The popularity of trail running as a sport has been growing steadily here in the Northeast and across the United States. While ultra endurance events are still pretty underground, shorter trail runs and many trail running groups have been springing up from left to right.

Trail running offers numerous advantages over road training, which is what attracts most newcomers to the sport.

Some of those advantages include:

  • There is less impact on the body on the trails …
  • Trail running is more fun than roads …
  • Recovery on the trails is much easier than on the roads …
  • There are usually fewer injuries from overuse of the running trails …
  • Trail running is more fun than roads …
  • The air on the trails tends to be cleaner with more trees and less traffic …
  • You use more muscle groups when running on trails …
  • Trail running is more fun than roads …

Technical vs non-technical trails

The first thing a trail runner wants to know about a new trail is whether it is technical or non-technical.

Non-technical trails they are basically soft roads. They are well maintained, they tend to be wide enough for two or more people to run side by side, and there aren’t many obstacles in your way as you run. The best non-technical trails in the southern Maine area are at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, which has over 15 miles of trails and is home to the Pineland Farms Racing Festival each spring, which includes races like the 5k barefoot and canicross. 5k on Saturday and 25k, 50k and 50 mile races on Sunday.

Technical trails they tend to be single track trails, which means only one person can go down the trail at a time. There will be numerous obstacles including but not limited to rocks, roots, and rivers. You must maintain your concentration in order to run safely on a technical trail. The trails at Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal are a good example of technical trails and are easily accessible from Portland. They are also the site of the Bradbury Mountain Trail Racing Series all summer long.

Single track trails They are usually, but not always, quite technical, but they are not wide enough for people to run side by side, so you will need to stay in a single file when running in a group.

Two-way trails They are wider than single track and can accommodate at least two people running at the same time, if not 3 or 4. Dual track trails tend to be easier to navigate and may or may not be technical in nature.

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