Over the winter I’ve been running off-road a lot more often. I’m hoping that all the off-road running I have done will make me a better, faster and more resilient runner.
Here are my theories.
Running on uneven terrain such as mud, sand and grass can be a lot harder than running on tarmac – therefore mile for mile you get more effective strength workout.
The grip underfoot can be much more unpredictable which in turn means your core muscles are engaged more, this has got to help your overall running ability. It may also help improve your balance.
You have to be light on your feet to cope with slips, roots, rocks, potholes, etc. A quick cadence is required, that’s going to result in a better running form in general.
Because your have to change your technique/stride to adapt to the terrain instead of pounding away on the pavement, you’re less likely to cause an overuse injury.
Gets you away from other road and pavement users (prams, dogs on leads, etc). No need to wait for cars before you cross the road. So I suppose that also makes it safer.
Gives you an excuse to buy another pair (or two) of trainers.
Well that’s how I justify more off-road running, quite simply it’s more fun – and that’s all the excuse I need.