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What is trail running and why one should try it?

What is trail running and why one should try it?

Suraj Iyer

Published: 10 July 2020 1:55 PM GMT

Running is one of the most common forms of exercise for keeping oneself fit. Primarily done outdoors and on treadmills in case of rain or the summer heat, many are unaware of another type of running which provides a completely different challenge named trail running.

Trail running is very slow, concentrated and technical due to the number of obstacles one might face while running on a trail. Trails are generally paths used by hikers and also involve mountainous terrain which provides a refreshing change of scenery when compared to road running. Ascents and descents are common which offer a challenge to total body stability and leg strength when running on an incline or decline.

Trail Running Trail Running (Source: Medvedrunwalk)

One of the major benefits is that trail running minimizes the overuse of muscles and engages the core which can give a much better running workout compared to road running. Running in nature also helps one regain their natural primal instincts which lead to a greater endorphin rush at the end of a trail run.

One can get started into trail running by purchasing the shoes that are specially made for running trails. Trails offer a unique terrain and need different footwear than traditional running shoes that can withstand wear and tear that occurs while trail running. It is necessary to protect the feet from sharp rocks and other inconveniences that might happen when first starting out with trail running. It also helps one avoid injury which is a necessary precaution everyone should take when taking up any form of exercise. A water bottle can also come in handy to avoid dehydration.

When new to trail running, one must keep tips in handy to have a better experience. Finding a trail and familiarizing oneself with the area is of top priority. While running on trails, complete awareness of the surroundings, especially on the upcoming trail, is a must to avoid any environmental harm. Trail running is different from walking and it is a well-known fact that conserving energy while moving upwards can be achieved by walking as running isn’t necessary on an ascent.

Trail Running Trail Running (Source: Outdoorsradar)

Though trail running in India is still in its infancy, it has been introduced to runners who are part of the world of ultra marathons, long-distance marathons that exceed over 50km that truly test the limits of human endurance. One of the very few trail marathons in India is the SRT Ultra which stands for Sinhagad Rajgad Torna, the names of the places that participants will run through. It takes the runners through a beautiful view of the Sahyadri mountain ranges for 53 kilometres that will see an ascent of 2320m and a descent of 2240m. It lasts for a total of 12 hours with support provided to runners like glucose, fruits, snack and hydration at certain points of the run.

Although that does not go to say that trail running in India is only restricted to ultra-marathons and other marathon events. Various local communities all over the country have slowly discovered this new challenge which has bought about an increase in trail running and awareness across the country. Social media groups and other communication ways have bought about a close-knit group of trail runners who are willing to spread the knowledge and involve more people in this relatively unknown sibling to road running.

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