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Running on the road vs running on the trail


Written by Jade Spilka

As with any form of exercise, running requires personal decisions on what is best for your body and best for your mind. The two most common places serious runners spend their daily runs are on roads and trails. While most runners claim trail running as their personal favorite, running on the road has its benefits as well.

5 Reasons to Run on the Road

  1. The road is most likely the most accessible for you, and this will make your daily workout routine more likely to happen. Many Americans have intentions to exercise but claim the inconvenience of going to the gym or finding a trail as the reason they often skip.
  2. Roads and sidewalks provide a more predictable run. This allows for better form.
  3. According to, harder surfaces are less aggravating for Achilles tendinitis and provide a lower risk for acute traumatic injury, like an ankle sprain.
  4. There is safety in numbers. Running in a well populated area such as a city allows a certain peace of mind that running on a secluded trail cannot provide.
  5. If you’re serious about running, you will most likely be running road races in the future; so it’s best to prepare before race day. The road can take some time to get used to. Running on harder surfaces causes a shock to your joints, and you do not want this shock making its initial appearance on race day.

5 Reasons to Run on a Trail

  1. Trails are softer than concrete, which puts you at a lower risk for injury. Trails are especially good for anyone with a condition that reacts negatively to impact. Anyone who is prone to knee pain should avoid concrete and gravitate toward softer surfaces like dirt or grass.
  2. Trails provide an oxygen rich environment with better air quality than roads or sidewalks.
  3. According to, running on uneven surfaces causes you to take shorter, quicker strides. This improved technique will improve your time as well.
  4. cites varying terrain as reason you should take up trail running. This terrain causes you to run at different paces and creates greater variations in heart rate.
  5. Choosing a trail to run on makes your daily exercise routine an adventure. The road could become boring and repetitive, but a trail is unpredictable.

You can always visit your local running store at to ask any questions that may help you decide which works for you!

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