Trail Running or Hiking?

Probably one of the first questions when you see a trail running itinerary is “Should I do this or Am I suitable to do trail running in mountainous areas?”

 

Trail running is a very complex and yet very simple activity when it comes to exploration of new lands. It is very similar to hiking when climbing up, especially on steep hills, but the big difference comes on the flats and the descends. There you have the inner motivation to move faster and doing this you cover much longer routes than regular hiking.

 

Equipment for a one month running expedition.

We tried to figure out five reasons why you should consider a trail running trip in Bulgaria with us.

  • When running in the mountains we take less equipment with us – lighter shoes, lighter backpack, lighter clothes. Being lighter helps you to move quicker and effortless from one place to another. Being lighter puts a lot less stress on your body – your joints, your muscles and ligaments. At the same time your heart rate can vary greatly during the run so the heart muscle gets stronger and healthier.

 

  • When you move faster on the trails you can afford to cover much longer routes compared to hiking. So in this way you actually see much more of the mountains and the places where you go. Completing a two-day hiking route in one running day is something that happens very often.

 

  • When you complete the daily route faster you get more quickly to the hotel or hut. This way you have much more time to relax or to do extra things in the afternoon – like cultural exploration, city tours or other things that are a must-see but you rarely have time to do them. Or you just dream about that beer at the hut, but you know that you have to carry your backpack for several more hours – yes, it happened to all of us.

 

 

  • Covering longer routes, seeing more things in twice less the time compared to hiking means that actually it is a lot cheaper to consider a trail running trip. Often you don’t need to transport extra luggage during flights so you can even save some money on that too.

 

  • Doing a trail running trip that is almost twice as short in time than a hiking trip means that you are away from your job for less time. This way you can really afford to see more things on your trip or you can even have a few extra days for yourself when you go back home. For the same time as you would do a hiking trip!

 

Screen shot of the track of a long trail running day

And there we come to the question of self evaluation or Am I suitable to run a route? Many people imagine that mountain running is a non-stop self-destructing activity and that you constantly run up or downhill at full speed and you don’t see anything but the trail beneath you. Well, we have to admit that this is not true. In order to run uphill you have to be really well trained and to really spend a lot of time doing this. In reality you need to look where you step exactly the same as when you are going at a hiking pace. Actually you go quicker to the place of your interest and you have more time to enjoy it. And when the time comes to go down you often finish “the long way to the hut” much faster than when you carry a large backpack so again you get more time to relax and enjoy your drink and your meal. The truth is that most of the people who practice trail running walk just a little bit faster uphill and they run only if it is flat or not steep downhill. Many people that don’t carry heavy backpacks and heavy mountain boots can do that!

So if you love hiking in the mountains and sometimes you go for runs in your local park you are definitely suitable to try a trail running trip with us!

Trail Running Itineraries

Author: Lyuben Grancharov

“The World is a book and those who do not travel read only a page” (Augustine of Hippo). I enjoy filling up the page, called “Bulgaria”, both working as a guide and writing about the mountains of Bulgaria on this blog.