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Trail running: What does it really mean?

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Definition trail running – dirt not roads

Trail running is a popular activity for the summer season. Contrary to popular belief and widespread notions, you don’t have to have mountains for trail running. Trail running can in fact be done everywhere. It is considered a “trail run” when you are not on surfaced, paved, sealed or asphalt roads. For trail running, it’s all about the movement outdoors in nature in fresh air. 

Trail running can in fact be done everywhere

While for road running or on sealed paths, standardized values such as distance, running pace or heart rate are frequently the focus, for trail running the experience itself takes center stage.  The obstacles and the terrain are constantly changing – first you’re on rocks, then on grass, occasionally over roots, and in between it may go up and then go down. On a trail, both your body and soul are alert and challenged.

Mountain running is one type of trail running

Trail running is often nothing other than just running. But in athletic trail running, you can switch between running and walking on big climbs. As they say: The journey is the goal. Since you move more quickly on off-road runs than when hiking, longer adventures are possible. With the correct equipment such as trail running shoes, performance apparel, and a pack, you can easily spend the entire day out trail running. Of course, with provisions and a rain jacket packed along just in case – it can let loose at any time.

The length of the route for a trail run is not really important

10k, half-marathon, marathon – For road runners and races, it is quite often that a lot of runners are focused on time and speed. For example, there are marathon courses that are considered particularly “fast,” such as Chicago, London or Paris, and others such as the legendary New York Marathon that are considered “slower.”  These events can be compared to each other because they are similar in distance and overall difficulty, but when it comes to trail running, races can never be compared to each other.

Trail running races can never be compared to each other

In trail running, the terrain simply differs too greatly to compare any two races.  For example, flowing and gentle compared to technical terrain and the amount of elevation change differ drastically from trail to trail. For a trail run of 30 kilometers an experienced trail runner may need just three hours, but he or she could need five if the course is really technically challenging. Trail Running is an unpredictable sport, which makes being outside and, on the trails, that much more exciting.

"Ultrarunning" – Running 42k and beyond

“To run an ultra just once, that was my biggest goal.” These are the types of words coming from died-in-the-wool running athletes that you love to hear. But what is really an ultrarun?


According to Wikipedia's definition and according to guidelines from the international athletics association, ultraruns or ultramarathons are running events on a course that is longer than the 42.195k or 26.2 miles, a marathon distance. But even among associations, ultrarunning is not a clearly defined event such as sprints, or middle- or long-distance running. In general, you can say this: Anything longer than the traditional marathon is an ultra.

Along 100k on a flat road it can become quite “boring,” which is why you often hear that ultra-runners are able to find themselves deep in thought while running. More and more endurance athletes want to take on the challenge of 50k or longer, which is why competitive races and athletes in this segment have developed enormously. Often with ultra-marathons, it’s less about the distance itself, as it is more about running the course and routes. Once around the highest peak in Austria, up onto the summit of the Zugspitze, or across the Alps in several stages are just a few examples. One of the most popular races amongst ultra-runners, is the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, also known as the UTMB. This race covers approximately 170k and has 10,000 meters of climbing - the fastest runners who have attempted this race have finished in less than 20 hours!


For those trail runners with the highest ambitions, a UTMB finish may always remain just a dream, as it is not an easy race. For us at DYNAFIT, we think trail running stands for one thing: Enjoying the movement outdoors in nature!

Ultra run – more variety in the terrain