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Trail running involves whole body movement. You're twisting and turning, changing direction constantly, ducking a tree branch, pushing off a rock, taking a big step, then a little one, changing pace, climbing, descending. It demands more from your body in terms of effort and number of muscles used, including core muscles.
"And we've located them all within an hour of an urban centre, so they are accessible, too," he says, pointing out that many trail running events are held in the middle of nowhere.
The articles lauded the pair for their superhuman efforts, such as Kilian's seven hour, 14 min ascent/descent of Mt Kilimanjaro and Lizzy's recent 319km run from Mount Everest Base Camp to Kathmandu in Nepal.
Resist the tendency to favour one leg over the other. A lot of runners start using one leg Converse Shoes High Tops Light Blue as the "plant" leg to land heavily on and the other as the "drive" or "push off" leg. Each leg should do these actions interchangeably.
new crowd to the mountains: road runners. Recreational runners are digging feverishly into their old trekking guides in search of wilderness routes to rediscover on the hoof, sans 18kg backpack.
Those after daily exercise might prefer running on trails near suburban areas, while other trail runners spend weeks or longer out in the wilderness.
The best trail running is on "single track" hiking trails because they lead into the most pristine and stunning environments. Trail running does, on occasion, encompass running on dirt roads and fire trails, and may sometimes include short stretches of road running to get from one trail to another. Essentially, however, trail running is all about running in beautiful and inspiring parts of the world that remain as Mother Nature intended: untouched and wild.
The environment in which they challenge themselves can also be tough it may involve high altitudes (think the Himalayas), rough routes off main trails requiring navigation skills, and gradients so steep you'd think you'd need a rope to get up and an elevator to get down.
When you run trails the angles at which your feet make contact with the earth are always changing, so the impact is broadened and shared between joints and impact zones. That, combined with a strengthening of other muscles while trail running, results in less wear and tear overall.
The long term stresses on the body are less than those experienced by road runners who maintain a similar pace and a repetitive motion. The hips, the knees, the ankles, the foot arch bang through exactly the same motion with every step, creating wear and tear on joints and muscles.
"Which is understandable part of trail running is about getting into these pristine environments and appreciating them on foot. But we have to provide stepping stone events."
Guide to trail running
Trail running techniques
"Our events are specifically tailored to be achievable by the average runner," says event director John Jacoby.
The key is to stay light and nimble on your feet as though you are floating over the terrain, landing, then springing off it again.
Dirt and grass are softer than bitumen and concrete. Hence the sheer force exerted on joints is less, as the ground provides some cushioning. Again, when considered over the hundreds of thousands of foot strikes we're talking about, the cumulative benefit is huge.
YOU KNOW AN adventure sport is booming when it makes the New York Times. This year, the newspaper featured first the king Spaniard Kilian Jornet and then the queen Brit Lizzy Hawker of trail running.
Short course trail running events
In NSW, there is growing interest in Running Wild's Trail Race Series, which covers distances from 14 20km, and the Sydney Trailrunning Series, run by events company Mountain Sports.
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Run on the balls not heels of your feet. This means less pounding, more speed and greater control.
There is the Gold Coast Trail Running Series. In Western Australia, Perth has its own series outings. Tasmania's Endorfun runs a quartet of short course events at different wilderness locations, including Bruny Island. The South Australian Road Runners Club organises social and competitive runs of varying distances, taking advantage of the Adelaide Hills and longer trails including the Yurrebilla and Heysen.
Further north, the Trail Running Association of Queensland backs events such as those run by Glasshouse Trail Runs, many of which have courses as short as 5 10km.
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The Salomon Trail Running Series in Victoria is a prime example. The annual series consists of four events, from 5km to 21km, held near Melbourne.
over multiple days.
Shorter, less arduous events are opening up the sport to everyday runners, and those who usually pound the pavement are being tempted to hit the dirt.
The benefits of trail running
Also raising trail running's profile are adventure run sluggers, such as Beau Miles, who became the first person to run the 660km length of the Australian Alps Walking Track from Canberra to Walhalla, Victoria, and Richard Bowles, who ran the length of the Israel National Trail (1009km in 12 days) in April.
But that's at the extreme end. More accessible trail runs mix fun and fitness in milder terrain: winding routes between trees with gentle inclines (if any) on trails that are well padded, smooth and clutter free. It's what you'd call a non technical trail. Technical trails have more clutter underfoot: rocks and roots, big drops, scrambles, scree and the like.
In Australia, ultra events (anything longer than a marathon) such as the North Face 100 (NSW), the Cradle Mountain Run (Tasmania), the Tarawera (NZ) and the Routeburn Classic (NZ) have recorded capacity fields and attracted the likes of Jornet, as well as international media attention.
Serious trail runners are akin to marathon or ultra runners they train hard, are supremely fit and tackle extreme distances and terrain, sometimes Converse All White Low
Where to go trail running
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