Do you make a choice to run trails or roads?

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by skedaddle, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. skedaddle

    skedaddle Barefooters
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    It's slowly dawning on me, mainly after a long winter road running, that I really should make a choice between carrying the momentum over from the winter on the roads or starting again from scratch building up my trail running muscles and skills again. Something I have to do after every winter.
    I know some of you train for specific races and conditions so the answer is simple, but for those of us in the grey zone It's not so clear cut.
    Roads mean I can run BF all of the time, also it's much easier to work on form in such a predictable environment and the only goal is to get faster or go longer.
    Trails for me means wearing shoes most of the time, but on the plus side they are far more challenging and involve sharp thinking to weave your way through hazards with gazelle like precision.
    So every year I set out back on the trails only to find instead of floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee like I was before the winter, I'm stomping like an elephant and getting stung.
    So my dilemma is should I stick with the roads, carry through the momentum, or risk loosing a lot of my gains by heading for the hills?
    Would love to know your thoughts, do you choose one way or the other? And if so for what reasons.
     
  2. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    As always, I think you should do whichever motivates you to keep doing it. I guess you're saying the enjoyment from running bare on roads is equal to running shod on trails, right? Hence the dilemma.

    If that's the case, I can't really speak from practical experience. All the trails near me are pretty bareable--hard compacted dirt or loose gravel. Unfortunately, the nearest trail involves a 25-minute commute, so I tend to stick to the roads, sidewalks, and lake and river paths close to home. I guess that's why, as you say, I tend to think mostly about getting faster or going longer when I run on sidewalks and pavement.

    But you're in southwestern England, right? Aren't there any bareable trails nearby?
     
  3. rickwhitelaw

    rickwhitelaw Barefooters
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    Without going into a big long history, I'll just say I've tried to do it all in the last 2.5 years (roads, trails, races, every distance up to marathon, barefoot, minshod, shod) This did not work out for me. Some can do it, but I can't anymore. When I get better, I am going to focus on trails, it's what I love, even if it means going back to footwear. I'll still be barefoot as much as possible and I'm still going to do the shorter distances barefoot. No marathons for a while and it's not likely I'll ever do another road marathon. (Not to worry Hood to Coast team, the relay is still on my list). Not trying to have a discouraging post here, I'm still loving every day. I just want to offer - set reasonable goals and not too many. Not to you specifically Skedaddle, just a general post. If you are having no problems then by all means do both, many of the good runners do. I believe it's good to have variety.
     
  4. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    Rick, are you saying your current injury is due to running bare, bare on trails, or bare on roads? Just curious.
     
  5. DNEchris

    DNEchris Barefooters
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    Head for the hills!

    I wish my mother was still living in Hope - I'd love to give the Edale Skyline a shot barefoot. I think it would be fine.
     
  6. DNEchris

    DNEchris Barefooters
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    Given my 'druthers I'd run trails every day. Living in Manhattan I find roads make up 95% of my annual mileage.
     
  7. skedaddle

    skedaddle Barefooters
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    Most of the major trails where I live have been trashed with the dumping of hard core and builders rubble to repair trail bike damage, the more remote trails are ok but tend to get overgrown in the summer. The problem with the U.K is that it's small so everything is subject to overuse and there doesn't seem to be any regulation as to how the trails are managed, none of these highly manicured trails that I see in the U.S.

    Lol Chris, every time I've run in the Dales it's either been blowing a gale, torrential rain, or in fog. Not often you get nice sunny days.
    But they do breed um tough there, i've just read a book called 'Feet in the clouds' about the fell runners and some of the stories of broken bones and sinking from sight in the marshes will probably make you re-evaluate your definition of fine.
    There was even some guy who had lost all of the cartilage in his knees and when ever there was a race on he'd say time for another injection then and turn up at the starting line.

    I manage to run the Welsh mountains once or twice a year, that's where my heart is truth be told.

    Much the same story as yours Rick, apart from the injury, wishing you a speedy recovery. Road running and trail running are like chalk and cheese, and for me to do either well I'm going to have to make a choice. Just want to know if other see it the same way and how they approach the issue.
     
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  8. skedaddle

    skedaddle Barefooters
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    Made up my mind, I'm now officially a .....
    road-runner.jpg

    ...... beep beep.
    Seriously it's something I've never done before, just sticking to the roads for a season, so i'm going to give it a shot and see how things pan out. The big plus for me is remaining barefoot, something T.J. said to me would happen and I never believed her at the time, how wrong was I!
     
