Born to Trail Run

Whether you are born to run, or reluctantly persuaded by an expanding waistline, there is one thing that unites the vast majority of runners in the 21st century; the surface beneath their feet.

For some, pounding mile upon mile of tarmac is the reality of running in a modern, urbanised world, for others it is the ultimate cause of athletic inactivity. Whatever way you look at it, love it or loathe it, a lack of diversity is going to make any activity feel painfully tedious. 

So if your running has become jaded or if you just want to try something new, ask yourself if a bit of variety could reinvigorate your attitude to running? Tarmac is convenient, but there is something out there that can offer more variety, complexity and creativity. It can change the way you think about running forever. So why not leave the paths and step into the excitingworld of Trail Running. 

The joy of Trail Running is in its diversity. As opposed to running on a road or path, running on the changeable ground of a trail forces you to vary your gait and become more responsive to your body’s movements. We start to take shorter strides and run on the forefoot as opposed to leading with a striking heel. This helps to develop the secondary muscles within the legs and core, aiding suspension, balance and stability

Make no mistake, for many, road running is important and if you have entered a road based marathon it’s vital for getting the body used to the repetitive impacts. The issue however, is that preparing for a race or even just improving your health takes serious dedication and months of road training can offer little more than an endless conveyor belt of tarmac that pounds the body into hardened submission.

Instead, why not reinvigorate your running by taking a different approach. For example, try running without a destination. This is a strange concept to consider, and despite what it may sound like it does not involve running off into the distance never to be seen again. All it means is that rather than following your normal set course take an unexpected turn, or when you leave the house, head in an opposite direction. You will be amazed how a change to your route will heighten your senses and re-engage you in your running experience.

The other element of running without a destination is the freedom to discover new settings, for example, instead of heading around the park, run through it. Go amongst the trees and into new areas. This change of running surface will aid the development of core strength and once these new areas have been explored they can become part of a longer, richer circuit.

There is another technique that can make your running that much more rewarding despite it being the most counterproductive action imaginable. You must stop. Not to rest, or to turn back, but to immerse yourself in your surroundings. You ran out here for a reason, so every now and again pause at a spot of particular beauty and remember that you’re doing this to live a fuller, healthier, happier life.  

After all running is a skill, and by diversifying your training and keeping an open and adventurous attitude it can develop into something much greater than simply pounding mile upon mile of concrete or treadmill. Instead it becomes a steady progression where you begin to understand that your body will respond to the challenges that you set it, and that it actually works best once fully immersed in the diversity of the world around you.