Is trail running better than road running?

Yes: 46% Trail running has a lot of benefits that you can’t get from running on the road. The peace and serenity from a trail run can leave you feeling calm and refreshed yet at the same time, it can be one of the best and most taxing cardio and leg workouts that you’ve ever had. It’s a comforting feeling knowing, that once you start your run, you don’t have to worry about cars, traffic lights, and loud noises. You can let your mind wander, and immerse yourself in a world of nature, surrounded by woods. As soon as your foot hits that dirt, the rhythm and sound of your breath become one with your wooded environment. Each foot strike is a concerted effort to move over logs, rocks, or streams. Your ears enjoy the soft sounds of leaves blowing, streams babbling, and the cadence of each step. You’ll surely hear the scampering of the squirrels to keep you on your toes, and to let you know that you’re not alone. —Jody Trainham, via e-mal

Trail running is easier on my body, more relaxing to my mind, more soothing to my ears, and more pleasing to my eyes. —John L., via e-mail

No: 54% I love the energy of a good road race, because I am able to share my love of running with others. Crowds are cheering, and you can feel the excitement of running in a large pack with like-minded people. It’s an exciting celebration of a sport that often feels too solitary. —Jim Ricketts, Charleston, W.Va.

I run everyday, but I don’t live near any wooded trails. Without my daily road run, I get extremely grumpy, so I’ll choose to appreciate what’s accessible. —Alan Gallant, Charlotte, N.C.

 

Illustration by Wade Mickley