and even more benefits? Here are a few reasons to give it a try:
1. It’s easier on the body
Running is an impact sport, so running on a soft surface like the trails is gentler on your joints than hard surfaces like concrete and asphalt. If you experience shin splints or knee pain when you run, perhaps the trails can help!
2. It enhances agility and balance
Roots. Rocks. Dips. Turns. Trails have a lot of obstacles, and getting around or over them requires you to hop, skip and jump your way through, which helps improve your dexterity, recovery, and balance. For example, a friend was actively training for the Houston Marathon, running about 10 min miles, and was sore after 1 slower run on trails. Because you're using different muscles; it's good to switch it up.
3. It will make you a better runner
Running up, down and around all of those obstacles builds up different muscles than running on a flat surface, which makes your road runs feel easier.
4. It’s more fun!
Again…roots, rocks, dips and turns! All of those make for a more exciting run, and can distract you from any discomfort or tiredness you might feel. Many trail runners will tell you that the time just flies by…
5. It’s cooler (relatively!)
Most hiking trails are partially or mostly wooded, meaning…SHADE!
6. It’s less crowded!
There have been times when we hike the trails at Memorial Park and don’t see a single person, meanwhile, the 3-mile running loop is full! Plus, you don’t see any cars out on the trail! At Memorial Park, sometimes you can hear the buzz of cars, but it’s easy to pretend it’s a flowing river instead.
Using trails has different safety concerns than the road. We highly recommend that you check out our "Watch Outs - Trail Edition" for key safety tips before you hit the dirt.
Regardless of which terrain you choose, remember to listen to your body and slowly increase your speed and distance to avoid injury.
At HTXoutdoors, we organize multiple trail running events for our members. From beginner interval running to an easy pace to the fast guys. Want to try it out? Fill out our quick survey and we’ll send you a private invitation to join an HTXoutdoors event.
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