Trail runs can be adventures. They can be fun, allowing you to explore parts of the island which few other visitors will be lucky enough to see.. They can be a challenge, with a degree of unpredictability not found on roads or treadmills. Through pine forests and along cliff tops, join us on typically tranquil and traffic-free trails, with only the occasional intrepid mountain biker or a goat or two for company.
Focus on Terrain over Pace
Trails often have an uneven surface which demands your full attention, forcing you to slow down to compensate and focus more on your body rather than on your watch. If you're new to trail running, it's best not to fixate on speed as you would on the road, for instance. Running on an uneven surface is more challenging than running on an even one, such as tarmac, pavement or treadmill - make allowance for this and don't be concerned if your times are slower than on the roads. Depending upon your proficiency, your guide will let you know if it's advisable to walk the more difficult sections of the trail.
Trail Running Therapy
The release of feel-good endorphins from running is elevated when we take our runs outside into green spaces and onto the trails. As humans, we have an inherent need to be be amongst nature, which is shown to lift our mood and boost self-esteem. The more technical the trail (in other words, how difficult the surface is - loose rock, narrow, steepness), the greater your awareness of your immediate environment. This is part of the joy of off-road running, which can be tremendously therapeutic, allowing you to focus on the trail, clear your mind and drink in your surroundings.
Owing to the perhaps surprisingly hilly nature of the island, trail running in Ibiza generally also involves running uphill or downhill. As with the surface of the trails, this can have a significant impact on the pace at which you run, especially if you're used to running on the flat. One advantage of this is that most trails runs here can be used as hill training sessions, a tremendous training stimulus if you're not accustomed to tackling frequent changes in elevation.
Strength and Conditioning
Good trail runners are strong. The alternating forward and lateral movements you experience as you navigate the trail makes your body work harder to co-ordinate your movements and maintain balance, a great stimulus to develop strength and joint stability. And throw in some hills for good measure!
Trail runners often have a shorter stride in comparison to road runners, which reduces ground contact time and resulting impact forces, often perceived as being "light on your feet". This helps to prevent over-striding, whereby runners put their front foot down too far out in front of their hips (the body's centre of mass), which has much the same effect as driving a car by alternately braking and accelerating. It also helps to protect your feet from landing heavily on loose stones and hard edged rocks, (which are a common feature of trails in Ibiza.)
Reduced Risk of Overuse
Road runners are used to firm, smooth surfaces, which allow them to push the pace without worrying about where they’re putting their feet. This results in a repetitive movement pattern which, coupled with constant pounding of road and pavement, can lead over time to overuse injuries. Uneven terrain increases the risk of turning an ankle when you run, but in contrast your movements will be far less repetitive.
Equipment and Shoes
Trails in Ibiza are typically hard-packed, often with loose stones, exposed tree roots and rock. Your shoes will need to protect the soles of your feet from these features, while at the same time providing with grip. Aside from sandy beaches, you don't find many soft surfaces to run on, although some of the trails can become a little muddy if it rains.
Keeping adequately hydrated is important, especially in the heat of summer and/or on longer runs, so we recommend bringing water (or other drinks), plus any snacks or gels if you feel you need them. Your guide can help carry some off these for you (please check with us first).
In the hotter months it is advisable to use sun protection, even on cloudy days. In summer we generally recommend early morning and evening runs, with routes through the forest to make the most of the shade. A dip in the sea can help with temperature regulation too!