It seems blasphemous to tell my trail running friends that I love my time on the road and probably worse to tell my road running friends that I cherish my treadmill runs as well.
Maybe I’m just an odd sort of runner, but more and more I feel like I’m not alone. I just want to run and be free to enjoy wherever that run might happen!
Hundreds (yup we’re small, but mighty) are coming forward to stand your ground and declare “I can run anywhere and love it!“
Trail vs Road: Pro’s
Does it have to be trail vs road? Can’t we all just get along?
I see tons of post shouting out why people love trail running, but not so many that portray a love of roads. Is it because there’s a different emotional connection? Let’s dive in and see what we can find….
Why we love trail running?
- Connecting with nature is healing
- New challenges to our running due to varied surfaces which requires additional muscle recruitment
- Softer surfaces to save our joints
- It’s a quiet, calm escape from our daily busy lives
- Cleaner air and more trees could mean easier breathing
- Stronger legs for faster running
- Always a potential for wildlife sightings
A former road runner, turned trail lover Heather had this to say: “Because of trail running, I find myself unable to sit still. I’m constantly daydreaming of hitting the trails, for running out there NEVER feels like a chore. I want to run, all day, every day. I want to get lost deep in my thoughts, deep in the primal thrill of barreling down hills and pushing my limits back up them.”But what about the pro’s of road running?
- It allows me a moment to zone out due to the predictability of what’s under my feet
- I can ponder my next blog post or an issue that’s been swirling in my mind
- Listening to a podcast, I can absorb what’s being said because I don’t need to be full focused on my next foot fall
- I can get in to a rhythm and maintain a set pace
- People watching and random sites like street art and abandoned shoes
- Easier access when traveling to roads right outside any hotel
- Can feel safer because more people are around
- Easier for early morning/night runners due to lighted streets
As stated by both Katie and Theodora – roads are preferred because they have enough trouble not tripping over their own feet!And because I just can’t leave well enough alone….reasons to love the treadmill!!
- Allows you to add hill work when living in a flat place (my Florida savior)
- Provides a safe alternative during icy weather or intense heat
- Easier to focus on improving form and cadence
- A feeling of safety after crazy news stories
- Opportunity to watch embarrassing tv shows (cough Real Housewives)
Is it More About Culture?
Maybe the difference doesn’t have anything to do with the actual benefits of running…maybe it has everything to do with the mindset, culture and people who gravitate to each?
Trail Runner Magazine did a great little piece on this:
- Road runners show up in snazzy matching outfits and Nike track suits. Trail runners have been mistaken for homeless people.
- Road runners try to step around the puddles on the street; trail runners are warned not to rock hop when going through rivers and streams so they don’t break an ankle
- Road races have aid stations every two miles where the volunteers throw Gatorade into your mouth as you run by. Trail runners have a delectable feast at their aid stations with cookies, chips, PB&Js, trail mix and gummy bears.
- Road runners are constantly checking their watches for split times; trail runners check where the sun is in the sky, to see if they need to take out their headlamps.
- Road runners check for flat fast courses; trail runners look at elevation charts and the scenery.
- Road runners are lean and skinny; trail runners can crush a road runner with their calves and power up mountains with their glutes.
- Road marathons might have up to 40,000 runners, start with fireworks and end with bands and balloons; trail races start with, “Ready, Set . . . GO!”
I suppose if that’s the case, I’m a complete whack job for loving all the different sides of running!
Think Out Loud with me…
Do you love running in one place over another?
Do you inherently think one type of runner is better?
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