How to Reap the Rewards of Trail Running

More: 7 Hill Running Workouts That Increase Power

Happier joints and injury prevention: Training on softer surfaces reduces the pounding on your legs. Many elites run on dirt because soft trail miles are 'easier' on the body. With the amount of work they put in, the surface makes a world of difference.

More: Hit the Trails for Injury Prevention

More supple joints: Navigating twists, turns and uneven surfaces strengthens the smaller muscles, tendons and ligaments around the ankles and feet. This, if done gradually and smartly—don't go from no trail running to all trail running or your feet won't have time to get stronger gradually—will make your ankles and feet stronger and less prone to a sudden pull or sprain if you step in a pothole.

The mental factor: A change of scenery is always nice and, if you get going on a good trail, that long run can 'feel' shorter.

More: 25 Best Trail Destinations in the U.S.

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About the Author

Caitlin Chock

Caitlin Chock set the previous national high school 5K record (15:52.88) in 2004. Now a freelance writer and artist, she writes about all things running, and founded Ezzere, her own line of running shirts. You can read more, see her running comics, and shirts at her website www.CaitChock.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @CaitlinChock.

Caitlin Chock set the previous national high school 5K record (15:52.88) in 2004. Now a freelance writer and artist, she writes about all things running, and founded Ezzere, her own line of running shirts. You can read more, see her running comics, and shirts at her website www.CaitChock.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @CaitlinChock.

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