Do Some Trail Running
I love trail running, even though for some reason I don’t do it as often as I like or should. I have no excuse because there are literally trails no more than 800 meters from my house, where I live currently – and good trails at that. If you’re lucky enough to be near trails or you find yourself on a business or family trip near some trails, I would seriously encourage you to jump on them and get in a run. Why? Because you will work so many different muscle groups, which you probably don’t use often enough if skimp on leg strength training, run on flat pavement primarily or do much of your running on a treadmill.
Ancillary Muscle Groups
By jumping on some trails and having to cut your strides shorter than usual and running on more technical terrain causes you to use more of your ancillary muscles, which are the muscles you don’t normally activate when running on flat even surfaces. By having to run choppy, laterally and more nimbly allows you to work these smaller muscles, which will make you more of a balanced runner.
Core Work without a Crunch
Hate core work as much as most of us? Then hitting the trails is way to get in your core work without even knowing it. By being on uneven terrain you have to use more of your core and stabilization muscles and thus, giving you some much needed work in these areas while you’re taking in the nice scenery.
Soft Terrain is Good
There is much more give when your running on a dirt surface. This is good for your joints. You will have less injuries if you do your running on softer surfaces like trails and fields. While it is more difficult to run in the trails than on the pavement, believe it or not, trail running is easier on your body due to less impact.
Slow Down, Man!
Trail running, due to its technical nature, forces you to slow down your gait and pace. And for all of you who say “I hate having to run slow” then trails are for you. We all need to have easy and recovery runs – it’s what makes us faster runners in the end. By getting on some trails instead of the roads, it just naturally slows you down. But while you maybe running slower in trails, this in no way means you are not getting in a good quality workout.
As you go up and down through the trails you are getting in much needed hill work. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather traverse up a hill surrounded by trees, pine needles on the ground, birds singing overhead and fresh air around me than doing stairs or up a steep inclined street in my neighborhood with dogs barking and cars to navigate through.
Be One with the Earth
There is something to be said about just being out in nature in the trails by yourself. No music playing in your ears, no cars honking or people to get around on the sidewalks – just you, your thoughts and the majesty of nature all around you.
So, if you have a chance, hit some trails – your body and your soul will thank you.