If you already regularly hit the jogging routes around the ‘hood, maybe it’s time to amp up your running, especially with the out-of-town trips left in your summer itinerary.

Doing your usual jog in the woods and on trails can be intimidating if you’re used to the uniformity of the pavement, but trail running has a lot to offer to runners both new and advanced.

Despite huge turnouts in popular marathons, running is essentially a solitary sport: just your body moving and exerting to get you across the finish line. This aspect is highlighted in trail running, where often, it’s simply one runner surrounded by nature, with no danger of speeding vehicles and air pollution. It also sort of plays into the recent health trend “forest bathing,” with researchers citing the relaxation benefits of being among plants and trees and breathing in the phytoncides they release. Just make sure that if you’re unfamiliar with a trail, you have a guide running with you.

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Run, rabbit, run: Hitting the trails instead of your usual urban jogging route can help make you a better runner.

On trails made uneven by protruding roots, rocks, and puddles, your lower body stabilizers, like the gluteus medius and minimus and the tibialis anterior, are constantly challenged, which is great as most gym-based workouts rarely target these small muscles. The core is also constantly engaged as you keep your balance on a changing terrain, and you’re focused on what your feet are landing on and how you are actually running.

All these result to increased strength and speed—although walking up steeper inclines is perfectly acceptable in trail running. Plus, unlike on concrete pavements, running on packed earth is easier on the joints.

On May 6 to 7, veteran trail runners and experts Thumbie Remigio, Manolito Divina, Alex Yap, Simon Sandoval, Sandi Menchi, Asia’s Wonderwoman and international athlete Jeri Chua, and more will head the Pilipinas Trail Running Camp II. Sponsored by Merrell, the camp will be held at Basekamp Pintong Bocaue, Rizal.

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Here, participants will learn about the fundamentals of trail running, from techniques on trail and hill running to proper gear, nutrition, training, first aid, and heat/hydration management.

Those interested to join can register online at RaceYaya. The Php2,500 regirstration fee is inclusive of overnight accommodation, meals for the entire weekend camp, an event shirt, and other freebies. Check the Merrell Facebook page as well for more details.

Header image from Unsplash. Additional photos courtesy of Merrell.