There's a good reason for the rapid growth of trail running: It's awesome! Trail running offers a challenging, frequently changing workout that can add some spice to your usual runs. So first things first — how can you find a good running trail?
What makes a good running trail?
A good trail for running really depends on your preferences and abilities. It will also be influenced pretty heavily by your surrounding terrain.
For the most part, however, you can find any walking or hiking trail and run it. That's all it takes. There are a few things to keep in mind when selecting your prospective trail, though. Since most hiking trails tend to be on the rugged side, running on them could be a tricky, and potentially dangerous, proposition. Rocks, roots, and rapid changes in elevation could await you, which might make things interesting, but might also slow you down or challenge your muscles in new ways that could lead to injury. So, if you do decide to take your runs on one of these trails, be prepared for a sudden increase in difficulty.
Walking trails, on the other hand, are usually an easier transition into the sport of trail running. Generally, these trails are better maintained and may even be paved or covered with gravel. These trails are also usually placed in more populated areas, as opposed to the isolation typical of hiking trails, which is an important safety consideration.
Finding a trail near you
Once you know what you're looking for in a trail, how can you find one? There are a ton of tools online for just this purpose. The Trail Run Project app is a popular option that allows you to search in your area and even see the difficulty level of certain trails. Local Facebook running groups can also be a great resource to find trails near you.
Trail running is a fun, challenging variation on road running — and it all starts with finding the right running trail for you.
Our writer's advice is intended for informational or general educational purposes only. We always encourage you to speak with your physician or healthcare provider before making any adjustments to your running, nutrition, or fitness routines.