Chasing new trails and scenic pathway runs

beautiful scene

If you are training to take on the challenge of running an endurance event you will need to do some long runs and many foot contacts with the ground in training. In other words, you will carry out repetitive training in order to achieve your goals. The problem with fast repetitions is that it can lead to over-use injury and it can become boring but not if you vary your surface, your routes and the scenery.

If you're planning on racing on the roads, you will need to do some of your training on the roads but it will be of benefit to mix and match your surfaces and combine your road running with off-road where the surface is a bit more forgiving.  Your joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments will thank you for the relief of a softer surface every now and again.

That is just the physical side. Your psychological well-being will also be enhanced by taking your running into the woods, along the coastal paths or across the moors. Trail running is invigorating and inspiring. It will take you to interesting places with wonderful views and vistas.

In Britain we are blessed with a huge choice of places in which to run. Most of us can get from our front doors and out onto footpaths, bridleways and canal towpaths in the time it takes us to warm up. Even our biggest cities are strewn with parks and canal networks. Our industrial heritage has left us with disused railway tracks and canal towpaths and councils and National Trust keep them and all of the other rights of way accessible and well maintained. It's great to get out on a summers evening or on a winter's day and make the most of these tracks and trails.

However, there are a few obstacles that can get in our way. Apart from the obvious tree roots, boulders and puddles we also need to look out for other users such as dog walkers, horse riders and cyclists. Then there are the muddy patches when we have had a lot of rain.

So, if you are tempted to go off roading it would be worth investing in a pair of shoes that are designed specifically for the trails. Trail shoes don't need as much cushioning as a pair of road shoes and this is because the surface itself provides the cushioning required. They also require less stability because your foot needs to be free to react to the uneven surfaces naturally. A trail shoe concentrates on durability and protection so you should notice extra grip and a more water resistant upper.

You should also research the route before you set off. If you are going to be tackling any high ground it is important to carry extra kit, including a waterproof jacket, phone, a compass and a map (as long as you know how to use them!) The weather can close in quickly on the high ground and visiblity can be difficult. Never go out alone if the route is remote or difficult or if you are inexperienced on this kind of terrain.

Just as you need to be alert to the danger of cars when running on the roads, you need to look where you're going at all times on the trails. You need to look on the path ahead of you for divets, roots or slippy patches and at the same time keep a look out for low hanging branches if you are in woodlands.

Trail running is more demanding and so is slower than road running and so you need to adjust your expectations for distance covered. If your training schedule tells you to do six miles and you know that you normally take fifty minutes to cover that distance, you should just go out for 50 minutes on the trails. Chances are that you will only cover 4 or 5 miles but that doesn't matter. It is equivalent to six miles.

The last thing to check up on is the country code. Be aware of whether gates are open or closed when you go through them and leave them as you find them. You should also make sure you use the stiles to cross any fences or walls. There is nothing quite like it so get out there and enjoy the great outdoors!