• 30 April 2020

Get fit for free – trail running

Have you made a promise to yourself be more active? Lots of us join a gym and plan to get fit, but after a few months we lose interest. There is another way! You don’t need to spend a fortune on gym memberships – you can get fit and have fun by doing loads of free outdoor activities across the county.

Explore Kent and Kent Sport have put together a series of blogs on the best ways to get fit for free. So if you’re up for getting more active, read on, and why not take a look at the whole series of blogs. This time we’re looking at trail running, the back-to-nature activity that will get you hooked on the great outdoors!

Trail running is guaranteed to make your run more exciting. Regular jogging normally takes you on roads and through parks – your typical suburban routes. However, trail running could involve running along a public footpath, or through a country park, and thanks to the varied terrain it’ll get you fitter quicker. Sound good?

Trail running is jogging with bumps, humps and uneven terrain – it’s an adventure. With this in mind, beware of uneven surfaces, mud and other walkers using your selected route. If you’re new to trail running it’s a good idea to pick a route that’s 5km or less as running the scenic route can prove to be challenging!

Opt for a trail run in a country park and you’ll find there are tailored trails that will be signed throughout, like the fantastic Run England 321 routes, which count you down from 3km to 1km with clear way marking – great for beginners. You’ll also get the added advantage of having facilities available that will allow you to grab a drink, use the toilet or even take a shower at some country parks. There is a good selection of trails at Trosley Country Park in Vigo village or Shorne Woods Country Park in Gravesend, and you can choose from a 1km, 2km or 3km running route.

If running through a forest is more your thing, then Bedgebury Forest in Goudhurst is a must. Running through the woods can be a really rewarding, back-to-nature experience and you’ll be keeping well away from the hustle and bustle of urban running. Bedgebury will give you all the fun of the forest with an excellent visitor centre where you can kick back and relax afterwards.

There is no experience quite like running in the great outdoors though; there is a good 6km running route on Toys Hill near Sevenoaks which will give you some outstanding views of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You’ll be able to pick the running trail up from the car park. It’s an area really popular with walkers and it is densely wooded. There is also a superb running trail from Toddlers Cove, Westgate Parks in Canterbury to Chartham which will take you on a straight, flat route along the River Stour and through the surrounding countryside – beautiful in the summer as it teams with wildlife.

Lastly, Ranscombe Nature Reserve near to Cuxton, Medway, is a trail runners paradise with acres of country park and farm reserve rich in wildflowers. It’s a perfect place if you like running with your dog too!

As we mention it, trail running is an ideal opportunity to enhance dog walking. People tell us they love trail running with their dog! If you’re looking for great trails to take your dog on, take a look at dogfit or joggydoggy – they’re both a great way to get fit with your dog in tow!

If you’re looking for a more authentic running experience or you simply want to jog away from busy roads amongst a more interesting landscape then give trail running a try, and feel that fresh-air adrenaline rush!

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