Trail running is an endurance sport that merged the action of running and natural setting of hiking. Traditional running takes place on paved paths, roads, sidewalks, or packed dirt on mild terrain. Trail running is mostly performed on hiking or multi-use trails in more mountainous areas. Longer and more technical ascents and descents are also common of trail running routes. The sport is growing in popularity around the world and there are now many competitions available to trail runners. Trail running competitions usually offer less spots for participants due to trail or park restrictions, and the increasing demand has caused promoters to set a maximum limit of participants. Additionally, trail running is a key component in adventure racing, which is an off-road form of the traditional triathlon.
Compared to road running, trail runners claim less impact due to the varied terrain and running on dirt and grass. The health benefits of both sports are equal in their benefit for reducing stress, weight loss, increasing strength and balance, and reducing the chances of disease or illness.
The reason for the growth in popularity of trail running is due to exercise enthusiasts wanting a change in scenery and being out in nature. Like mountain biking, trail running is done in more remote areas and backcountry running trips are becoming more common. Trail runners will mimic ultralight backpacking, taking only the minimal essentials, and complete a multiday trip into the wilderness via running. This is only suggested for the most experienced trail runners, as a high degree of self-support is required for partaking in such trips.
Trail running shoes vary from road running shoes in that they are required to withstand tougher terrain. Different materials are used to achieve more durability in certain areas that are prone to rock strikes, punctures, or rubs. The shoes are typically stiffer because of the varied terrain, so companies add the stability control to avoid ankle rolling. The soles are also different due to their aggressive tread pattern designed to provide more grip for running on loose, wet, or unstable terrain.
Join your Endurance Unlimited community members for a trail run and discover the joy of running off-road!