How to be a HYBRID (Trail and Road) Runner.

As someone who’s been running marathons/ultras for almost 9 years, I love bouncing around and mingling with different clubs and social run groups. It keeps running exciting for me, and I never get bored of the same ol’ same. Running is a journey and one that has truly brought so much joy and happiness to my life. Another part of it is being able to switch up the surfaces that I run on from time to time! So for those of you road racers (or trail hippies) that want to be able to easily bounce between both, here are a few ways you can be a HYBIRD runner and really enjoy both pavement and trail.

I hear a ton of road runners say they don’t like trails – because they feel that they are too clumsy. Well to that, I say it is very simple. Ease up on the speed when it comes to trail running. Do you want me to tell you a secret? I too used to not like trails, when I first started really getting good at running on roads. I was used to being the fastest in my run groups, I was used to winning all the age group wins in all of my 5k/10k races that I ran. But when it came to trail, my EGO took a little bit of a beat down. It was only until I let go of being so pace driven on trails, that I really started loving it. I know, it is easier said than done, it just takes time.

Think of trail running as your RECOVERY/easy runs. Every runner needs recovery pace miles. Not only will this make you a stronger runner in the long run (pun intended) but it will lessen your likelihood of injury if you learn to mix it up when it comes to stuff like this. My favorite thing honestly is to do a long run on Saturdays and then run nice and easy on the trails on Sundays. Try it, you just may love it.

Trail runners –work on the shorter/faster stuff when it comes to pounding the pavement. Work on your speed on the roads! Now, it is interesting because on the flip side of the coin, I run with a trail club. And a LOT of them hate roads! Mostly because they like the challenge and agility training on the trails – they like to CLIMB steep climbs/mountains…they like elevation changes, they like rocks and roots and all of the stuff that makes trail running “hard” to road racers. So, trail runnners- find a short local race where you can push the pace. Or, hit up the track with friends during the work week! You may find that working on your speed will make you faster on the dirt, too.

Regardless of what surface you run on…it’s always more FUN with people! That’s what makes the running community so awesome. If you’re looking for a trail run group in your area (or a road one) I recommend doing a search on meetup.com or even Facebook! Also, local running stores have road groups that do trail runs from time to time. Change it up, step outside of your comfort zone, and you may find that you just may like it.

Are you a HYBRID runner? Trail runners…tell us what you LOVE about the trails? (I have a lot of roadies who read my blog so let’s get them moving over to the dark side…haha)

12 thoughts on “How to be a HYBRID (Trail and Road) Runner.

  1. YES! You nail so many good points. I’ve tried to remember #2 and I really do think it’s helpful for recovery. There’s a trail runner group that meets on Wednesdays, so maybe it’s time to return. My Achilles has the green light.

  2. I do run both and funny enough – the trails do end up being my recovery miles because for some reason, it’s ok that I’m slower on them and I don’t beat myself up like I do for going slow on roads,LOL

  3. I’m definitely a hybrid runner! I love switching it up a little because it just makes my runs much more interesting. I love the change of views and exploring new surroundings while I run. After reading this, you inspired me to start focusing on my speed and running shorter distances. For the last 5 months, I’ve been training for a half marathon and focusing on my pace and increasing distance. This will give me something new to improve on now that the 1/2 marathon is over. Great read! Thanks!

  4. I’m a hybrid! I LOVE trails because of the sense of adventure they provide. I also think better in nature, so it is a good time for contemplation. Trails can make you a better runner too. All that hill work that you find on trails!

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