Running Tips - Which Type Of Running Is Best For You
Running through forests or parks on prescribed paths of bark chips or wood mulch is already widespread in America, and is becoming increasingly popular in the UK as more and more woodlands are opened to the public and nature trails are put down. Trail running has got a reputation as "cross country for wimps", simply because public Health & Safety requirements mean that these pathways have to avoid so many of nature's inherent hazards. But take no notice of such talk.
Although trail running might not be sufficiently taxing for the real hard-core runners, for the rest of us it is about as perfect a situation as anybody could hope for. You are close to nature, but it's nature that's managed to such a degree it's not scary at all - for that reason personal safety is much greater.
Also most woodlands are far more interesting than most streets, you are removed from traffic hazards and pollution, and the prepared surface will have enough cushion to make it easy on your knees and ankles, but not so much give as to work against you.
The vast majority of people will do nothing other than road running in their entire running life, and for this reason it is the Ground Zero of running - the yardstick by which other forms are judged. It's the one I'm referring to when I simply talk about "running", and it's what nearly all running shoes are designed to cope with. In fact, unless you specify otherwise, you will be sold road-running shoes.
If you are lucky enough to live near a sandy beach, run on it at every opportunity! You'll feel so much better as the sea air will do your lungs the world of good, while the sight, sound and smell of the waves is a marvelous psychological boost. Running on soft sand will give you a good workout too, as the unevenness and the lack of traction means you'll have to work that bit harder to dig your feet out of it and cover the distance - in fact you should shorten your stride slightly to counteract the yielding surface.
Many runners prefer running on the packed sand at the water's edge for a firmer push, even dodging in and out of waves. Fun as this might be, squelchy running shoes aren't, so it's not recommended if you have to travel a long way in them after your run.
While running on sand will be far more forgiving if you are recovering from an injury, try to avoid beaches with steep cambers as you will naturally try to keep your body vertical and in doing so put added strain on your ankles, knees and hips.