Running sets you free…

Beachy Head in Sussex, Dulwich Heath in Suffolk and Cadair Idris in Snowdonia. Just three of the most remote yet beautiful places to run in Britain.


It’s a sport which requires no introduction. The ease of it, being able to put on your sports bra, throw your tracksuit and trainers on and go and burn off some steam. Running is one of the most popular sports to take part in, particularly because of it’s simplicity and ease. There’s no membership fee, no need to drive anywhere so you can begin your workout, you can just open your front door and set off.


Indeed, studies have shown that in a world which is becoming more and more aware of the benefits of exercise to our health, both physically and mentally, it is clear to us that it is to everyone’s benefit that we should exercise regularly. In fact, according to the NHS website, exercise in women in particular has been shown to be up to three times more effective at reducing anxiety or stress compared to watching your favourite box set with a cup of tea in one hand and a biscuit in the other, for example.


But with the cold and dark winter nights almost upon us, it can be tricky to find the inspiration, let alone the time in the week, to dig your trainers out and go for a run. Being prepared with the particular running attire you may need could give you the drive you so frequently desire.

As the nights draw in, it’s important you remain visible to drivers and cyclists. A high vis throw over should do the trick. In terms of keeping yourself warm whilst on your run, a lightweight base layer should help, with either a fleece or a light waterproof jacket, weather depending, over the top. Be sure that your base layer is running fabric (for example like this) and not cotton, as this holds onto sweat.

Running tights or leggings underneath your shorts or tracksuit bottoms will ensure your bottom half remains warm with hats, headbands and gloves a potential idea for added insulation. Just ensure that you do not wear anything heavy as this will clearly slow you down, whilst also making your workout harder than it needs to be.


Just like anything you do, having the correct tools makes your job easier and more enjoyable. It is vital you have a good quality pair of trainers if you intend to make running a regular means of exercise, as poorly fitted shoes are a common cause of injury. Ensure you visit a dedicated running shop when choosing your trainers, as the staff there are trained in finding the best shoe for you. In particular, when searching for the right type of trainer, you should look out for:

  • If it bends easily and has a wedge of shock absorbing material in the heel
  • Your foot shouldn’t be too tightly snug in the trainer, as the heavy impact on the ground could potentially cause injury if it is too snug
  • Make sure it’s comfortable
  • Wear dedicated running socks as well as your trainers, as this will prevent rubbing.


As well as having a pair of good quality trainers, compression garments are an important item to include in your running kit, as they are a great way of ensuring your blood circulation remains at a healthy level and your muscles stay warm. Despite there being no study to prove applying compression garments, such as shirts, socks, tights and underwear, improves your athletic performance, it is common knowledge that keeping your muscles warm prevents muscle strain and helps to relieve pain from muscle stiffness or soreness. It is believed by many experts that wearing compression garments whilst running prevents muscle damage caused by the impact with the ground. Compression stockings, for example, drastically improves the venous blood return towards the heart, allowing more oxygenation throughout your body. Therefore, ensuring you have warm and bright clothing as well as compression garments, will undoubtedly make your running safer and more enjoyable in the coming autumn and winter months.


Running, particularly outdoors is beneficial to our physical and mental health. That old wives tail of the fresh air doing you good is not so cliché after all! In fact, numerous pieces of research show a high degree of connection between spending time in the outdoors and the reduction of stress and anxiety. It is common knowledge that fresh air increases your oxygen intake, which in turn releases serotonin through your body, a neurotransmitter, which is thought to contribute to feelings of happiness and well-being in our daily lives. Self esteem is improved, and goals are achieved through exercising too. This, in turn, makes your outdoor running sessions not only good for your physical health but for your mental state as well.

Not only can running itself improve your mental state, but to run in some of the most beautiful places the country has to offer is such a joy. Beachy Head along the Sussex coast is just one of the dedicated running and cycling routes across the country which offers fantastic scenery as well as the safety of a dedicated route to run along. The route is amongst the grassy routes of the white chalk cliffs of Beachy Head, and offers a sensational run of up to 15 miles.

The Howgills, in the Yorkshire Dales is another dedicated track running route. Lying on the western edge of the National Park in-between Yorkshire and Cumbria, the Howgills are practically untouched by tourists and are a runners dream, with paths intertwining with the grassy hills of the Cumbrian countryside.


In terms of improving your physical health, this is where running in particular is arguably one of the most affective sport to partake in. As well as improving your cardiovascular fitness in general, running is in fact one of the most effective ways of loosing weight and strengthening muscles.

Studies have shown that high-intensity exercise, like running, produces more “afterburn” compared to low intensity exercise, such as nordic walking. This means that even when comparing running with walking the same distance, you will actually burn up to 90% more calories when running, as your resting energy expenditure stays elevated after you run.

On top of that, studies have also shown that running can actually reduce the risk of cancer. Although it doesn’t cure it, there is plenty of proof to show that running does prevent it, as studies have shown a link between that of regular exercise and a lower risk of cancer.


Fortunately, with the increased knowledge in the past few years on the benefits of exercise for mental and physical states, this has seen a rise in the amount of clubs and charities on offer for people to join. Studies have shown when someone exercises within a group or as a pair, there is an increase in the amount of effort we put in. “” or “This Girl Can” are just two examples of these groups; website communities which are completely free to join. They offer inspiration and professional advice on running in general and training, nutrition and more. The websites also include personal accounts of young women who have decided to share their stories online, in the hope of inspiring more people to take up this unique sport.


Having taken all of these benefits of running into account, the question remains; why wouldn’t you want to get involved in one of the UK’s most popular sports? An improvement in your daily life, improving your happiness, general well-being and fitness as well as the potential of meeting new people in your local area and seeing some of the most beautiful places the country has to offer, but from a much more personal viewpoint. What’s not to to like?


Someone once said, “Running teaches me that I am capable of so much more than I ever imagined. It is more of just a means of getting fit. Running sets you free…”