  9. scedastic

    scedastic Barefooters
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    That's disappointing to learn.
    I would like to think since trails are being used, there would be more public demand for maintaining them? Oh, humans.
     
  10. Barefooting Bob

    Barefooting Bob Chapter Presidents
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    Personally, I am a trail guy. Nothing like the sensations of your soles to the ground on trails. Plus the lack of car traffic noises and exhaust fumes makes it a easy decision for me.
     
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  11. skedaddle

    skedaddle Barefooters
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    It's not so bad on the road, or should I say country lanes where I live, lots of little quaint villages to pass through and with the lanes being narrow you don't get the heavy traffic.
    So I still feel connected to my environment and nature and more importantly my barefeet feet to the ground.
     
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  12. skedaddle

    skedaddle Barefooters
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    I'm curious are you dedicated trail runners happy to run in long grass where you can't see your footfall?
     
  13. Barefoot Gentile

    Barefoot Gentile Barefooters
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    I'm a road runner, absolutely love running roads, but I will run trails. To run some good trails I have to get in my car and drive to them, I am much happier leaving my house and running some very cool road routes. I love nature but actually find running trails a bit boring, especially single track trails. If am going off the road I would rather hit the beach and run along the ocean, or in my case long island sound, its all good though.
     
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  14. migangelo

    migangelo Chapter Presidents
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    trails are for pure joy. it's more like playing. roads are for ease and necessity of running.
     

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  15. skedaddle

    skedaddle Barefooters
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    I'm totally down with the joy of running trails, for me the more technical the better.
    But this season I feel the need for a constant and the roads will give me that, with trails you have to keep adapting to changing conditions, there is no form book as such that factors in jumping sideways to avoid obstacles or bending down to avoid overhead branches.
    Like BG said it's all good, but two totally different skills sets are needed. I just want to focus on one for now to see if I get better performance gains without trying to over think things. If i stop having fun then the experiment will end instantly.
     
  16. Bill B

    Bill B Barefooters
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    I run both, but some of the roads here could easily be trails...
     
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  17. rickwhitelaw

    rickwhitelaw Barefooters
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    Baffled at what caused this injury. So many factors were involved, I can't blame one thing. I was barefoot at the time of injury, but I had a long trail run in shoes 2 weeks before that might of caused some stress. I had a good mix of trails and roads, so I don't think it was the surface. I was doing other activities that month any maybe even something happened at work. It was starting to get cold and I know I tighten up in the cold. Maybe not enough warm up time or flexibility issues? I could blame the GPS watch, it all started to go downhill when I got it.;)

    Back to Road Vs. Trail. What Lee said about driving to find a trail earlier, I am the opposite, I have to drive to find pavement. I think most are going to run on what is outside their front door, regardless of preference.
     
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  18. SillyC

    SillyC Barefooters
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    NO! And this is why I wear some protection on trails. I live in a highly populated area, and often times, I'll run into places where people have had the types of camping trips that involve broken glass. Also, some of the boulders are irregular, and they hide under leaves. Then you step on them... and.... ouch. I trained for a trail marathon wearing a pair of Xero/Invisible Shoes huaraches, and I can honestly say it was not enough shoe for my area. My feet got BEAT UP on my long runs.

    As for me, I try to run long on trails on the weekend. However, the nearest trail to my house is 2.5 miles away, but most of the good ones are at least a 30 minute drive. (I only recently discovered the close ones...) This means trail running is a weekend-only proposition for me, like many. So I'm bare on the road (when the weather warms up), and shod on trails.
     
  19. JosephTree

    JosephTree Barefooters
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    I'm lucky in several senses. My favourite close by venue, Valley Forge Nat'l Park, has both trails and paved ways in abundance - enough for my needs at least. It would be more diffecult if I were needing 20+ mile trail runs on a regular basis. I am also happy to run in my VFFs if paved conditions or natural surface trails require. My legs and feet seem to do fine going from one to the other, and as I'm not in the least competetive, I don't worry if I am not optimizing. I just want to run happy.
     
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  20. TMo

    TMo Barefooters
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    I run mostly on roads, I love trails though, till I get to gravel trails. If I could not care about my speed I think I would be happier. I just feel like I am cheating when I walk. Please don't mistake my use of the word "speed" though lol.
     

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