Down & Dirty: Trail Racing vs. Road Racing

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Sage Canaday’s Top-3 Tips

1. Prepare

I’d say a main difference with trail racing is that you need to be physically and mentally prepared for hills. Trails tend to not be very flat and therefore you have to prepare your muscles for being able to climb up steep slopes and withstand the pounding of flying downhill.

2. Traction & Weather

Another thing that differentiates trails from the road is traction. Depending on the trail you could be running through water, sand, dirt and/or sharp rocks. Weather plays a bigger role in trail running over road running too, as rainy conditions can turn a dry dirt trail into a mud bath. Shoe selection becomes more important because certain trail shoes are going to have better traction in more extreme conditions.

3. Effort instead of time

Trails vary a lot in terms of how rocky they are, how wide they are, and twisty they are (some are like rollercoasters!). You have to be used to rolling with the extra challenges that trails dish out and be more conscious of your effort rather than a certain mile split or pace.

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