Exchange bitumen for the bush and add another dimension to your run. It’s amazing what a change of scenery and terrain can do for your fitness.
Ask anyone who is an avid trail runner about their sport and you’ll see their eyes glaze over
as they tell you about the fresh air, spectacular scenery, the thrill of being surrounded by nature and the ever-changing physical challenge of mixed terrain. If the increase in trail running events
is anything to go by, then trail running’s popularity is definitely on the rise.
So what exactly defines trail running? It’s about leaving the bitumen behind and hitting the trails that meander through forests, parklands, valleys, and up and down mountains. It’s not about hacking your way through virgin forest, nor running 100km up and down mountains (not unless you want to), but following hiking or walking tracks and fire trails and maybe short stretches of
bitumen in between trails.
However with event calendars jammed with trail running events akin to the North Face 100, it’s easy to think that the trails are for serious ultra runners only. Just like road running, trail running can be as easy or as difficult as you like. Non-technical trails are easy to navigate, smooth and clutter free, while technical trails are rocky and crisscrossed with roots and may include some
scrambles and big drops.
Australian Adventure Runner, Richard Bowles who has clocked up thousands of kilometres on some of the world’s most exciting trails says that trail running can be anything from your local park trail that is maintained by the local government, right through to rugged trails that cover
mountaintops, and every combination in between.
“If you enjoy the outdoors, meaning trees and wildlife, then it’s as simple as finding somewhere close by where you can do that. If you already run than the transition is easy, in fact you might even think that your running becomes easier at the start as you get lost in nature,” he says.