Injuries are a problem for every committed runner. Trail running surfaces are much softer than running on the street or pavement; softer surfaces means fewer injuries. Trails are usually never as flat as running on pavement, going up and down a hill through bends and dips helps build strength in the muscles that help stabilize your lower leg. These conditioned muscles help absorb impacts and provide more support to your feet and legs when running on pavement.
Research has shown that running on uneven terrain forces you to make adjustments in the way you run and the way your feet land; you take quicker and shorter strides, you land more on the forefoot than the heel. As we all understand, landing on the heel is where we get most of our injuries from. Added to the physical benefits you get from trail running, it is also mentally relaxing. Trail running allows you to enjoy your run more so than running in a concrete jungle. Less noise, less smog, fewer people. What’s not to like, Right?
Trails are also off limits to motorized vehicles, so you don’t have to worry about getting run over or breathing in all that carbon monoxide. The rich oxygen environment is also great for your health. Studies have shown that running in a highly polluted environment increases cardiovascular disease. Which is a great reason to get off the roads.
If you are one of those who are concerned with running times then adding trail running to your regiment should be a no brainer. The fastest long distance times are from the Kenyan and Ethiopian runners. They don’t train on pavements, and they run barefoot. But that’s for another article.
So why not whip out those Salomon’s, grab your hydration pack and head down to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve or if you are more adventurous you could try running in Pulau Ubin. Just don’t forget to inform someone responsible as to where you’ll be, stay on track and try not to run at night. Most importantly remember to bring out of the trail what ever you brought in. There aren’t many bins so you should be prepared to lug your trash around with you until you exit. We must all do our part to keep the environment free of trash. Once you get used to running trails here in Singapore, then you should head abroad. There are some breath taking trails right here in Asia.
Oh… one more thing. Remember to always carry enough water with you; you’re not going to find a provision shop nearby.