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6 reasons to become a trail runner

If you're looking for a change of scenery, trail running might be the perfect activity for you

It’s time for you to get into trail running. We here at Canadian Running have been telling you to try off-road running for so long, and if you haven’t done so yet, we’re here to tell you once again: add trail sessions to your training schedule. Even if you don’t officially convert to the world of trail running, it’s always fun to get out and enjoy the woods every now and then. Not convinced? Here are six reasons to become a trail runner. 

Nicer weather

The weather is finally consistently nice enough across the country to make you want to go for a nice outdoor workout. Not that trail running isn’t fun when the weather isn’t ideal, but it’s easier to convince yourself to get outside when it’s warm and sunny. Take advantage of the great weather, hit the trails and enjoy the great outdoors. 

RELATED: Trail runners: focus on time instead of distance to manage training volume

New routes and experiences

If you only run on the road, you probably have a few go-to routes that you hit every session. That can get super boring, so why not mix things up with a new adventure on unknown trails? Grab a friend or two, find a trail and explore together. You’ll be so much more engaged than you are on your usual runs, which are likely on auto-pilot as you take the same turns you’ve made so many times before. Those roads will always be there for you, but there are countless trails out there waiting to be explored. 

Photo: Polar

No need for exclusivity

Just because you give trail running a try doesn’t mean you have to devote yourself to it 100 per cent. Sure, there are some runners out there who believe you’re either a road runner, a trail runner or a trackie, but why limit yourself to one discipline? Despite what those people think, you’re allowed to be a trail, road and track runner, so you really have nothing to lose by trying out trail running. 

RELATED: The Shakeout Podcast: Why trail running could be the perfect addition to your summer training

You can focus on effort

As a road or track runner, you’re probably obsessed with pace and time. You feel the need to run laps of the track in a certain time, and you constantly check your watch to see how quickly you’re making your way through your go-to route around town. A great thing about trail running is that it’s all based on feel. Trails are way too hilly to run a consistent pace, so you don’t ever have to go into a workout or race with a pace goal in mind (nor should you, as that will only set you up for disappointment). Instead, focus on your effort and don’t worry so much about the speed.

Improving as a runner

Even if you don’t enter trail races, training on trails will help you become faster on your preferred terrain. The up-down nature of trail running works your muscles a lot more than running on the road or track, so you’ll certainly notice a difference after adding trail workouts to your training schedule.

RELATED: How to trail run on the treadmill

You don’t know til you try

If you’ve never gone trail running before, or if it’s been a while, you should give it a shot. You might love it, after all, and it could become your newest obsession.