Rosiemadeathing running

Rosie Made a Thing

There’s nothing worse than paying money to join an expensive gym, then running on the spot on a boring machine, while watching depressing news, in order to ‘get fit’. Far better is to combine running (or just walking if you prefer) out in the natural world. You then don’t just get the physical benefits, but also enjoy the mental health benefits of being in the fresh air.

As long as you progress gradually, running is pretty safe as long as you’re fairly fit to start with. If not, then just walk for the same (albeit slower) benefits. It’s important to check for safe routes (not near traffic) and invest in good hi-glow waterproofs, so you’re seen in the dark or murky weather.

choosing sustainable runner’s clothing

organic cotton tee

Running gear tends to be more comfortable than standard clothes, but you don’t have to buy into trends, organic cotton joggers and a tee will suffice. SochSoch (use coupon code ENGLANDNATURALL for 10% discount) makes fitted organic cotton t-shirts, for men, women and children, sent in plastic-free packaging. All have outdoorsy themes of running, hiking, biking, sailing and beach. Hoodies contain recycled polyester so if used, wash in a microplastic catcher.

Organic cotton costs a little more, but it’s better for the planet as it is free from chemicals and pesticides that harm water supplies and wildlife (and farmers who grow the cotton don’t have to wear uncomfortable protective clothing in hot weather) As fibres have not been treated by chemicals, they tend to last longer too, which means savign money long-term.

invest in good vegan running shoes

good guys running shoes

Good Guys Go Vegan (coupon code englandnaturally for 20 Euros discount) offers ethically-made running shoes in quality breathable materials. Made ethically in Italy, these will last you years. As most quality vegan shoes are sold online, visit the shoe shop to get your feet measured (or measure your own feet) to avoid the hassle of returns. If you’re a half-size, usually order the bigger size (feet swell when running and you’ll likely be wearing socks). But it’s best to find exact size for other shoes (a case of trial and error  as European brands don’t offer half sizes).

Fiona Oakes is an amazing woman. Missing one kneecap, she nevertheless trained to become a firefighter. Then opened a farm sanctuary (running marathons to raise money). Then vegan running shoes with profits to help the animals. These have breathable water-resistant uppers and deep outside outsole lugs for traction on all terrain, and a storage pouch on the tongue.

tips for safe running with dogs

Jack Russell James Bartholomew

James Bartholomew

If you run with dogs, only do so with young fit dogs (not very young dogs as their bones are still growing). Never run with old or overweight dogs. Blue Cross has safety tips (check with vet beforehand). These include:

  1. Don’t run with brachyephalic dogs (short muzzles, flat faces: pugs, bulldogs, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, boxers, shih tzus).
  2. Check weather and paving heat before you go (if too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for paws). Use grass/dirt trails if needed. If weather heats up, stop and find a shady place and soak coat with cool (not ice-cold) water and give a drink. See a vet if you suspect heat exhaustion (dogs especially with long coats can even overheat in cold weather).
  3. Leave two hours after meals, to avoid bloat.
  4. Ensure good recall, so dogs don’t pull on harnesses.
  5. Carry a foldable water bowl, safety lights and poo bags (let dogs go beforehand, as running causes bowel movements).
  6. Rest if dogs are tired, then just walk slowly home.
  7. Rinse paws with warm water after running in snow and ice, to avoid toxic rock salt burning paws, when coming indoors).
  8. Give dogs time to stop and sniff!

running around the coast of Britain

coasting book

Coasting is a book by Elise, who after graduation had a nice nice flat, proper job and budding relationship. But she was utterly miserable, and spent a lot of time crying on buses. So sitting at work one day, she hit upon the obvious solution: she would run 5000 miles around the coast of Britain, with her kit on her back!

Over 301 days (with no running experience and unable to read a map or pitch a tent), she developed a fear of farmyard animals, cried on a lot of beaches – and saw her country at its most wild and wonderful. A book about putting one foot in front of the other (even when it feels impossible).

Elise Downing is a sea-loving runner from the middle of the Midlands. She writes various things on the Internet and on paper for a living. When not covering stupid distances by foot, she loves wild swimming and post-adventure trips to the pub.

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