Road, trail or treadmill? Find your running flavour…
Running speaks for itself – at its core, it’s the determination to just put one foot in front of the other and keep going. But what about where you do it? Your running surface and environment can have a big impact on your run.
Here are three typical types of running and the benefits of each one.
1. Road running. Road running gives you a regular, reliable run (depending on other road traffic of course). It gives you a smooth, even surface – but the impact on your joints can be high on flat-road surfaces. If speed is your goal, then you may be frequently road running. Just ensure that you take care of your joints, taking adequate time to recuperate, and seeing a GP or physio if pain and strain replaces normal effort.
2. Trail running. While trail running presents an uneven, unpredictable surface, many people run on trails so they can get away from it all. Trail runners will tell you of the mental fitness they develop from this connection with nature, which can be quite different from road running. This type of running can be physically challenging – tough on ankles, hips and knees. Care needs to be taken, particularly on downhills and on treacherous ground. Start trail running with an experienced ‘trail running mate’ who knows a trail well (that includes knowing local weather patterns!).
3. Treadmill running. Many prefer a ‘first start’ to running at home, or in their local gym, on a treadmill. Treadmills can be configured to move you from walking, to faster walking paces, light jogs, and then to running. Running on treadmill can mean lower impact on joints and you don’t have to go out in bad weather. Always ensure you learn to use the equipment from someone qualified. In the case of a home treadmill, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter.
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