What are the differences between walking, hiking and trail running

What are the differences between walking, hiking and trail running

Walking, hiking and trail running are all types of physical exercise. They all require you to move your feet in order to walk, hikeing or run. However, there are some essential differences between walking, hiking and trail running.

Walking is the most common form of exercise that people perform. Walking can be performed as a form of exercise on a treadmill or outside on a trail. In addition to walking as a route to improve cardiovascular fitness, it is also used as an alternative activity for people with disabilities who have trouble using their legs due to injury or illness.

Hiking is more strenuous than walking with the goal of covering longer distances over various terrain types while carrying all of your supplies with you including food and water (provided by someone else). Hiking requires more strength and endurance than walking because it requires heavier loads on your back and sometimes uphill terrain, which requires more breathing energy than flat ground.

Trail running involves walking or running on trails where there are obstacles such as streams or rocks along the way which may require skill in balance or navigation skills depending on how difficult they are; this type of training helps build


Walking is a fundamental term that we use almost every day in our day-to-day lives. But in reality, there are different types of walking depending on the need of the individual. The difference depends on the form you use while walking. Let’s take a look at some of these different types of walking:

  1. BRISK WALKING: Brisk walking is a very popular form of cardio exercise. Brisk walking means walking fast but not as fast as running. According to Paul Agent of Walking Academy, when you go for a brisk walk, you will start to feel a little breathless, although you should still be able to hold down a conversation. It’s advisable to do some stretching before starting as the speed of walking is faster than the usual speed of your walking and it increases the risk of injuries. 
  2. POWER WALKING: power walking is the same as brisk walking but the only difference is that it requires moving your hands while walking fast. In that way, it is effective for both legs and arms joints. Both brisk walking, as well as power walking, is done by middle-aged people for whom running is difficult and these two are the best alternatives.
  3. RACE WALKING: Race walking is a sport and is also included in all competitions and races. For race walking, it is compulsory for the athletes to always be in touch with the ground while walking fast. The leg which is leading can’t bend and has to be straightened while the back foot needs to be in constant touch with the ground.


Hiking is an activity that involves walking while enjoying nature. Some prefer to walk alone but other than that, there are also many hiking clubs and groups that organize hikes on weekends or holidays. The walking distance for hiking can go up from 12 km to 32 km depending on the duration and time of the hike. Hiking follows a planned route. Some country sides even have hiking trails specifically designed for hiking. Hiking is one of the most famous sports activities and is perfect for maintaining physical fitness. It doesn’t even require any equipment.  Hiking is of three types:

  1. DAY HIKING: Day hiking is usually done in the mornings and before the day gets over. It can be a simple walk in the woods or the lap of nature. As it’s just a one-day hike, hikers start returning before the sunset as it becomes difficult to hike in the dark. There is also something called transfer hike in which the person can move from one trail to another using some vehicle and thus can come back before dark.
  2. SUMMIT HIKING: As evident from its name, summit hiking means climbing a mountain or summit. It can be a difficult hike as it requires a lot of stamina and physical fitness but it’s perfect for people who enjoy difficult trails. Again, there is a term called peak-bagging which includes multiple peaks hiking. Summit hiking should be done only if the individual has enough experience and knows the route properly.
  3. LONG-DISTANCE HIKING: Last but not least is long-distance hiking. Long-distance can include going from one city to another by walking. A lot of planning and preparation is needed for long-distance hiking and might go from day to even a month.


In simple terms, train running is running but done in the lap of nature. Experience matters the most in trail running as there can be a lot of situations that can be handled only with experience. During trail running, the path is constantly changing. It goes from rough terrains to grass to rocky to plain areas. Sometimes, the path is also steep. One has to be alert always while running. Trail running doesn’t necessarily need to be on mountains. All it requires for trail running is for the surface to not be leveled. Mountain running is also a type of trail running. Mountain running is usually done by athletes to improve stamina. The trail keeps changing from mountain to plain. Mountain trail running requires a lot of equipment, especially proper shoes. One always needs to be hydrated so carrying water is a must. The time to cover a distance depends on the type of course. The time can increase drastically depending on the difficulty level of the trail.

Ultrarun: According to Wikipedia, ultra runs or ultramarathons are running events on a course that is longer than the 42.195k or 26.2 miles, a marathon distance. Ultrarunning is more about how the course is rather than the distance. The path of ultra runs usually has a lot of changes from one course to another. Ultraruns are usually for people who have a high stamina level and enjoy difficult courses. A lot of practice and training are required to undertake the challenge of ultramarathons.