Hiking and trail offer distinct experiences despite both having a similar format. When planning a trip, adventure enthusiasts are always at a loss deciding if they want to run or hike. The beauty of nature can be savoured in both of these activities, but they’re entirely different from each other. Hiking is a more relaxing experience to enjoy nature, while trail running just requires a pair of shoes.
Hiking is an intense activity, and many a time, seasoned hikers transition into trail running because of their acquired stamina. Here’s all you need to do to protect yourself from any injury while making the transition.
You use your quads and glutes along with your feet and calves to propel yourself forward in both hiking and running. The quads have more activity when walking. But while running, your biceps must be engaged too, requiring you more air to inhale and exhale. In both hiking and running, you use the same muscle family but in different ways.
Running is obviously faster than walking. You might be able to notice more muscular contractions in different muscle groups in each of these activities. Even if you are a hiking expert, your hip flexors may not be ready for solid contractions necessary to lift your leg and swing when running. This is why many trail running beginners shuffle between walking and running. It requires excellent fitness to make the shift to running.
How do you make the transition?
Take it easy
You cannot expect yourself to be in an invincible shape in a matter of days. Take baby steps before trail running to avoid injury. Sometimes, routes are inconsistent. Avoid running in the terrains that are not suitable for running. Get on with interval training to outdo yourself in the practice of trail running and get fast and more robust sooner.
Play with your strengths
As you run, you will find the superpowers that will help you power up your running activity. Can you ascent without breathing hard and fast? Are your glutes made of steel? Capitalize on your strengths. Don’t shy away from setting big goals. But remember to keep small sub-goals to get there and practice to reach them.
Wear your trail running shoes and get running. Take breaks when necessary. Pick the trails you already know so that you do not get lost. Run slowly and listen to your body. You need specific running shoes for the trails that support your ankle.
If you find yourself sceptical about running trails alone, find a community of trail runners to learn more about the process and make the whole experience even more fun.
However, if hiking is more y our thing, get out and do it. Being outside and enjoying nature is proven to improve your mental and physical well being by leaps and bounds.