Transitioning From Roads to Trails; The Basics Runners Should Know
When they first start running, lots of people will plan routes locally and run along the pavement. However, trail running is becoming more popular as runners want to explore somewhere new. Getting off the beaten track and avoiding roads whilst running offers several benefits.
Transitioning from road running to trail running involves more than just finding a new path to follow though. It's an entirely different experience that requires a new set of skills and running gear. Below we have put together some useful information that can help you make a smooth transition to running on local trails rather than the road.
The Differences Between Roads and Trails
The first thing to understand when considering trail running is how it differs from road running. While road surfaces are paved and generally even, trails offer a more diverse range of challenges including mud, rocks, roots and uneven terrain.
This requires not only a different kind of physical agility but also specialised equipment. The versatility of trail running can be more demanding but also offers an opportunity to engage different muscle groups, improve balance and experience nature up close.
Why Trail Running is Popular
Trail running has seen a surge in popularity for various reasons, such as;
- Connection with Nature - One of the most rewarding aspects of trail running is the opportunity to connect with nature, something that's usually missing from road running. You can explore local fields and forests, and enjoy the great outdoors.
- Lower Impact - The softer surfaces of trails can be easier on the joints when compared to the hard pavement of roads. If you experience common problems like knee pain or shin splints, trail running could be a great option for you.
- Mental Benefits - Running is known for having both physical and mental benefits. The need to navigate uneven terrain and different obstacles can make trail running keep your mind busy and provide mental exercise.
- Community - The trail running community is known for its supportive and adventurous spirit, adding a social aspect to the activity. If you usually run by yourself, it’s worth connecting with other trail runners to meet some like-minded people.
Selecting the Right Trail Running Shoes
Before you hit the trails, you will need to purchase some new running shoes. Your road running shoes won't provide the support or protection you'll need on trail terrain. When it comes to trail running shoes, consider the following;
- Grip - Look for running shoes with deeper lugs that will provide you with a better grip on rocky or muddy terrain.
- Protection - Reinforced toe caps and durable outsoles are essential for protecting your feet against sharp rocks and other obstacles.
- Stability - Due to the uneven ground you will experience on trails, opt for shoes that offer enhanced ankle support.
- Water Resistance - While it's hard to find entirely waterproof shoes, go for trail running shoes that offer some level of water resistance.
Purchasing Essential Trail Running Accessories
Once you have your new trail running shoes, it’s worth investing in some new accessories too. The right accessories can make your transition to trail running much smoother. Some essentials include the following;
- Hydration Pack - As trails usually don't have water stations, carrying a hydration pack is crucial for longer runs.
- GPS Watch - Trails can be confusing and it’s easy to get lost. A GPS watch can help you keep track of your route and find your way home.
- Trail Running Gaiters - You will encounter debris, dirt, sand and rocks when running trails. Trail gaiters can keep these out of your shoes.
- Headlamp - If you're running in low light conditions, a headlamp can help you safely navigate the unpredictable trail.
Visit a Running Store for Trail Running Essentials
Transitioning from roads to trails can be a refreshing challenge, offering new sights and pushing your physical limits in different ways. However, making the switch requires some thoughtful preparation, especially in terms of running gear. By investing in essential trail running shoes and accessories, you can ensure a safer and more enjoyable experience as you try new paths.
Here at The Run Hub, we stock an assortment of running essentials and we have the perfect solutions for every type of runner. If you’re new to trail running, we highly recommend visiting one of our Dublin running stores. Here you can ask our expert team lots of questions and they can suggest different products that will enhance your running experience. Whether you’re a new runner or an ultra runner, we can help you to enjoy the trails.