Tips for summer running

Steph Callen, from Diss and District Athletics Club. Picture: STEPH CALLEN

Steph Callen, from Diss and District Athletics Club. Picture: STEPH CALLEN - Credit: Archant

One of my favourite weekend rituals is to escape into the countryside for a long run.

I feel lucky to live so close to a network of country lanes that, right now, provide such a beautiful and refreshing backdrop for a leisurely run and a soothing wind down from the working week.

The hedgerows are lush and green, the fields are starting to pop with colour and wildlife is in abundance. A roe deer and a weasel (I think) ran out in front of me last weekend!

I like to set my alarm and hit the roads in the early morning. At this time of day, you'll mostly meet other like-minded runners, cyclists, dog walkers and horse riders, who I find always greet you with a smiley 'good morning' and a few friendly words of encouragement.

Sometimes you'll bump into faces from the previous weekend – it's like a little club!

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If this all sounds just like the tonic you need, here's a few things to consider before heading out.

Whatever time of day you prefer to run, try to avoid the usual traffic rush hours...or at least when the local supermarket is about to open!

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While fewer drivers tend to use country lanes, some are undoubtedly used as rat runs, are narrow in places and without pavements.

Running when there's likely to be little traffic is not only safer but means you'll spend less time jumping onto the grass verges to let cars past.

And even on sunny days, always wear bright clothing. Those grass verges can grow high so make yourself as visible as possible to other road users.

Mornings are also best suited to those, like me, who are not fans of running in the summer heat. There'll be few, if no, buildings to provide cool shade, so take fluids with you, apply sun lotion or wear a hat.

Simple tips, I know, but these are common mistakes I assure you! And, because you're unlikely to find immediate help if a dreaded injury occurs, carry a mobile phone, show your route to a loved one, or – better yet – run with a friend.

Now enjoy our beautiful countryside while the British summer lasts!

Steph Callen is a member of Diss and District Athletics Club.

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