Trail Running v Road Running

Running is an easy workout which free and accessible to most people.  It’s also a great way to get outside and clear the head while burning some calories.  Most people run on roads, past the same scenery and traffic, pounding pavement while breathing in pollution and exhaust fumes but still getting that all important exercise.   From experience, trail running offers so much more.

Trail Running

Trail running can be an exhilarating experience and most who try it never go back. You are out in the fresh air, away from traffic and get to run an all types of surfaces.  The nature of trail runs means hills too so in exercise terms you get a better all over workout.

The physical and mental benefits of running

Let’s look at some of the pros of trail running:


For some there is nothing more boring than running the same route on the same road regularly.  In the great outdoors you are in a much more scenic and peaceful environment, this can really help take your mind off the daily stress of life.

Our bucket list of trail running locations

trail running


You are running on all different types of surfaces, there can be rock, dirt, mud, loose gravel, grass and what ever else mother nature can throw up.  The nature of these surfaces means you will use different stabilisation muscles within the body more so than roads.

Most trail runs will also include inclines which will also engage different muscles that road running.   The natural obstacles mean you will build better balance and a very strong core to support your legs as they jump and move in sudden different directions.  So all in all trail running will can give you a more effective overall workout.  Obstacle Course running is also a great alternative to road running.

Calories burnt

Running on loose gravel and hills is tougher which means more calories burt

Trail Running

Easier on the body

Yes believer it or not, trail running is easier on the body in general than road pounding.  Trails are more natural, softer surfaces, consisting of the ground, soil, mud and grass, all of which allows for less pounding on your joints and on your body.

How different running surfaces affect the body

Skill concentration

trail running

Running on trails mean you will be doing more hopping, skipping and lateral movement to avoid rocks, roots sicking up out of the ground etc.  Obstacles and different surfaces will require a lot more skill and concentration than running in a straight in on flat surfaces.

Expert advice on treating shin splints


Anyone can get into this great sport, all you need is a way to get to a trail!

However trail running does require slightly different gear than roads, especially when it comes to shoes.  Running on different, loose surfaces means you need proper grip and support.  In face we would not advise hitting trials with normal running shoes especially when it’s wet. Because of a lot of lateral movement and potential sharp objects you also need good support from your shoe.  Here’s one we recommend from Indestructible Shoes.

If you are running in high altitude prepare for the cold but don’t ever dress as you will be much warmer running uphill than you will be downhill.

The Cons

The obvious one is travel, if you live in a city it’s going to involve travelling to a location to run on a trail.  The other downside is the potential to fall and get injured, but hey it’s work the risk right?

Choosing the right running gear

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