Making your running route more exciting

Have you joined the running revolution yet? With the UK’s population of runners and joggers topping 10.5 million, it’s definitely one of our favourite ways to keep fit. But you don’t need to stick with the boring old streets and cobbles for your running route. In fact, running on different terrains can be a great way not only to keep things fresh, but to work different muscles too.

To explore different kinds of running terrain, we’re joined by lawn top dressing supplier Compost Direct.

A run on the beach

When you were a kid, did you look forward to diving right into the sea when the family went on a trip to the beach? Waiting for your parents to finish setting up the parasol and towels so one of them could come with you to splash in the ocean, it’s no wonder many of us took off running through the sand to get into the cool water as soon as possible!

Running in the sand was tough back then, right? It’s certainly difficult to say the least. And you can channel that added difficulty into your running training. The Running Bug advises that running on sand makes you burn around 30% more calories than running on the path. This is because you have to compensate for the sand sinking beneath your feet! Plus, the beach terrain can be a little unpredictable; get ready to jump over whatever the tide has pulled ashore, or push yourself up the sand dunes! The site also recommends running barefoot in the sand, because you not only reduce the pressure on your lower joints, but you improve your foot muscles and calf strength.

If you’re new to beach running, take it slow to start with. Run Britain advises any wannabe-beach runners to add sand-running to their regime gradually or risk an Achilles tendon injury.

Keeping it green

Running on grass is a great way to lessen the impact of running on your joints. The turf will offer a softer surface than concrete or tarmac, which means your joints aren’t going to be hit had hard. Plus, it’s great for improving your balance, says Triathlete. Plus, like the sand, grass is an uneven terrain to run on. As a result, you’ll be giving your smaller foot muscles a good workout.

Take it slow in the early days. Incorporate it gently and gradually into your regime. Also, don’t expect to hit the same times on grass that you would on the roads — running on the uneven ground will impact your speed and times, so don’t let it dishearten you. This is about building strength, not speed.

Winter is running

Just because the snow’s falling doesn’t mean you have to axe your running routine. The snow is just another terrain to change up your training, and when approached carefully, it can offer great benefits. Plus, as Athletics Weekly rightly points out, if your running regime is more than a hobby, you might be taking part in some cross-country races. Cross country season for the UK is usually in the colder months, so it’s best to be prepare for any eventuality.

You will, naturally, be slowed down by the bad weather. Your body has a chance to rest, without losing strength. Running on snow is a challenge and requires more strength and effort than running on a clear path. You have to slow down to build that strength, and also to avoid slipping! Also, Running Magazine points out that the cold conditions will make your body work naturally harder to keep your temperature right. So, you’re getting an extra burn just for being outside! Make sure you are wearing the right kit for snow-running, stay safe, and embrace the benefits of the cold.

Embracing nature

If there’s a wood or forest nearby, why not take a run through? Like sand and grass-running, the uneven ground will force you to use different muscle groups than regular tarmac-running. And, like on the beach, the elements of nature will add an unpredictable spin to your route, meaning you’ll have to overcome surprise obstacles along the path.

It is a health-boost to just be among the trees, even if you’re not running, so it is believed. In Japan, the act of “forest bathing”, or shinrin-yoku, is very popular as a wellness activity. The idea is that being out in nature, breathing in fresh forest air, and simply being away from concrete, cars, and city noises helps to reduce stress and lower your blood pressure. It’s no surprise then that trail running is hugely popular, as it not only makes for a better mood, it can also benefit your balance. You’ll also encounter a few different terrains, such as mud, grass, or sand, which will force your legs to work harder. Running through the forest has so many benefits, you’ll want to give it a try!

How will you be shaking up your  Do you fancy a sun-bathed beach run, or a nature-empowered sprint through the forest?