Road Races vs Trail Races

Road Races vs Trail Races

Having just completed the Superheroes 5K Trail Race, I thought I would do a post about the differences between road races and trail races.

Road Races vs Trail Races

Road Races

  • Typically on paved roads, greenways, or even highways
  • Pace for runners and walkers tends from 5 minutes per mile (the super speedy) to 20 minutes per mile (the walkers)
  • Easy to run/walk with a cell phone, water bottle, etc.
  • Typical distances are 5K, 10K, half marathon, and marathon
  • Training can be done anywhere – outside, inside on a treadmill, indoor track, etc.
  • It is totally appropriate to wear tutus
  • There is a good possibility you can go from the race out to run errands or grab a bite to eat

Trail Races

  • Typically off-road on gravel and mud – think hiking
  • Add 3+ minutes per mile to your typical pace – the harder the trail, the more to add
  • Go hands free – you never know when you might fall or need both hands to help you stay upright
  • Typical distances can be anything – although this is the first 5K trail race I have ever seen (usually they are longer than 5 miles)
  • Best way to train is hiking – so that your feet get used to balancing on the different terrains (mud, dirt, gravel, etc.)
  • Again – totally appropriate to wear tutus, but they may get snagged/ruined on all the branches
  • Most likely you will need to go home and shower the mud off first

Both are fun in their own way. it just depends on what you are looking for and what works for you. I am pretty sure I am a road race kind of girl. One thing I learned is that I need to strengthen my feet and my ankles.

Which type of races do you prefer? Do you have a favorite distance?



4 Responses to “Road Races vs Trail Races”

  1. I went trail running a few times last summer and really loved it! I think I might do my first trail race this June, so excited!

  2. I have never run a trail race but I do run on trails for training. And the hands free comment is so true! I realized this one major point very quickly 🙂

  3. I want to definitely do more trail running this spring and summer. I get disheartened by my really slow pace on the trails thats why I don’t do it more often but I need to get over it because I do love the scenery and feeling “hard core” on the trails haha. Maybe it will help with my road racing in that road running will feel easier?

  4. I so want to do a trail race this summer! I’m dying to try one because I love hiking so much and really want to combine both of my loves into one awesome event. I’m running over to read your recap right now!