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Trail runs for beginners – running off-the-beaten-track in the Netherlands

Edzo Boven

Trail runs for beginners – running off-the-beaten-track in the Netherlands

Running Collection by Pauline van der Waal

8

Tours

07:45 h

40.9 mi

1,375 ft

Trail running as a sport has rapidly been gaining ground in recent years in the Netherlands. Runners looking for more challenging terrain without too much asphalt as well as outdoor enthusiasts looking for a new sport are hitting the trails more and more.

Trail running similar to ordinary running, but much more fun! Instead of endless asphalt and straight roads, you run as much as possible on unpaved roads that are off-the-beaten-track. You run through the woods and through fields, jump over the occasional tree root and get your shoes dirty.

There are many advantages to trail running. As you don't run on through roads, you hardly encounter any traffic so you don't have to look three times when crossing the street and there are no exhaust fumes. At most, you can expect a hare or a deer coming out of the bushes.

When you start out trail running, you can expect to go a bit faster than a walker, but slower than a cyclist. That means the best of both worlds when it comes to enjoying your surroundings. You can cover quite a few kilometres, so you see a lot, but you go slow enough to take everything in.

The beautiful surroundings probably also make running easier. By focusing on all the pretty things around you, you can cover five kilometres (three miles), or ten, without even realising Still, the distance and speed you run is of secondary importance. You will probably have to walk some difficult sections or steep climbs.

Despite the fact that a trail run can be more challenging due to the altitude gain and trickier surface than a run on the road, it goes easier on your body. Your joints will be grateful for the soft surface and, by walking the last part, they get a chance to properly cool down.

Are you ready to hit the trails? I’m also eager to get going. But, it’s easy to back out on exchanging your usual circular through your neighbourhood for a more challenging route. That’s why I’ve put together a number of trail runs for beginners in this Collection.

All routes are fun and follow paved roads as little as possible. The distances vary from six to twelve kilometres (3.7 to 7.5 miles), without any significant climbs. I’ve also ordered the routes with the shortest distance first so that you can gradually build up your stamina and technique.

To completely switch off and enjoy your surroundings, you can download the route on your phone or smartwatch so you don’t have to worry about losing the trail.

And remember: of course you can just walk if you prefer. If it gets a little too heavy for you, or if the surroundings are too beautiful for you to rush through while you are running, then you just slow down a bit. Speed and time are not important. You should concentrate on making it to the finish line and having a nice run – have fun!

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    Intermediate
    00:44
    3.69 mi
    5.0 mph
    325 ft
    300 ft
    Intermediate run. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Some sure footedness required.

    This trail run is not that long - just under six kilometers - but no less beautiful or challenging. Along the way you will encounter a number of viewpoints as well as large pieces of sand, which immediately makes the run a bit harder.From the parking lot you almost immediately dive into the forest, which quickly turns into heather. …

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  • Intermediate
    00:44
    3.82 mi
    5.2 mph
    125 ft
    125 ft
    Intermediate run. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Some sure footedness required.

    If you want to start trail running through the dunes, this route is a good start. Trail runs sometimes become quite a bit of a calf if you choose a run through the dunes, because you quickly make more vertical meters than you had anticipated. This route is a bit further from the sea, so you have to overcome less height differences.

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  • Intermediate
    00:49
    4.14 mi
    5.1 mph
    275 ft
    275 ft
    Intermediate run. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The Brunssummerheide is the largest heathland area in Limburg. The area consists of pine forest, sand dunes and meadow, interspersed with frog pools. Because of the variety you can make a fun and yet not too long trail run here.From the parking lot you first walk to the highest point of the Brunssummerheide. Don't worry, the starting point is …

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  • Intermediate
    00:50
    4.54 mi
    5.5 mph
    75 ft
    50 ft
    Intermediate run. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Some sure footedness required.

    If you're a beginner trail runner, you probably won't be covering huge distances just yet. That means that you can often only make a small circle. For that reason, this route does not start and end at the same place, but you walk from station to station. This way you can see as much of the environment as possible.The …

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  • Intermediate
    00:53
    4.91 mi
    5.5 mph
    250 ft
    250 ft
    Intermediate run. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The name of the Mookerheide reveals that this trail run runs through a heather area. But that's certainly not all. The snow-white hunting lodge from 1904 on the Mookerheide estate is also on the route. In the past there was a rose garden and beautiful pond at the front.
    In addition, the castle had an ice house. The ice from …

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  • Intermediate
    01:09
    5.95 mi
    5.2 mph
    75 ft
    75 ft
    Intermediate run. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Some sure footedness required.

    The Loonse and Drunense Duinen are a very special part of the Netherlands. It is one of the largest drifting sand areas in Western Europe. In addition to lots of sand, you will find woodland and heather here.It is a popular hiking area, but the chances of encountering riders on your run are also quite high. On the no …

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  • Intermediate
    01:16
    6.67 mi
    5.3 mph
    150 ft
    150 ft
    Intermediate run. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This trail run runs through the beautiful dunes of Bergen, towards Bergen aan Zee. Considering these dunes there are some vertical meters, but you do not have to worry that this route will be very difficult. With just over ten kilometers, the novice trail runner can also get along well with this run.You park your car in the Schaapskooi car park. Here you almost immediately walk into the dunes, so almost the entire run consists of unpaved paths.

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  • Intermediate
    01:20
    7.20 mi
    5.4 mph
    125 ft
    125 ft
    Intermediate run. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Some sure footedness required.

    Dwingelderveld National Park is the largest wet heathland area in Western Europe. In this Natura 2000 area there are two herds of sheep with a shepherd who graze the heather, keeping an open landscape. The varied landscape consists of wet lowlands - also called drenches - and high sand ridges. You see heather, forest, juniper bushes, drifting sand and more than forty fens. A number of these originated in the Ice Age, others were caused by peat excavations.

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    8
  • Distance
    40.9 mi
  • Duration
    07:45 h
  • Elevation
    1,375 ft

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Trail runs for beginners – running off-the-beaten-track in the Netherlands

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