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Digital Subscriptions > Men's Running > October 2018 > TO THE TRAIL

TO THE TRAIL

YET TO MUDDY YOUR TRAINERS IN THE WORLD OF OFF-ROAD RUNNING? OUR BEGINNER’S GUIDE WILL HAVE YOU CHARGING THROUGH WOODLAND AND LEAPING OVER STILES BEFORE YOU CAN EVEN THINK ABOUT STARTING YOUR GARMIN

TRAIL RUNNING SPECIAL/BEGINNERS

There’s that wooden signpost on the cross-country cut-through you like to drive sometimes. You know the one. Half lost among the hedgerow, with brambles tangled round it. ‘Footpath’, it says. Beneath there’s a wonky stile. And you’ve seen people clumsily swing their leg over it. Most of them are walkers. But just occasionally, there’s a flash of lycra, a wild-eyed grin, or a headtorch after dark.

Liberated from tarmac and traffic, these are runners who get their kicks on paths less travelled. You don’t see them much. They’re normally whizzing through woods, over mountains or on the far side of that hedgerow. But when they do cross your path you sense they are the people having the most fun. These are trail runners.

TRAIL RUNNING VS ROAD RUNNING

If your typical road run was a fruit, it would be the humble banana. It’s available everywhere. It’s the default option of choice. And in moderation there’s no denying it’s good for you. Sometimes though – even if it’s the only option on the table – you just don’t fancy banana. You might plan on eating banana on Sunday morning, but when you wake up you just can’t face that mono-fruit monotony. And slowly your banana, just like your fitness goals, can turn stale in the proverbial fruit bowl.

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About Men's Running

When I first started running, venturing off-road was all about school cross-country races, generally around anodyne playing fields in heavy football boots. It wasn’t the kind of experience that books are written about. In fact, it was the kind of experience that scarred many would-be runners for life. But fast forward, cough cough, a few years and trail running is now big business. The clamour for places in the ‘big daddy’ of all trail race, the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, is as fervent as the Virgin Money London Marathon and shoe companies now have entire ranges dedicated to trail and off-road. Why is it so popular? If you haven’t yet ventured off the beaten track, trail running is about being more in-tune with nature and taking stock of your surroundings. It’s not about times or even really distances; it’s about testing your body over different terrain with vistas to die-for! In this Men’s Running special, we talk about everything trail, from training to technique. We even cover a few races for good measure. We hope you enjoy!