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4 Ways Trail Running Is Different than Road Running

By Matt Alesevich | 10. Juni 2015


Whether you’re training for a Tough Mudder or just looking to whip yourself into summer shape, trail running is one of the most rewarding hobbies you can pick up this season. 

So why should you step off the treadmill and get off your asphalt? Because trail running makes training more diverse, exciting, challenging and fun. Here are four reasons why.


Trail running not only gives you diverse scenery, but serenity. Out on the road, you’ll have to repeatedly stop for people, cars and other obstacles. On a treadmill, you’re not going anywhere, regardless of what the odometer says. Running the same, mindless route or belt can feel like a numbing chore after a while. Trail running, on the other hand, feels like an adventure, and allows you to become one with nature.


No two trails are created equal, and each trail provides unique terrain challenges. Unlike the road, a trail can take you through rocks and leaves; dirt and sand in just a few miles, literally keeping you on your toes. Through mud and over mountains, you never know what type of terrain you’ll face at a Tough Mudder. It’s best to be prepared for anything.


Changes in terrain, elevation and direction mean less predictability and less use of a constant forward motion. Because of this, you’ll have to be ready to change directions and dodge obstacles in your path while maintaining a steady pace. At times you might need to hop from rock to rock, which engages your core, tests your flexibility and forces you to use lateral movements.


As you trail run, loose leaves, rocks, sticks and sand will try to throw you off balance. Mixing trail runs into your normal routine will help you get used to the earth moving underneath you. Additionally, running hills presents its challenges, and on trails and Tough Mudder courses alike, you’ll need to navigate loose terrain going uphill and down.

If you’re ready to put your trail running or adventure running to the ultimate test, try signing up for a Tough Mudder near you. If you’re looking to work your way up to your first adventure run, try following these obstacle-spacific training tips.