So why is trail running such a fast growing sport in this country? There are huge benefits to running as we all know but trail running offers bonus benefits that people are starting to discover.Here are eight of the many reasons we love trail running and ideas on how to get involved.
- The freedom of the trail. You are off the road, you find yourself bounding over rocks and splashing through puddles while making your way through beautiful scenery - it is like being a child again.
- The meditative benefits are huge. Trail running is one of the best ways to clear your head as you become absorbed in navigating the trail and the terrain. It relieves stress and calms the mind.
- Up close with nature. Running on trails allows you to become immersed in nature and get back to basics away from traffic, noise and pollution. The physical and mental health benefits of this are there to be enjoyed.
- Physical fitness. We are probably all aware of the benefits to our physical health from running but with trail running you work your body in lots of other ways. You train your balance, flexibility, coordination and control by running on uneven surfaces, taking on the hills and dealing with the elements.
- Added to this is the fact that it is less repetitive than road running and the surface is often more forgiving so joints are not effected in the same way as when pounding the pavements.
- When you get back to running on smooth, flat roads you will really notice the improvements to your fitness and your old runs will feel so much easier!
- There is definitely a strong feeling of exhilaration and achievement as well as an adrenaline rush from the experience of trail running. Why is this? We reckon it is from the conquering of a trail, of entering the elements and of always being switched on to deal with any challenges the trail might throw at you.
- Boredom is never an issue. Running through constantly varying scenery and dealing with the challenges of the trail means you do not have time to get bored or to dwell on any hardship the run is causing you.
So how do you get started in trail running? We realise not everyone has trails on their doorstep especially if they are city dwellers. But you would be surprised where they can be found without too much travel or effort when you start to look around. None of Ireland’s towns or cities are all that far from the countryside and many have great parks, forests and green areas which can be explored.
Gaelforce runs three 10km trail runs each year forming a trilogy, and while one has already taken place in Kippure, Co Wicklow there are two more to come in 2022. Gaelforce Bray 10km Cliff Run takes place on the 20th August and Gaelforce 10km Howth Summit takes place on the 15th October. Two beautiful, easily accessible locations which still deliver the experience of getting off the beaten track and the freedom of trail running.