What’s the difference between ultramarathon running and trail running? Not much…except to be a trail runner you don’t have to run ultra distances (more than 26.2 miles) and to run an ultramarathon you don’t have run on trails.
The reason I’m making a distinction between the two, is that I am starting to realize that to enjoy trail running I don’t have to necessarily run ultramarathons or be training for an ultra race. This realization has come to me for a number of reasons. First off, my time is more limited than what it used to be. I just don’t have the time to be out training for an ultra. Second, I have been having a debate in my head about quality or quantity.
What I mean by quality or quantity, is asking if it’s better to have more quantity, as in logging more miles on a run? Or is it better to have more quality, as in shorter and slower runs to take in the scenery and enjoy the moment more?
This may be stating the obvious…but I’m beginning to realize to be a trail runner I don’t have to be an ultramarathon runner. The benefit of just being a trail runner is the time benefit. It doesn’t take as much time to run trails as it does to train for and run an ultramarathon. I can enjoy the moment more when I am out on the trail running and not worry about training or running at a certain pace.
All this depends on your interests and goals, I guess. If you want to run beyond the marathon distance in the mountains then perhaps ultramarathon running is for you. But if you just want to get out and run trails to enjoy nature…then trail running may be what you want and will enjoy more.