Confession: I secretly prefer trail racing – So Do We!

It’s always interesting to see and hear other people’s take on trail running – why did you start? For most of us, trail running wasn’t the first type of running we did…sure, a lot of us may have run around the woods as kids (or adults!) but I’m willing to bet that most people weren’t entering trail races right off the bat.

I came across this article and felt like sharing as I could identify with many of the feelings towards trail and roads:

I ran my first trail race with the 5 Peaks race series back in the spring of 2014. Afterwards, I immediately signed up for the next four races.

Where road racing is governed by pace, trail racing is dependent on so many factors that pacing kind of goes out the window. Each race is different depending on the hills, the weather, the single track and congestion on the course. While this might seem daunting, I find it completely freeing.

The change is pace and terrain for a trail race is something I also really enjoy. Although I may be wishing for a slightly less steep hill from time to time it’s the variation that keeps me going and what makes a long trail run or race so enjoyable. So many variables, sights to see, and especially in races things can change quickly.

I run on the road pretty much all winter and my training with my coach is exclusively for road racing. But when the summer hits, it’s time to hit the trails. Of course, provincial parks have extraordinary trail systems, but you don’t have to venture too far to get into nature. The longest I drove to a race last year was about an hour from Toronto. In some cases, I was running along cliffs and climbing the escarpment at Rattlesnake Point. At other times, I was running alongside a lake and even through deep water in a marsh. Confession: I secretly prefer trail racing – Canadian Running Magazine

I love getting out on the trails more after a winter. If the winter is mild I may be able to get some decent time in off road, but being located (for now)gplus-116584837 in upstate New York it can get pretty nasty – I’ve had my fair share of “ice beards” and frozen fingers.

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I suppose that the upside to this is the wide range of trail conditions: things go from frozen and gray/brown to muddy and green, to humid and buggy, to multi-colored fall photo opportunities, all within a few months!

Getting out on the road also makes me appreciate the trails so much more – while it can be a nice change of pace it always reminds me what I prefer to spend my time running on.

What got you into trail running and what keeps you on the trails?