Moving from road running to trail running can be a refreshing change for runners who are bored with the regular routine of pavement and sidewalk. However, there are a few things that will change and a few things you should expect.
Although you love your running shoes you have for the road, they may not be adequate for the trail. Trails have debris, uneven surfaces, slippery surfaces, mud, puddles, and obstacles that can wreck your road shoes. Trail shoes have rock plates (protection from stone bruises and rusty nails), closed mesh (protection from dirt and debris), a thicker rubber outsole (more protection and traction), and stiffer uppers (keeps you straight up and down when on a slant) to protect you from the elements of the trail. Use the 30/70 rule when deciding if it is time to purchase a second pair of shoes. If you plan to run more than 30% of your runs on trails than you need two pairs of shoes. If less than 30% of your runs are to be on the trail, your regular shoes will probably suffice.
The Good Stuff:
Some of the worst parts of running on the road are left behind when you hit the trails.
The Other Stuff:
Running on the trails can also be very challenging. You will need to consider some things carefully before heading out.
Although there are pros and cons to trail running, the reward for hitting the open sky and clean air is always rewarding. The challenge level often goes up which will mean the reward is larger. Check out your local sporting goods store for maps and information on local trails.