Now that the weather is finally cold enough to run outside, it’s a great time to forget about the footpaths and treadmills and take your running to the trails. Trails can also help your running and possibly reduce injury — but not for the reasons you think.
There’s a myth that trails are good for your body because they are “softer” than pavement, but running coach Jason Fitzgerald tells us that’s not necessarily true. The benefit is “that every foot plant is going to be slightly different. You’re probably not running straight ahead. You’re covering rocks and roots and little divots in the ground and things like that.”
That variation means two things: first, that you aren’t repeating the exact same stresses on your foot km after km. And second, that you’re working many muscles in different ways, making you stronger and more agile. So if you can find an irregular surface near you, give that field or park or rugged trail a try.