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I would be interested in some discussion.
What surface do you train on?
What surface do you prefer?
Do you agree with me that running on uneven surfaces make you a stronger runner?
What are your experiences.

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What surface do you train on? A mix of roads and packed trail with some sandy trail mixed in. What surface do you prefer? I prefer the packed trail since that seems to reduce some of the pounding on my 195 lb body Do you agree with me that running on uneven surfaces make you a stronger runner? I am not sure if running on the uneven surfaces has made me a stronger runner. It has made me a little less prone to the ankle twists etc that can happen from hitting unexpected potholes etc when racing though. What are your experiences.I usually end up on a course that offers a mix of packed trail and roads to help keep me off the roads as much as possible. I am just glad that I can get out on the roads everyday.
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- I train on a mix of asphalt, dirt trails, packed trails, rubberized track and a slightly cushioned indoor track.
- I prefer the trails for most running except speed work
- I believe the uneven surfaces are definitely good for you, like FB, ankle injuries are pretty non-existent for me.... knock on wood.
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Mostly asphalt roads. Some shorter runs on the treadmill.

I used to do trail runs at lunch; but, changed jobs and no longer have that option.
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Maybe this is why I have injuries. I basically train on the sidewalks in my neighborhood or the W&OD trail which is just like a sidewalk (in most places).
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uneven roads and sidewalks :x

I prefer peagravel paths that are even.

I like alot of mixture, but did have a little problems with that. I was actually sent back to the concrete roads as the uneven footing was affecting my knees. Of course, now with piriformis, they think it too much striking the same time after time is making me too rigid. :umno:

I'm starting to believe the surface hardness is not so much a factor as the uneveness. The roads where I live are too cambered. I used to be able to run on country roads that had a wide shoulders...perfect!
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I train on a mix of dirt trails and concrete/asphault surfaces.

That is a great point to bring up about training on the surface you will race on.

Another take on that is speed for 5k/10k road racing. The dirt trails are much slower to run on. It seems to me that moving my training to the paved roads helps me get better turnover in training which seems to help me bring those shorter distance race times down. My friends that run on the dirt trails exclusively seem to have a problem in increasing their 5k speed, even though they are much more fit and better runners than I am. I don't see that difference when we race on dirt trails or the distance is over 10k, but they scratch their head when myself and few others seem to get big improvements in 5ks. The common theme is that some of us train on the faster surfaces the weeks before the big races. (We do the same track workouts and LSD run.)

After a big goal race, I then move my training back to the dirt surfaces for a period of time to help recover from the training cycle I did on the roads.
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This is a big issue for me, maybe as important as surface hardness. It's really stressful to my feet and legs with the unevenness.
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I 100% agree. I got tendonitis 2 years ago from running on cambered surfaces. But I don't seem to be bothered by running on concrete or asphalt.
That said, I do most of my runs on treadmills, crushed gravel or grass. And I can see what X says about dirt and speed.
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85% of my training is done on a treadmill.

when i go outside, i have to go "outside" with a cell phone strapped to my waist no matter what and it sucks, so i'd rather stay inside.

that being said, when i am outside it is on asphalt neighborhood roads or park tracks or pea gravel trail. my biggest problem with running in grass or on trails is the very high chance i will turn an ankle while stepping on uneven surface or even on a stone.

i have run on grass exclusively once when coming back from a 4 month injury PT break; it felt very forgiving but i was still paranoid about the occasional uneven twist of an ankle.

i ran a half marathon on pea gravel after i had trained on the treadmill; i never even flinched at the surface until i got into the last 2 miles and i really felt the DRAG of that gravel surface on my legs.

uneven camber of the park track and the outside road that i run is a problem as well. i run and reverse this track to avoid that slanted feeling that just can not be good as far as posture goes. sometimes, i run straight down the middle of the roads in my neighborhood to avoid the dreaded camber. i ran my last 5K that way too -- i was down the center and everyone else was hugging the curb; it looked like they were hanging on for dear life :umno:
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90% of my running is on paved bike trails (asphalt)
5% on sidewalks (concrete)
5% on treadmill

I wish I had better access to natural surfaces but would have to drive too far out of my way to do so. I already spend too much time running/showering/stretching/logging.... :|
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I do the majority of my running on groomed gravel trails, but when I do run on the road I find it to be 'springy' and I get more push off, so my times are faster. I think running on uneven surfaces conditions your lower leg (achilles, that tendon at the front of your shin) more because they're constantly compensating and adjusting. Is it better? Maybe long term because of less pounding, but it probably wears in different ways.
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What surface do you train on? I train on a mix of surfaces: road, asphalt, track, dirt/groomed trails, occasionally on rougher terrain...My runs tend to incorporate a variety of surfaces- a single training run may include some miles on the road, others on forest dirt/mulch trails and a few on gravel What surface do you prefer? Personally I prefer the trails...easier on the joints and alot less boring... better scenery, wildlife, and more interesting terrain..especially on less groomed trails, you almost always have to watch out for rocks, roots and mud depending on the conditions to avoid ankle sprains/falls...time always seems to pass by more quickly on the trails than on the road Do you agree with me that running on uneven surfaces make you a stronger runner? To some extent yes...it improves your reflexes and coordination...I agree with the idea that trail running results in more lateral movement and strengthens muscles that are not used in road running...I found that after the slew of XC races I did last fall , I am alot stronger going into my current training macrocycle. However if you are training for road races especially longer distances, it is important to do a significant portion of your miles, such as your long runs on the road, to get your legs used to the pounding on the asphalt...not saying that you have to do all of your mileage on the road but rather there has to be a balance between trail and road miles
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What surface do you train on? Mainly asphalt, with trail runs on weekends - trails are a mix of smooth hardpack and rougher/more technical (rocks, roots, mud, etc.) Probably 70/30 road/trail. What surface do you prefer? Trails, no question. I lost the use of the track I had for the past 2+ years :cry: and I'm feeling the effects lately of all the paved-road running, in the form of shin & ankle pain. Unless I can find another track close by, I'm going to logging a lot more miles on pavement this year. Do you agree with me that running on uneven surfaces make you a stronger runner? I do think the more technical trail stuff gives you stronger ankles, in particular, due to the ever-changing conditions - it's rarely straight & level. What are your experiences. I don't mind spending some time on the roads in preparation to race on pavement, but I'm a little concerned about logging a bunch of road miles this year; the harder stuff, like tempo runs, seems to bring on more aches & pains. Hopefully by early '06 I'll have access to a track with an all-weather surface.
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What surface do you train on? I run on grass mostly, but on each run I hit the pavement a bit. What surface do you prefer? Dirt, grass [the kind that doesnt eat your foot when you run on it such as a nicely done lawn] Do you agree with me that running on uneven surfaces make you a stronger runner? Sounds reasonable. What are your experiences? After running on concrete, various parts of my body would hurt. Now, when I run on grass nothing hurts and I dont have to recover after any runs [*knocks on wood*]. Hopefully my earlier times running on concrete have not messed up my knees...
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