Trail Running vs Road Running

A very popular debate amongst the running communities, which is best for running, the trails or the road?

I will be adding more info with time, enjoy the tips & info.

Here is a list of Pro’s & Con’s: 

Trail Running (Pro’s) 

The Trails doesn’t have the risk of cars & accidents which is usually fatal on roads.

Nature Beauty is unrivalled when compared to Roads.

The uneven surface of trails unlike tar roads help develop all muscles and not the same muscles under strain on every step.

The softer surface is much better for the ligaments.

Trail run makes you fitter & stronger than road running on same distances.

Trail runners are usually more muscular & stronger than the leaner Road Runners.

The uneven terrain of the trails allows to strengthen the stabilizer muscles in your hips, trunk & ankles which is possible with road running.  Therefore you can build stronger core muscles as well as the stabilizers which helps again to reduce injuries. Trail running is actually great for road runners that would like to prepare for a tuff road race.

When you run long distances on the roads, you feel it, unlike trails you may feel it due to the more forgiving & softer terrain. Its advisable to start slowly with trail runs by doing first one a week and then later start progressing slowly by making it two or three per week.

“Trail running burns 10% more calories than road running.” Compared to hitting the pavement, trail running burns 10% more calories, while improving balance and agility. Many of your top road runners at the highest level, incorporate trail running into their training to prevent overuse injuries.

Trail Running (Con’s) 

It’s sometimes risky & not advisable to run alone at isolated trail areas.

It’s much harder to compete in a trail run race than in a road race that covers the same distances due to obstacles like hills, mountains & rugged terrain.

Trail Running is a lot more demanding than the flat roads, the technical singletrack trails usually has roots, rocks, water streams, grass & other obstacles which slows down your pace compared to road running, it’s best to avoid comparing your pace trail run pace to that of your road runs, I suggest you slow your pace & rather try develop what we call a trail pace (tempo).

Road Running (Pro’s) 

Running on a road allows for faster pace hence you can run longer distances in same time than trail run.

Road running allows smoother constant pace as there is little or no obstacles on roads as compared to trail run.


Road Running (Con’s)

The angle of tar road for long distances could cause injuries.

The hard surface usually cause injuries especially when doing long mileages, hence the harder surface breaks down muscles and makes it difficult to recover when you accumulate more milage.

Running on the road could cause knee problems and or injuries like shin splints. Wherever possible we suggest that it’s better to run on dirt or softer roads/trails.