The fact that trail running is more technical than road running is one of the main differences between the two. Changing terrain and surfaces and hills and brooks encountered on your paths provide a more varied experience than roads, which are primarily steady and static.
Because of this fundamental difference, switching from one type of running to the other should involve a slow and steady transition. Wondering how else to make the switch seamless? Here are our tips:
Take It Easy on the Mileage
Expect not to be able to match your typical road miles on trails—at least not right away. Running over loose terrain means subjecting yourself to dirt, sand, and gravel as well as all the twists and turns you’ll encounter on the route. This will necessitate more effort and energy consumption.
Instead of focusing on mileage, set aside a specific amount of time to exercise. When you need to, take a walk and keep an eye on your heart rate to ensure you don’t get into the red too soon. To avoid overdoing it and injuring yourself, gradually increase your time on the trail over several weeks.
Mix It Up
The good news is that you don’t have to choose between the two. Alternating trail and road jogging in your program might be a great way to shake up your routine. Running trails can help you run faster on the road while also giving your joints a break due to the lower impact on the softer terrain.
When you return to the road, trail running will require you to use somewhat different muscle groups than you are accustomed to, allowing you to improve your weak spots and overall speed.
Change Your Running Shoes
While you may be able to get away with wearing your regular running shoes at first, investing in a pair of trail running shoes can make you more comfortable and help you avoid injury.
Trail shoes will give you additional stability to protect your ankles, legs, and knees, as well as more traction on a range of surfaces you’ll likely encounter.
Lay an Emphasis on Different Running Data
It’s essential to stay away from the same running data you’re used to tracking on the road when you’re out on the trail.
It’s crucial to avoid eyeballing several data throughout your trail running if your goal is to attain a calm state of awareness. Instead, following your workout, concentrate on the facts you’ve gathered. Seeing all of the hard work you’ve put in and how far you’ve come in your fitness can be a great way to lift your spirits.
If you’re a data nerd who needs some metrics to keep track of while you’re out on the trail, here are two that will help you stay on track:
1 – Running Power
The changing terrain and height on the trails might make using pace per mile to track your effort challenging. However, power monitoring and a more precise approach to keep a consistent effort and quantify your overall workload can be more effective.
It monitors the external load of your runs and reacts quickly to changes. Because heart rate reacts more slowly than running power, the two complement each other nicely when pacing on the trail.
2 – Heart Rate
Keeping an eye on your heart rate will prevent you from pushing yourself too far. Variable terrain and uneven surfaces require your body to perform in ways that are very different from what you would find on a hard road.
As a result, your heart rate will typically be more significant, and your pace will be slower than if you were running on the pavement. Keep in mind that your body will adjust over time, and your heart rate will gradually drop.
Get a Running Analysis Here!
Whatever you choose between the two, the one thing you will enjoy about running events is the sense of community and support; road runners and trail runners alike. Everyone is supportive of one another, stops and helps if you fall, cheers you on and high fives you at the finish line, and there is a genuine sense of camaraderie!
Get the ideal running technique with our running form analysis here at Invigor Health! Book online to get started with your assessment!