There are many benefits to trail running for both the body and mind. Many prefer it to road running finding more benefits to running off-road than pounding the pavements several times a week. Even just throwing in a trail run to mix things up now and again offers several advantages. Here are our favourite trail running benefits:

It’s less ‘boring’

Apologies for using the term boring to all those who are perfectly happy running around the urban streets of their local town but for us, the same old main road routes do get a little tiresome. We are lucky to be surrounded by several trails – Mendips AONB, Sand Bay and Sand Point (which can be seen from our window), and the local woods… they all offer such natural sights that you don’t get running around the town.

Closer to nature

When running on local trails, you will see the lambs sticking close to their mothers during lambing season, cows grazing in the fields, deer crossing the paths in the distance, squirrels and more. The changing landscape as the seasons change, the views from the top of the hill you have climbed… there is so much to appreciate.

It’s a great workout

Trail running can enhance your overall fitness more effectively compared with pounding the pavement. Uphill running boosts leg strength, while navigating uneven terrain strengthens ankles, enhances flexibility, and improves balance.

Adjusting stride length to navigate roots and rocks enhances agility and coordination, while downhill running increases leg speed and toughens muscles against impact. These benefits extend beyond trail running – they can even help to improve speed and endurance on the roads. so, even if you are an avid road runner, trail running should help to improve and enhance it.

It’s easier on the joints

Trail running has less impact on the joints than road running – you are regularly changing surfaces and rarely pounding out the same repetitive motion on a hard surface like concrete/tarmac. We really notice the lack of toenail damage when running on trails compared to roads. You get a much softer landing which is easier on the joints when crossing fields, running on dirt tracks and the less unforgiving surfaces. Now some may counteract this with the trip hazards of trail running – especially when it’s wet or extremely cold.

It improves balance

The first time you go trail running and encounter uneven terrain and obstacles, you might find yourself being rather tentative. Once you become a seasoned trail runner, you will find your core and balance much better equipped to deal with such obstacles. In fact, you will engage muscles in the core that you ordinarily don’t use when running on flat surfaces.

No two runs are the same

Any two trail runs rarely are the same – even when you pick the same route. The views are different depending on cloud coverage,  the changing seasons offer different aspects of nature and there is always something to see. You might find new, undiscovered paths, cross a different field and find a new view or even just mix up your trail runs by visiting different areas.

The sense of achievement

Running ten miles off-road is often more rewarding than running on the road. For a start, you are likely going to get much more of a workout on the trails. You will achieve much greater elevation and you no doubt encounter some great views. It’s so much more of a workout which leads to a greater sense of achievement when you finish your run. There is so much more to it than just running from A to B.

It burns more calories!

Don’t judge us for putting this one in but running ten miles off-road burns more calories than running on the road. more energy is required to navigate the challenging terrain. It is widely regarded that 10% more calories are burned for each degree of incline when compared to running on a flat surface.

Trail running is good brain training

Due to the fact that it requires higher brain cognition, trail running acts as a good workout for the brain. It demands much more focus and attention increasing alertness and forcing you to think.
We could go on and on listing trail running benefits – there are just so many. It’s fair to say that it is more enjoyable and that it offers a much better experience for both mind and body but if you have a differing opinion, we’d be interested to hear it.