The trails are beautiful, serene and a true pleasure to be on. Also, trail runner’s Instagram accounts are certainly better. But the people of the road have a few things that trail runners just don’t. If we’re talking practically, the roads are where it’s at. There are readily accessible washrooms, roads are literally everywhere, and where there’s a road, there’s almost always access to Google maps.
Easier to access
Unless you’re living in beautiful and rural British Columbia (in which case, almost none of the list applies to you), the roads are much easier to access than the trails. Getting to some of the best running spots can be tricky if you’re coming from the city, whereas road running is almost always at your doorstep.
Bear and animal safety is a very real concern when you’re on the trails. It’s important to educate yourself on how to safely manage animals on the trail and how to keep yourself safe. On the roads, you’ve got to manage a whole different kettle of fish which includes but is not limited to: cyclists, cars, scooters, talking-and-texters and small-unaware children. But thankfully, road runners are typically more accustomed to that kind of chaos.
Less ankle rolling
On the trail there’s a plethora of roots, rocks and varying terrain. While this is the stuff that trail runners live for, the uninitiated road runner can struggle with the terrain change. The roads certainly have things to dodge, but you’re less likely to roll an ankle running down pavement than you are ripping along the Bruce Trail.
Harder to get lost
Google maps is less effective when you’re in the wilderness. If you’re someone who gets lost easily, you’ve got to either know the trail you’re embarking on or have a friend who knows the trail well. Because once you’re out there, you can’t just pull up maps on your phone and watch the little blue dot move to help you get back on track.
You don’t have to pack enough food to feed a family
Trail runners are usually gone for a while, so bringing a lot of food is very important. Road runners consider a gel and a bottle a lot to consume during a run, but on the trails, they bring full meals. They need so much fuel that they require an entire crew when they race. Compared to trail runners, road runners are low-maintenance.
Two words: washroom access. The road runner almost always has washroom access, whereas the trail runner has to get a little more comfortable going au naturel. If you’re a person who prefers the comfort of a Tim Hortons washroom, a 50K trail run might not be for you.
We run faster
Something that is mind-boggling to the road runner is that trail runners don’t care about pace. Like, at all. Road runners live for speed, and their ability to click off 3:30K’s is certainly hindered on the trail.