As a runner, flexibility is one of your most important skills. Not the touch-your-toes-without-bending-your-knees type of flexibility, though that is admirable. Rather, the flexibility in where you run. Some runners love open roads and exclude all else. Others will only use a treadmill, their soles never in contact with asphalt. Still others enjoy unpredictable trails, chancing roots, rodent holes and rocks for the love of forest scenery.

All three types of training have benefits and challenges. Here they are and the how the "triple-threat" runner uses them:

Road Running:

The Benefits:

  • Most road races run on paved roadways, so if you plan to run races, your best bet is to practice where you will compete.
  • There are roads everywhere in civilization, so no matter where you travel, you can find a road to run on.
  • Running the roads while visiting a new place is a great sightseeing option.

The Challenges:

  • Roads are not measured for you, so if you are in a new town or don't have access to your running app or a mileage tracking device, you won't know your exact mileage.
  • You won't know where the road takes you, and there is potential danger in running through high-crime neighborhoods or just getting lost.
  • If you become tired, injured or severe weather threatens, there is no place to stop safely.

Trail Running:

The Benefits:

  • Trail running is a challenge to the entire body. You climb up and down hills and varying surfaces, using different muscle groups in the legs and back that are not used on flat surfaces.
  • It's hard to get bored when you have to concentrate so hard on working the run.
  • Cyclists and motorized vehicles are not a hazard on a trail run.

The Challenges:

  • Trails are well-maintained or rutted and unreliable. Injury to the inexperienced trail runner is always a possibility.
  • Your standard road running shoes are not adequate; if you plan to run trails frequently, you may need to invest in trail or all-terrain shoes, which have more cushioning and lugged soles.
  • Trails in wooded areas present issues with wild animals and bugs.

Treadmill Running:

The Benefits:

  • Weather, road conditions, pests and wild beasts are not a problem when you run indoors.
  • You control the time, speed, incline level and distance on a comfortable running surface.
  • There are no excuses with a treadmill in your living room. The power to exercise is in your face every day.

The Challenges:

  • Boredom is a problem. Other than music and TV, there is not much to look at while on a treadmill.
  • Power outages and mechanical issues literally stop a treadmill in its tracks.
  • Treadmills are not cheap and take up space in your home, unless you get in your car, and head out to work out at the gym. It comes down to buying the equipment vs. paying monthly to use it somewhere else.

 The opportunity to use all three workouts (try road running three days a week, a trail run on the weekends and the treadmill option on vacation, during business trips or a run of bad weather) provides balance, variety and strength training.

No matter your preference, Yes.Fit works anytime and everywhere. Yes.Fit's app works on iPhone or Android, so your morning road run is The Race to Oz, Blue Ridge Mountain Run, the Pacific Coast Highway Race or any run in the real or fantastic world.

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