Fitness: Running Trails

Kickstarting a running regime can be hard. I always imagine myself pounding along with not a care in the world. In reality I’m a bit of a sweaty mess struggling to breathe.

At one point in time, I really did think that I just couldn’t run. It seemed much easier for everyone else and I just resigned myself to swimming. That was obviously the wrong mindset as I’ve since completed two half marathons.

The realisation was that I wasn’t going to be running anywhere quickly and just needed to take things at my own pace. I did however find a number of things that were helpful upon the way… and that included finding a good running route.

My optimum run is to be with friends or be taking part in an event. In both of those scenarios there’s something motivating you to just keep going. There’s an expectation or accountability factor that just will propel you along. The obvious problem is that this isn’t always possible. If you want to get better at running – you need to practice.

Having a good sound track to run to also helps and a one point I had even put together playlists with music at the great beat to the pace I wanted to run to – how’s that for keen?! But music will only distract you to a certain point.

Undeniably (failing good company) my best trick has been distraction.

A few years ago I entered the Bupa Edinburgh 10 mile event. I had originally planned to run this with friends but sadly neither of them could do it. I was incredibly nervous rocking up to the start line but thankfully was adopted by a group of lovely older Mums. The route was really really tough and started uphill. But it was up the Royal Mile. There was just so much going on that I was so busy looking at everything else that I forgot to think about it being difficult.

The route took us all round the Old Town which is incredibly hilly and ended with running up the edge of Arthur’s Seat. It turned out to be one of fastest but most enjoyable races of the year.

I took several things away from that race but mostly a determination to find new routes around the city.

I’ve written about my love of parkrun before and Crammond is a great bet for runners in Edinburgh. Even when the view is marred with fog, the route is still flat which is certainly a gift to beginners. Arthur’s seat and the Meadows provide more of a challenge hill wise and also afford some amazing views. Old Town when out of tourist season (points if anyone knows when this is anymore) provides some great challenges if you want to include steps. Whereas New Town has much wider pavements and provides lots of pretty houses to look at.

My favourite running route of all begins close to my house and includes coffee shops.

Stockbridge/Water of Leith Run

I begin on Saunders Street which leads on to the Water of Leith Walkway – this has quite a lot of leaf rubbish at the moment so can be a bit muddy.

Edinburgh Running Route

Edinburgh Running Route

I would usually run further but the path is closed so instead of crossing the water I head up Hawthornbank Lane.

Edinburgh Running Route

It’s then along Belford Road before heading up Douglas Gardens. I take the first left onto Rothesay Place/Terrace and round Drumsheugh Gardens.

Edinburgh Running Route

Cross Queensferry Terrace on to Randolph Cresecent, heading on to Ainslie Place, Moray Place, Doune Terrace and then Gloucester Place. I then take a right onto India Street before taking the steps at the end. Over the road of North West Circus Place is the all important finishing place – The Pantry. The source of decent coffee and cake (if you feel like you’ve earned it!)

The Pantry, Stockbridge

I feel like this route has a great combination of ups and downs, with plenty to look at. It’s a nice route for people just getting started with an opportunity for the fitter to include some stair laps. With The Pantry at the end it’s obviously going to be one of my mainstays for a while!

Do you have a favourite running route? Please do let me know about it either in the comments or over on the Facebook page!

Or you could simply pin this one for later:

Finding the best running trails

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