Connect with us


Dear Coach: How Important Is the Surface I Run On?



“], “filter”: { “nextExceptions”: “img, blockquote, div”, “nextContainsExceptions”: “img, blockquote”} }”>

Get access to everything we publish when you
>”,”name”:”in-content-cta”,”type”:”link”}}”>sign up for Outside+.

One of the often-overlooked aspects of training is the surface on which you run and the impact this can have on your body, your training, and your recovery. Especially as we approach the colder months—when many athletes tend to increase their volume—thinking about where you are running, as much as about how you’re running—is definitely a worthwhile consideration. I typically advise my athletes to “move around a lot” when it comes to surfaces, that is, run on all sorts of terrain, so let’s look at some of the different options as well as some things to watch for.

It might sound obvious, but some surfaces are harder than others, with the general rule being trails/packed dirt paths are the easiest and kindest on your body, followed by asphalt roads, and then—last choice—concrete. Asphalt roads are always going to be better than concrete, and I would always advise doing anything you can to avoid running on concrete as it’s the hardest on your body. There is one caveat to this, which would be: If you are headed to a race where you know the run is predominantly going to be on concrete then you will want to work some runs on concrete into your training to be sure your body is ready to handle that kind of surface. The same can be said for trails or dirt: If you’re going to a race that features a trail run, be sure to work plenty of time on trail into your training in the build-up.

RELATED: How to Train Specifically for Mountain Running

It would be an oversight not to mention treadmills here too, as they are obviously a popular run surface. While they are most definitely a great option, especially in the winter months and/or for speed work, remember that if you never hit the road or the trails, you’re going to suffer come race day. Do some “surface-specific” running in your key preparation period leading into your race.

There are a couple of pitfalls to watch out for when running on outside surfaces, which include:

  • Cambers: this refers to the slope at either side of the road which can seem insignificant, but running on a road with a slant/slope for a long time or repeatedly day after day can add up and cause all kinds of injuries. Be mindful of this and be sure to mix it up.
  • Even footing: while it can be super fun to get out on trails, gravel, or snow-packed roads, these surfaces can also cause a lot of slipping, sliding, or ankle twisting, so be as careful as you can be when running on uneven surfaces.

RELATED: Stronger Ankles For Better Trail Running

Obviously a lot depends on geography and the terrain you have available to you, but my go-to recommendation for the majority of your running is to opt for dirt trails or roads, as even and smooth as possible, to help you get the most from your run training and your day-to-day recovery. That said, working in plenty of miles on your race-specific surface is also important (when that time comes). All of these choices can help keep your training consistent and ultimately make a big difference in your run form and performance.

Marilyn Chychota is a USAT-certified coach and former pro triathlete who is now owner and head coach at Marilyn Chychota Coaching. Find her at

Continue Reading

Recent News

Personal Injury Lawyer Personal Injury Lawyer
Law19 hours ago

Finding the Best Personal Injury Lawyer in Lumberton, NC

Personal injury law is designed to protect individuals who have been harmed due to the negligence or wrongful actions of...

WhatsApp Business WhatsApp Business
Business1 day ago

Running WhatsApp Business with Pro+VPS for Android Emulator

WhatsApp Business is one of the most powerful tool for Business to manage customers communication. Running it can enhance the...

Civil Partnership Visa Civil Partnership Visa
Finance2 days ago

Civil Partnership Visa vs Spouse Visa: Which One is Right for You

Choosing the right visa to join your partner in the UK can be confusing. Two common options are the Civil...

Crypto Crypto
Crypto3 days ago

Staked Crypto – A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Ethereum staking has become an increasingly popular way for cryptocurrency holders to earn passive income through staking rewards. In this...

Ethereum Staking Ethereum Staking
Crypto5 days ago

Maximizing Ethereum Staking Rewards: Tips and Tricks

Are you looking to maximize the potential of your Ethereum holdings? Stake Ethereum using OkayCoin and take advantage of the...

Wedding Wedding
Wedding5 days ago

4 Wedding Services You Can Quickly Check Off Your To-Do List

Organizing a wedding might like arranging a large-scale symphony, in which each element must work together to produce a beautiful...

Luxury Shopping Luxury Shopping
Lifestyle5 days ago

Luxury Shopping in Ibiza: A Guide to the Finest Boutiques

Ibiza is synonymous with lavish lifestyles, sun-soaked beaches, and electrifying nightlife. But beyond the party scene and stunning seascapes, the...

Indian Brides Indian Brides
Fashion1 week ago

Top Trends in Diamond Necklaces for Indian Brides

As Indian brides gear up for their big day, the selection of the perfect diamond necklace is crucial. Diamond necklaces...

Snaptik Snaptik
Entertainment1 week ago

Snaptik: The Ultimate Tool for Watermark-Free TikTok Downloads

Snaptik stands out as the top tool for downloading TikTok videos without watermarks. It fights the issue of videos having...

Bedroom Bedroom
Lifestyle1 week ago

Refresh Your Bedroom: Summer-Inspired Interior Designs

Not only does June signal the midpoint of 2024, but it also signals the arrival of summer. With the changing...