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Running circuit in the great outdoors

Using nature to create your own running circuit.

Mixing gym and outdoor training makes great sense. In a well-stocked gym, such as Kelsey Kerridge, you have a huge range of exercise options, from free weights and functional fitness equipment, through to treadmills, steppers, rowers and bikes.

Meanwhile, running, cycling, walking or doing circuits outside gives your training an extra dimension – changing scenery. And as anyone who trains regularly knows, by adding variety to your sessions, you will quite often find yourself working harder and training smarter.

While most of your training might centre around the gym, it makes sense every once in a while, to get out, go wild and make the most of the great outdoors.

The woods, country paths and parks all make a fabulous gym. Forest trails are great for running and off-road cycling – when you are running off-road, your joints and bones make a softer impact on the ground, while something other than a perfectly flat, smooth surface will help you work your core a little harder.

Doing an outdoor circuit can also be a great way to mix things up a bit. It works different muscles; it makes you exercise in different ways, it makes you think about your exercise and the new setting stimulates your senses.

However, an even better way to train outdoors is to mix it all up. How about a running circuit?

couple chasing









Here is one example of a training session based around a running circuit but this really is all about free-styling and working with nature. Your training session should be based on principles and practices your use in the gym but tailored to the surrounding environment.

  1. Set off on your run, spend the first 5-10 minutes running at a pace that allows your muscles and cardio-vascular system to prepare for exercise.
  2. After 10 minutes, stop and do some stretching, then drop to the floor and do a quick set of press-ups, sit-ups and lunges. (3 x 10 of each exercise)
  3. Now do some varied pace running, if you have some markers, such as trees or lamp posts, change pace at each marker, jog, stride and sprint. Repeat this as many times as you want.
  4. If you come across a loose branch or a rock, then use this for some upper body work. Again, you choose the exercise basing it on movements you would perform with weights in the gym. For example, a branch might be used for a shoulder press.
  5. Run on at a steady pace, pushing yourself run a little faster than your usual running pace. Keep this up for 8-10 minutes.
  6. Stop and do some burpees and, if there is a branch or similar, do some side-to-side jumps. (3 x10 burpees, 3 x 20 jumps)
  7. In a cleared piece of land do some short shuttle sprints. You could use stones to mark out 5, 10 and 15 metres, then do 5 sprints to each of the markers.
  8. If you come across a branch that can take your weight, do pull-ups – aim for 5-10 depending on your level of upper body strength.
  9. Complete your run with some more varied pace running, again use nature to guide the pace. For example, if there is a bridge 300 metres away, aim to sprint to it, then jog across it, before striding out along the river path as far as the next boat mooring.
  10. Finish with some stretching, taking time to inhale the fresh air and take in your surroundings.

Wherever and however you choose to exercise outdoors, allow yourself to enjoy the surroundings and appreciate the very different impact upon your senses.