You might have a favorite hill on your favorite running route, but road hills aren’t as steep as the ones you’ll find on the trail. They also lack the twists and turns that a small running trail will have. This makes road running a little less challenging and burns fewer calories.
Rather than run at the same pace on the trails, you can turn it into a good interval workout. If you have a short hill, try doing short, 10-second sprints up the hill and walk or jog easy on the downhill. Do 10 sets for a high-intensity workout. Longer hills can make longer intervals, so you’ll need to adjust the effort uphill so you can make it to the top with good form.
Running on the trails is also an exercise in mindfulness. You have to pay attention to all the obstacles on the trails, such as tree roots, rocks, and puddles. Not only that but leaping over those obstacles will give you a good spike in your cardio and muscles.
Hitting the trails can also be a nice break from the paved roads, even if you just jog or walk. You might not burn as many calories in an hour, but you’ll still be working your quads, calves, hamstrings, and butt as if you were running. If you already have the cardio fitness to run for an hour, you might find that you can hike a little longer and get a good endurance workout (per Hikers University).