When you think of trail running do you have visions of extreme, fanatical, super fit mountain goats going where no sane person should? Then maybe it’s time we all lost our sanity, as the benefits of trail running are huge. Throw away all your preconceptions. Trail running is for anyone who runs or who would like to run.

Trail running in Ireland is not a new phenomenon – IMRA and NIMRA are great ambassadors for the sport across the island of Ireland. Let us take away some of the mystery and highlight some of the benefits for you.

The Gear
The first benefit is that trail running is relatively cheap and you don't need any fancy equipment. If you have a pair of runners and a desire to explore then you are good to go! If you wish to invest then Trail Runners would be the key piece of kit. There are many varieties of trail runner on the market so do your research and get the right shoe for your needs but any pair of runners will generally do the job and get you started.

The Adventure
If you love to explore beautiful places or find hidden gems in this spectacular country of ours, then get out on the trails. The Irish Trails and Coillte trails are a brilliant way to start and all of a sudden you will start looking at every trail you pass and making plans to come back and see where it takes you. Yes, you will get wet and muddy and maybe even lost but you will have an absolute blast. Trails can be flat or hilly, just find the one for you. You don't have to run the whole thing...walking is also allowed - we are not all superhuman after all!

As more and more of us now live in urban areas it is so refreshing to escape the traffic, the concrete and the noise of the urban jungle and reconnect with nature.

The Benefits To Your Body
Trail running is 3 dimensional. You will never be running on the same surface, so no fear of suffering from repetitive strain on your limbs. It incorporates uphill and downhill running. The changing dimension of the surfaces means all of your muscles get a workout.

If you still love to road run, then bringing trail into your training also has benefits as the changing landscapes help to strengthen your legs and core as well as your flexibility, balance and reaction time. Your joints will also thank you as the impact is greatly reduced and you may even find you can go longer than if you were running on the road!

The Benefits For Your Mind
The technical aspect of trail running means you are alert to your surroundings and the terrain. This helps you put aside the stresses of the day and focus entirely on yourself and the moment.

As with all running, it activates serotonin so you are definitely going to feel good about yourself afterwards. Trail running can give you that greater sense of achievement as you will feel you have taken on a greater challenge than if you did a road run.

It’s Great Fun
Trail running activates the child in us. It’s the freedom, the fun of running down a hill. It is not elitist or for the select few….this is for you. You can go as far, as slow, as high as you want. You decide! So get your trail runners on and find these hidden treasures for yourself. You will never look back.

"I've got 99 problems, but I'm going running to ignore them all for an hour"