In truth, the matter isn’t as much of a ‘can’, as it is a ‘should’. Should you trail run every day? Or should you take breaks?
You should try not to trail run every day. Even if your body is used to strenuous exercise, it can easily tire out if you push it too much. You should try and take a couple of days of rest every week. If you keep pushing without rest, you could end up with a serious injury.
Running on trails is very different from running on track or roads, and can be a lot more difficult.
We looked into the opinions of frequent trail runners on things like how often to run, recommended distance, as well as the benefits of trail runners.
Can You Trail Run Every Day?
If you’re used to running on track or roads, you may think trail running is no big deal. Think again! Trails are harder to come across, which may make it seem that the run is worthwhile, but trails are also a lot tougher on your body and difficult to get through.
Of course, trail running isn’t impossible, so if you know how to run (which everyone does, really), you can technically run on trails, too. But that doesn’t mean that it’s good for you to do so.
Ideally, if you have had no prior experience with daily running, you should start off very small. Trail running requires a lot more stamina, control, and balance than running on the road, so you should start even smaller than if you were going road running.
But what about people who run every day? Can you go trail running every day, too?
Yes and no.
You can go trail running, and it is definitely a great experience if you’re moving away from roads and tracks and treadmills in the gym, but you shouldn’t do it too often. It is safe to run on trails every day as long as you’re pacing yourself properly and not pushing yourself to the max every day.
If you find that you’re putting in the maximum effort every day, you should take a couple of days off to give your body time to recover before you continue.
Trail running is hard because of the changes in incline and elevation, as well as the loose rock and stone you find on trails. On top of that, some parts of the trail may require more effort to get through than others. You don’t want to push yourself to the max from the start and get stuck in these parts of the trails.
It is best to alternate between putting in effort (but not max effort) and taking it easy from day to day. This way, you can get used to trails, and build the stamina you need to keep your trail running activities going.
How Often To Go Trail Running?
It’s very important to pace yourself and make sure you’re not exhausting your body. For many people, trail running is an activity they take up when they are preparing for a strenuous event, such as a race. In such cases, running up to 5 days a week is good enough, as long as your body is not stressed out.
It is also possible to mix and match, so your days include trail running and road running. Road running is good for long distances since you don’t have to focus on the type of terrain and can simply run to build stamina. When running trail, you can go for more technique-focused running with regard to avoiding hurdles and keeping your balance.
How Much Should You Trail Run Every Day?
If you’re planning on going trail running every day, the most important thing to remember is that overdoing it can result in serious injuries. If you push muscles that aren’t used to the stress and exercise, it can cause anything from mild pain for a few days to long-term injuries like Runner’s knee and tendonitis that don’t heal very easily.
If you’re a beginner at running, you can push yourself up to about a mile. This is, of course, best if you go for a slow run, and not a sprint. At only about 3-4 mph, you can easily cover a mile in about 20 minutes.
If you feel like you’re at your limit by the end of it, you can keep that as your target and keep increasing your pace every few days. Once you feel like you can manage the distance at your speed, you can increase the distance too, by only a small fraction. Over time, you’ll be able to do a lot more than a mile at a lot higher speed.
For experienced runners, there can be a difference. Depending on your experience, you’d have to pick the distance you want to start with. If you feel like you can still do more, you can increase the distance in increments over time. If you feel like you struggled with it, you can try and get your body used to it by sticking to that distance.
The purpose of trail running isn’t to exhaust yourself after a few runs, but to get in as many steadily paced runs as possible. This is what increases your stamina and endurance, which is what you’d be aiming for, anyway.
Benefits of Trail Running
Trail running isn’t a very intense workout, but it does involve using different parts of your body in different ways. For example, because your core muscles are near your abdomen, the need for balance involved in trail running will give you a good core workout and improve your overall fitness.
It’s also great in terms of how dynamic it is. Trails are almost never the same, so every time you go trail running, you may find a different kind of path. You may push yourself up a steep slope, or you may go speeding down it. If you want to just chill at the side of the trail, that works too!
The best thing about trail running is that you’re not getting the workout in the artificially made environment of a gym. With trail running, you get to experience the outdoors and see the different sights that you wouldn’t be able to see otherwise – especially if you live a city life.
So, can you go train running every day? Yes, you can. But you shouldn’t, because no matter the benefits, there is always the risk of burnout and injury which can cause severe long-term problems.
About THE AUTHOR
I’m a hiker, backpacker, and general outdoor enthusiast. I started hiking out of college while working for the National Forest Service, and have been hiking ever since. I’ve been solo hiking and leading hiking groups for two decades and have completed hundreds of small hikes and some majorones such as the Appalachian Train and the Pacific Crest Trail, and hiked on four continents. I’d love to share some of my insight with you.Read More About Peter Brooks