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Reasons to Start Trail Running

Forest trails are finally completely free of snow and ice (and hopefully mud), so it's the perfect time to start trail running. If you've never given any consideration to running in the woods, here are some reasons you should.

  • The soil and leaf surface is much softer and more forgiving than pavement or a treadmill belt, so it's easier on knees and other sensitive joints.
  • The trees offer protection from the sun's harmful rays, so your risk for sun exposure and sunburn is reduced.

To see why else you should start trail running,


  • The temperature is usually cooler in the woods, so you'll sweat less, and reduce your risk for overheating. Since it's also easier to run in cooler temps, you'll be able to run longer than you would if the temps were higher.
  • It's quiet in the woods and virtually people-free, so running in a forest can offer you much-needed alone time.
  • Unlike the gym, there's no waiting for a cardio machine in the woods, so you can run whenever you have time, for as long as you want.
  • The rocks, hills, uneven terrain, and fallen tree limbs make a great obstacle course, so not only is running on trails more exciting, it's also more challenging.
  • You can bring your dog (if you have one), and not only will they offer company, but they'll also motivate you to pick up your pace a little since they tend to run faster.


Join The Conversation
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
I run on a trail nearby and in a local park. That was until a 16 yr old girl got sexually assaulted on my running route. Considering where to run from now on...
LittleMzFit LittleMzFit 8 years
Awww.. I miss trail running (not mountainous) in the country. We used to have our own trail around some acreage my parents owned. It's been years! :(
LittleMzFit LittleMzFit 8 years
Awww...I MISS trail running (not mountainous) in the country. We used to have our own trail around some acreage my parents had. :(
earthgoddess earthgoddess 8 years
I love trail running. The fresh air, the cushion on my joints, the challenge of dodging rocks and roots all make it an amazing full-body workout.
Ayu Ayu 8 years
I sometimes trail run on a small hill nearby. I live in a very small city, so I need 15-30 minutes with bike to get to 4 different small hills suitable for running. And since they're so near the city, I'm never completely alone. However this year there was a bear that got lost and wandered in the forest there. He was found and driven away, though.
heatherhas heatherhas 8 years
^ is a great resource. Also, look at your city/county parks and rec site to see what they have at local parks. I agree, I love trail running, and I used to do it a lot at my parents (they live in the blue ridge mountains). However, as a woman, its a really bad idea to go alone. There are a lot of crazies who would hid along the trails and harass hikers. I mean, it wouldn't be all the time, but every few years someone would be killed. And then you also have someone their if you twist your ankle. I was fortunate to always run with my dad!
hottpink hottpink 8 years
I would love to start trail runner. Does anyone know of a website that lists places to trail run in your area?
dunnonuttin dunnonuttin 8 years
I absolutely love trail running! I just wish I could do it more often...
sarahcateh sarahcateh 8 years
haha leslievanhoute... mmeeee tooo! I ran cross country in high school and was always the girl that fell over roots. I'll stick to road running for my own safety.
tsp tsp 8 years
i love trail running. funny, i WAS taking my dog with me, but he started slowing me down as it got warmer out (and harder for him). had to ditch that anchor and go back to running solo!
javsmav javsmav 8 years
I've recently started because I agreed to sub for a person on a relay team at the Running Store I go to. We're doing 100K trail race next month--I'm a little nervous. Trail running is definitely harder than streets--even if you have the beautiful scenery.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I run on a mostly flat, well-maintained trail that goes past the Potomac River. Running in the forest, as much as I'd love to do it, makes me a little paranoid. The alone time is nice, but also starts to feel like the beginning of a slasher flick sometimes.
leslievanhouten leslievanhouten 8 years
I would love to trail run, but I is a spaz. I trip just hiking and walking trails. I'm surprised that I have coordination for the treadmill.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
For me, running on a trail is never boring! That is what I love best about it. There are always animals to look at or something moving that is far more interesting than running at a gym or even running through a neighborhood.
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