10 reasons trail running can help you become a better hunter.

Fitness for the hills.

Whether you’re preparing for the ultimate hunting adventure or simply want to stay active, here’s a number of reasons it’s good to get off the beaten track and take your running further afield.

If you’re a pro at pounding the pavement or taking on the dreaded treadmill to improve your fitness, it’s all very well but you could be missing out on a life-changing trick. From dirt tracks to mountain trails and woodland clearances, there’s no shortage of different terrain to explore when training for your next hunting adventure. Not only that, you’ll have the added sense of freedom and adventure that comes with getting out into the countryside which ultimately, if you’re into field sports you’ll constantly be craving. We’ve selected a few advantages of taking your training away from the roadside run and into the wilderness.

Just you and the open countryside.

Running along a trail can be a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of busy city streets. By changing up your route you can enjoy the freedom of running without having to stop for traffic or evade pedestrians. By eliminating these enforced stoppages it’ll not only make you a stronger and fitter runner but a more consistent hunter with improved endurance when out in the field. In addition, taking a quieter, less polluted route is a great way to ensure you’re taking in clean air.

Improve balance and core stability.

Doing endless amounts of sit-up and crunches is not something many of us enjoy whether you end up clambering up rocks, ascending up elevated hilltops or trekking through tough terrain, taking your fitness regime to the country will help build a stronger core. Simply running on uneven terrain of a woodland trail or moor where staying upright is a challenge can work the core hard. You’ll see the benefits by improving both your balance and strength when the going gets tough.

Lower impact on joints.

Changing up your usual running route from hard pavements onto grassy hillsides or dusty trails is generally more forgiving on the joints. Softer ground will help absorb the force of impact from each stride. This, in turn, will reduce the chance of impact injuries, aches and pains. 

Reconnect with nature.

For a lot of active people whether that’s sportsmen and women, hikers, hunters or countryside dwellers, a real love for the country comes from being among nature and feeling connected to the great outdoors. Although open fields can be hard to come by in cities, heading a few miles away you may find yourself striding across local parks or even hilltops and forests, surrounded by spectacular scenery and open views.

Improve your mental strength.

Running in the countryside can often be hard work and feel relentless. When taking on this type of terrain you’ll likely be working harder than normal, using different muscles to those needed for the road.

The chances are you will be running uphill at some point on a trail, sapping the energy from your legs and going around a corner praying that the incline will level off soon. These scenarios are similar to those that you’ll find when it comes to hunting tough terrain. The experiences you encounter when trail running will put you in good stead as you become more familiar and more adept to the terrain. Increasing your muscle memory and mental toughness, the sometimes unforgiving nature of trail running will, in time, make for a stronger and more dynamic active hunter.

Build Friendships.

Running alone with headphones in your ears while blasting out your pre-selected motivational playlist isn’t a great help to building friendships. However, you’ll find that exploring new trails and sharing these adventures builds real camaraderie and respect between fellow like-minded individuals.

Reduce Stress Levels.

Any type of running releases endorphins; these can give you an immense sense of satisfaction often known as ‘runners high’. When you mix this with the incredible beauty of nature, giving you a sense of freedom, the positive effects on mental wellbeing can be huge. 

Increase Leg Strength.

The benefits of running up and down hills are nothing new. It can improve your posture and overall running speed. Running uphill forces you to lift your knees higher and at a faster rate, which in turn enables you to run faster on the flat.

Improve ankle stability.

There’s nothing worse when heading out into the field for it to only be cut short by a sprained ankle. The very nature of running on uneven ground on trails means that your joints and ligaments are actually strengthened over time, reducing and preventing potential injury.

So if you’re looking to take your hunting to the next level, perhaps consider the benefits of hunting down a trail run!