Trail Running Around the World

Trail runner on a dramatic misty trail

Looking to pack an exciting, active vacation into a short timeframe? Trail running might be the answer!

In retrospect, it’s surprising trail running took as long to catch on as it did. The sport offers the same basic form of exercise as road running, with the benefit of more natural and tranquil scenery. Many trail runners report finding the experience simultaneously more meditative and more mentally engaging, perhaps down to the fact your brain has to stay occupied hopping tree roots and skirting around rocks. Others are drawn in for purely practical reasons — running on trails can spare your knees and joints the strain of pounding pavement. Whatever the reason, the popularity of trail running has grown exponentially in the last few years.

Trail running in the fallIf trail running hasn’t caught on in your area yet, now’s a good time to get in on it. Good routes are well-documented online, and organized races are becoming more common if you appreciate a little company. Starting out takes little more than a pair of shoes and a water bottle. Just know that the distances covered are typically shorter than a comparable road run in order to account for the more rugged terrain. Remember too that walking steeper sections is totally par for the course in this sport, so no need to knock yourself out sprinting uphill.

That might be all you need to trail run local parks and fire roads, but once you start getting ambitious it’s best to gear up. Outdoor companies now offer a wide variety of trail running shoes optimized for certain types of terrain. A trail running shoe differs from a traditional running shoe in that the firmer sole protects the feet from jagged rocks, and materials on the whole are more durable. Cleats or “lugs” on the sole provide added grip in dirt and mud. You’ll want to choose the exact length of lug based on where you’re headed – the deeper the lug the better the traction, but it’ll feel like overkill on smoother trails. There are other nuances to choosing the right trail running shoe, such as the amount of cushioning and whether the rubber is optimized for gripping rocks, but those are best covered by a specialist during a fitting.

As an adventure tourism company, we’re most interested in discovering exciting trails to run. The good news is that virtually all our hiking tours adapt well to trail running. We can also create custom guided trail running programs in Italy and Croatia for groups of six or more. This could be an incredibly exciting way to experience a place like Cinque Terre, where your runner’s rhythm will be regularly punctuated by sea views and olive groves. Practically speaking, you could also use trail running as a means to pack more into a shorter amount of time. You could experience our favourite stretch of Ireland’s Western Way in fewer than the typical hiker’s eight days, for instance, without sacrificing the stunning cliffside vistas of Connemara or evening pub stops in legend-rich County Mayo.

If the idea of taking in a destination from a fresh perspective appeals to you, or you’d simply like to cover more ground in less time, do reach out. We can go over the finer details, such as whether the elevations of a particular route are suited to your goals or when you’re most likely to hit the ideal running weather. Just drop us a line at 800-960-2221 or email info@pure-adventures.com and we’ll have you breezing down the trail in no time.