So, you want to try out trail running for beginners? No one would blame you if you wanted to jump straight in and find your nearest mountain or woodland, but trail running is known for being tough for a reason.
As a beginner, you should increase your training gradually. Always remember that running a mile off-road takes more effort than running the same distance on a road. It’s also important to pick the right locations for your ability level.
Try not to over-commit the first few times you go out on a run. Leave your ego behind, and get used to the fact that you won’t be able to run as fast as you can in a flat city environment.
Once your body adjusts to trail running, you’ll want to scope out the best trails to run in the UK.
Continue reading to get some expert ideas on where to practice trail running, along with some of the most unique and challenging trail runs in the UK.
If you’re new to trail running, don’t be shy about heading down to your local park or local woodland. Flat and easy trails are a great way to get started. Parks often have wide and well-groomed paths so you don’t have to deal with lots of rocks and roots when you’re first starting out.
Gravel roads are also a great option when you’re looking for a more mellow run but want to get out of the city.
It’s important when you’re starting out to focus on building your stamina over time and increasing terrain difficulty as you go.
The UK offers some of the most incredible and wild outdoor scenery in the world, which means it also offers some of the best routes for trail runners too.
Here are five of our favourite trails across the UK:
Welsh Coast Path, Wales
Distance: 900 miles
Explore beautiful sea views and coastal wildlife from one continuous end of the Welsh coast to the other. The Welsh Coast Path is nearly 900 miles long in total, so there are plenty of trails for you to explore.
Parts of this trail are remote and at times the steep ascents provide a real challenge. Along the way, you’ll find a variety of environments, including beaches, marshes and cliffs that add their own different types of challenges.
Pennine Way National Trail, England
Distance: 268 miles
Located in the north of England, this trail takes you through the Peak District and up into Scotland. While this trail doesn’t have huge hills, conditions in the moorlands can be wet, wild and windy.
If you’re brave enough to face the wilderness of the Pennine Way trail you’ll experience some of the most abundant and remote terrain the UK has to offer.
This trail also goes through the Yorkshire Dales National Park home to the annual Three Peaks Race. This moderately challenging run is a great opportunity if you’re feeling confident about your trail running abilities.
Cotswold Way, England
Distance: 100 miles
The Cotswold Way stretches for 100 miles from one end of the Cotswold Way trail to the other. During this journey, you’ll encounter large hills, picturesque countryside, and quaint English towns and villages.
Some of the ascents on this trail are harder work than they initially look, but you’re never too far away from civilisation if you need to take a rest.
West Highland Way Trail, Scotland
Distance: 95 miles
The West Highland Way is a popular choice among hikers and hill walkers but is increasingly becoming a favourite of trail runners too. Along your run, you’ll get to enjoy some of the most dramatic mountain scenery of the Western Highlands and Glencoe.
This trail provides a challenge even to seasoned trail runners, with arduous climbs over mountain ridges and steep descents. In total, the West Highland Way is 95 miles long and well-signposted along the way.
The Great Glen Way, Scotland
Distance: 125 miles
Offering spectacular views of Loch Ness and Ben Nevis, The Great Glen Way is a totally unique and unforgettable trail running experience. This trail spans 125 miles and offers a mixture of forest tracks, moorland paths and minor roads.
Trail runners can choose from either the High Route, which covers more mountains and hills, or the Low Route which is more suited to those new to trail running.
Your Next Trail Run Awaits!
The UK has plenty of incredible trail running locations to choose from and this list only scratches the surface of the trails available.
Always remember that running up hills and through woodlands drains more energy than the same distance on a flat road. Make sure that the trail run you choose is well-suited to your own running ability.