At a time when social distancing is imperative to protect ourselves (and to protect others), change the asphalt, full of runners, for the solitude of the mountain seems like a very good idea. With the arrival of autumn, in addition, the cooler temperatures accompany you to leave the city behind and enjoy the mountains and the outdoors.
If you still have doubts about give a chance to run through the bush, we talk about the benefits you can get, and we give you the keys to start with it.
The benefits of trail running
- More nature and better air quality: If we run in the city, the most fortunate of us will be able to do it through parks or gardens where we can find a little vegetation. In trail running we go out for a run in the mountains, where the air is purer due mainly to the fact that we do not find the pollution from cars that we do suffer in the city, and we surround ourselves with nature from the first stride.
- Greater work of the lower body: the uneven terrain, which has numerous ups and downs, makes the legs and buttocks receive extra work when we run up the mountain.
- And good upper body work: When it comes to running, not everything is the legs. Our upper body, especially the core muscles, is activated to maintain balance on the descents and to help us maintain good posture throughout the journey.
- Proprioception and coordination work: Once again, the irregularities of the terrain are responsible for gradually improving our proprioception and awareness of our body, especially on descents. If you usually run on asphalt, this is something that will surprise you from the first outing.
- Time for you thanks to greater concentration: Many people do not manage to “clear their minds” when they go out for a run, but they fill their minds with thoughts such as what they have to do for the rest of the day, how well or bad a meeting at work has gone, etc. Despite dedicating that time to ourselves, sometimes we are not able to completely disconnect by running through the city. In trail running, only by changing our usual scenery for the mountain, we can disconnect more easily. In addition, the concentration that requires us to run on uneven terrain will make it more difficult to think about other things outside the sport.
Five keys to go from asphalt to the mountains
- Strengthen your lower body: As we said, the lower body is going to demand more work in the mountains than when we run on asphalt. If strength training is always beneficial for runners, in the case of trail running it is practically essential if we want to make safe outings.
- Get yourself some good trail running shoes: The footwear that we use when going out to the mountains matters, and a lot. We will need shoes with a studded sole to guarantee a good grip on all surfaces, since we will find changing terrain on the mountain. Waterproof materials for the upper of our shoes, such as Gore-tex, can help us protect ourselves against inclement weather.
- Protect your joints: knees and ankles are going to take a good load of work if we run down the mountain. On the one hand, we will need them to have good mobility to adapt to the terrain, but also good stability to avoid falls and to protect ourselves against possible injuries: proprioception work prior to trail running outings is important.
- Work your running technique, especially for descents: In the mountains we will find ascents and descents that we must do with good technique if we do not want to end up on the ground. When descending we will have to take shorter steps, always maintaining a good speed without accelerating or sudden braking, and we should keep our feet, hips and shoulders aligned to achieve a good posture.
- Study the route before getting to work: While when running in the city we generally look at the length of the outing that we are going to do, in the mountains it is convenient that we know the route well before starting. We are not only talking about how many kilometers we are going to travel, but also about the changes in altitude we are going to face and the type of terrain we are going to run on. The more information we have about our route, the safer we will be.
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