There are many examples of outstanding performances by female trail runners. Think of Denise Zimmermann, who became overall champion at the Swiss Irontrail, even leaving the fastest men behind her. And then there’s Anne-Marie Flammersfeld, who passed up even the fastest men by several laps in her wins in 2012 in four different deserts, each over 250 total kilometers.
We asked Tabitha Bühne about this topic. Tabitha is the running expert at Runners Point, a qualified media scholar with additional training sports and exercise, and a licensed nutritionist. She writes for all kinds of print and online media, and herself is an active, successful runner.
She holds the women’s course record in the 24-hour run in Schoenfeld, at 173.7 kilometers. She mastered six laps in the 2014 Transalpine Run. We asked Tabitha why trail running is such a perfect sport for women. Here are some of the reasons.
Women’s muscles are more flexible
Women have one advantage when it comes to trail running: their ligaments and muscles are more flexible than men’s. Because of this greater elasticity, women have a lower risk of injury than men – provided this effect is achieved through training.
Most women are smaller, lighter, and slower than men - their musculoskeletal system is less strained when running. They’re also said to regenerate more quickly and burn free fatty acids more optimally – that’s why they can sometimes outrun the “stronger sex” over very long distances.
Women have a lower risk of injury when running
Moreover, in contrast to men (according to a study by the German Sport University Cologne), women intuitively run at a “healthy” tempo, don’t overexert themselves as quickly, preventing acidosis and reducing the risk of injury. If women are more flexible, more robust, and “more relaxed,” they have the optimal prerequisites for the trails of the world.
There’s something else, too: According to surveys, women primarily do sports that enhance their health. This is why trail running is actually ideal for women - because it can fulfill several desires in a healthy way: Your fat metabolism, immune system, mood, and muscles are all activated.
The fresh mountain and forest air is pollen- and allergen-free. It does our hearts and circulatory systems better when running/walking than city air. Blood pressure, lung capacity, and arterial elasticity are also improved.
This article was published in the e-book by Andrea Löw and Andreas Butz:
Offroad – Mehr als Laufen: Trailrunning - Bergmarathon – Landschaftsläufe
Kindle edition available for €4.99
Andrea Löw, historian from Munich, 43 years old, is a part of the ASICS Frontrunner team and love trail running. She brings others closer to her passion for running in nature in running camps. Andrea Löw writes about her running adventures, among other places, on her blog Running Happy. You can follow her on Instagram at @alrunninghappy.