Trial or Road Running – Which is Better?

July 17, 2023

Trial or Road Running – Which is Better?

Running is an activity that has been enjoyed for centuries. It’s a great way to stay fit, healthy and get some fresh air. In recent years, trail, and road running have become increasingly popular. While all involve running, there are some significant differences between the them. In this article, we will explore the benefits of each form of running and discuss the differences between them.

What is Trial Running?

How to stay motivated when completing a virtual fitness challenge

Cross country or trial running is a form of running that takes place on natural terrain. Runners race over fields, through forests, and up hills. Cross country courses are typically more challenging than road courses, with varying terrain and elevation changes.

Benefits of Trail Running

Trail running is a sporting activity which consists of off-road running up steep inclines, navigating uneven terrain. This can be through wooded areas, hiking trails and mountainous routes.

Trail running has a range of benefits. Some of these benefits include:

Improved Fitness

Trail running is an excellent way to improve your fitness. The varying terrain and elevation changes make it a challenging workout that can help improve your cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance, and overall strength.

Mental Toughness

Trail running is a mentally challenging sport. The terrain can be unpredictable, and the courses are often long and gruelling. Running cross country requires a great deal of mental toughness, which can help you develop a stronger mindset that can be applied to other areas of your life.

Disadvantages of Trail Running

While running cross country has many benefits, there are also some disadvantages to consider. These include:

Increased Risk of Injury

Trail running involves running on uneven terrain, which can increase the risk of injury. Runners are more likely to twist an ankle or suffer from other injuries when running on unpredictable terrain.

Weather Conditions

Trail running can take place in all weather conditions, which can be challenging for runners. Rain, snow, and extreme heat or cold can make running cross country more difficult and uncomfortable.

What is Road Running?

Road running is a form of running that takes place on paved roads or paths. Runners compete over a set distance, with the course usually being flat and predictable.

Benefits of Road Running

Road running has a range of benefits. Some of these benefits include:

Predictable Terrain

Road running takes place on a predictable course, which can be beneficial for runners. The flat terrain allows runners to focus on their pace and speed without worrying about obstacles or elevation changes.

Increased Safety

Road running is generally considered safer than cross country running. The predictable terrain and lack of obstacles make it less likely for runners to suffer from injuries.


Road running is an accessible sport. Runners can usually find a race or event nearby, and the flat terrain makes it an excellent choice for beginner runners.

Disadvantages of Road Running

While road running has many benefits, there are also some disadvantages to consider. These include:

Repetitive Motion

Road running involves repetitive motion, which can lead to injuries. Runners are more likely to suffer from conditions like shin splints or stress fractures when running on hard surfaces if not done correctly.

Lack of Variety

Road running can be repetitive and predictable. The flat terrain and lack of obstacles can make the sport less exciting than cross country running.

Shoes and Clothing

The shoes and clothing required for cross country and road running are different. Cross country runners typically wear spikes, which are shoes with metal spikes on the sole. These spikes provide better traction on uneven terrain and can help prevent slips and falls.

Road runners typically wear running shoes, which have a flat sole and are designed for running on paved surfaces. Road running shoes usually have more cushioning than cross country spikes, which can help absorb the impact of running on hard surfaces.

The clothing worn by cross country and road runners is also different. Cross country runners typically wear shorts and a singlet, while road runners often wear compression tights or leggings and a moisture-wicking shirt.

So Which Is Right For Me?

Both cross country running and road running have their benefits and disadvantages. Cross country running is a challenging sport that requires mental toughness and teamwork, while road running is a more predictable and accessible form of running. When considering which form of running to pursue, it’s important to consider your fitness level, personal preferences, and the equipment required.

Regardless of which form of running you choose, it’s essential to take care of your feet. Running can take a toll on your feet, and it’s important to wear shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning. Be sure to invest in a quality pair of running shoes and replace them regularly to prevent injuries.

Running is a great way to stay fit, healthy, and enjoy the outdoors. Whether you prefer cross country running or road running, there’s a form of running that’s right for you. So lace up your shoes, hit the pavement or the trails, and enjoy the many benefits of this fantastic sport.

Get Increased Motivation to Succeed with Fitwins

Fitwins offers distance-based challenges through our app, which can be downloaded on Apple or Android devices. These challenges take you on exclusive routes through famous cities from Tokyo to Paris, and everywhere inbetween.  

Developed by competitive long-distance runner Carl Ryde, Fitwins Virtual Running Challenges provide a unique and engaging way to track your distances covered and earn a well-deserved medal at the end of each month. It’s a fantastic opportunity to challenge yourself, stay motivated, and connect with a community of like-minded runners.  

So, whilst you conquer your road or trial run, reward yourself with the excitement and sense of accomplishment that comes from participating in Fitwins Virtual Fitness Challenges at the same time. 


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Run, cycle or walk and earn awesome medals


Not sure how virtual fitness works?

The easiest way to learn is to try Fitwins for yourself! The app is free to download, and you only pay for challenges you take part in, so why not take it for a test drive?

In the meantime, here are the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about how Fitwins compares to other virtual walking challenges.

No! We believe that flexibility is the key to fitness success, so instead of forcing you to complete a set distance, we let you set your own goal.  This means you can be flexible in how you complete YOUR challenge: so if you are smashing your target, you can raise the bar and aim for more. 

All entries into our challenge will receive a great medal, with a ribbon specific to the challenge type.

For our “iconic challenges”, your ribbon will have a unique design related to the challenge. For our regular monthly challenges, your ribbon will reflect the total distance you covered.

Running and walking ribbons are awarded based on 25, 50, 75, 100, 125, 150, 175 and 200+ miles. Cycling ribbons are for distances of 50km, 100km, 200km, 500km, 1000km, 2000km and 3000km. 

Absolutely! Not only that, but all the distance you’ve covered since the start of the month will count, as the Fitwins App syncs with Strava and logs all activities from the start of the month, regardless of what date you sign up for the challenge. 

If you are hitting the streets with your app activated, verification is completed automatically by sycning with Strava. You can focus on completing your challenge, and we’ll take care of the rest.

If you’re using a treadmill, exercycle or other stationary equipment for some of your challenge, you’ll need to log this manually.


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