5 Reasons To Love Off-Road Running

5 Reasons To Love Off-Road Running

Do you love outdoor, off-road running on trails and tracks? Here are 5 reasons to keep on trail running.


We’ve glimpsed some sunny days this week! The Running4Women team have started to get excited at the prospect of Spring… and doing more off-road running. If you’re a trail runner, you won’t need us to tell you about the joys of going off-road. For the rest of you, here are just 5 reasons to lace up your trail shoes and head for the hills.

1) Trail running has been shown to boost more than our physical fitness. In fact, experts are convinced that outdoor, off-road running is great for our mental health, helping us cope with stress, low mood and negative emotions. Is off-road running like nature’s therapy for you?

2) Running on a varied terrain of grass, mud, sand, forest and footpaths is great training, whatever your goal. Run to lose weight? Outdoor running on varied terrain will burn more calories than running on the road or on a treadmill. Want to increase your pace? The undulating terrain of trail runs will encourage you to push on, power up hills, and develop a faster, lighter stride. Is endurance your goal? Trail running will help in a number of ways, boosting your cardiovascular fitness and encouraging you to run for longer (because it’s so lovely out there!)

3) Any kind of running training has been shown to reduce your risk of serious diseases, like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. But it’s now thought that outdoor exercise, done in pleasant surroundings and connecting you with the natural world, can actually put you in the best state of mind for reducing health risks.

4) Trail running keeps your motivation high. Let’s be honest, the idea of running on a treadmill at the gym isn’t always that exciting. And running outside on local roads can feel boring after a while. It’s no surprise: neither option gives your brain and senses a constant stream of new stimulus. Trail running will always give you something new to look at, touch and experience. It will be very difficult to get bored of off-road running or to feel too tired to head out on the trails. Just imagine what you’ll see today!

5) Trail runners tend to stick to their running schedule with more consistency than treadmill or road runners. We’re not sure why – this is purely anecdotal – but it seems that a passion for trail running tramples over all the barriers to exercise. It’s cold, raining, windy or snowing? Icy underfoot? You feel tired, stressed, or you’ve had a really hard day? Trail running seems to solve or side-step all of those problems and more.

And trail running isn’t just for those of you training for a cross-country or obstacle course race. A short off-road run can benefit everyone from new runners to those training for a marathon. Try adding short off-road sessions into your week and work on having a light, quick footfall, on powering up any hills, and on controlling your pace coming down hill.

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