With a UK running population of 10.5 million, it seems we are embracing the outdoors as a nation, even with the problem of our fickle weather! The chances are you might even have taken up the daily routine yourself. But if you’re sticking to the streets or the treadmill, you might be doing yourself a disservice. There are so many other terrains you could run on, each offering different benefits to your running routine. Grow bag supplier Compost Direct explores further.


Ah, beach days. Do you remember getting to the beach as a kid and being super-excited to jump in the sea? Waiting for your parents to finish setting up the parasol and towels so one of them could come with you to splash in the ocean, it’s no wonder many of us took off running through the sand to get into the cool water as soon as possible!

different terrains

Remember how strange it was to run on sand? It’s certainly difficult to say the least. And you can channel that added difficulty into your running training. The Running Bug advises that running on sand makes you burn around 30% more calories than running on the path. This is because you have to compensate for the sand sinking beneath your feet! Plus, the beach terrain can be a little unpredictable; get ready to jump over whatever the tide has pulled ashore, or push yourself up the sand dunes! The site also recommends running barefoot in the sand, because you not only reduce the pressure on your lower joints, but you improve your foot muscles and calf strength.

Be mindful of your limits when you first set off! Run Britain advises any wannabe-beach runners to add sand-running to their regime gradually or risk an Achilles tendon injury.


Grass-running can reduce the impact of running. The turf will offer a softer surface than concrete or tarmac, which means your joints aren’t going to be hit had hard. Plus, it’s great for improving your balance, says Triathlete. Also, like the sand, grass is an uneven terrain to run on. As a result, you’ll be giving your smaller foot muscles a good workout.

The same as with beach-running, make sure that you take it slow to start with. Incorporate it gently and gradually into your regime. Also, don’t expect to hit the same times on grass that you would on the roads — running on the uneven ground will impact your speed and times, so don’t let it dishearten you. This is about building strength, not speed.


Don’t let the colder months put you off your schedule. The snow is just another terrain to change up your training, and when approached carefully, it can offer great benefits. Plus, as Athletics Weekly rightly points out, if your running regime is more than a hobby, you might be taking part in some cross-country races. Cross country season for the UK is usually in the colder months, so it’s best to be prepare for any eventuality.

Don’t be disheartened if the poor weather makes your performance seem less-than-peak! The poor weather will slow you down, says Training Peaks, but that’s the point. Your body has a chance to rest, without losing strength. Running on snow is a challenge and requires more strength and effort than running on a clear path. You have to slow down to build that strength, and also to avoid slipping!

Your body will be working so much harder.Running Magazine points out that the cold conditions will make your body work naturally harder to keep your temperature right. So, you’re getting an extra burn just for being outside! Make sure you are wearing the right kit for snow-running, stay safe, and embrace the benefits of the cold.


Boost your health and wellness with a run through the forest. Like sand and grass-running, the uneven ground will force you to use different muscle groups than regular tarmac-running. And, like on the beach, the elements of nature will add an unpredictable spin to your route, meaning you’ll have to overcome surprise obstacles along the path.

Just being among the trees is said to bring health benefits. In Japan, the act of “forest bathing”, or shinrin-yoku, is very popular as a wellness activity. The idea is that being out in nature, breathing in fresh forest air, and simply being away from concrete, cars, and city noises helps to reduce stress and lower your blood pressure. Trail running is also hugely popular, as it not only makes for a better mood, it can also benefit your balance. You’ll also encounter a few different terrains, such as mud, grass, or sand, which will force your legs to work harder. Running through the forest has so many benefits, you’ll want to give it a try!


Do any of these new terrains catch your eye? Do you fancy a sun-bathed beach run, or a nature-empowered sprint through the forest?