person training to become a stronger runner

Strength Training for Runners

If you want to run stronger, faster and maintain healthy joints all the way to the finish line and beyond, it’s time to start lifting.

If you want to run stronger, faster and maintain healthy joints all the way to the finish line and beyond, it’s time to start lifting.

When we focus on building lean muscle and strong foundations, we improve running efficiency, stamina, posture and prevent injuries.

Whether you’re a big fan of training at home or you’d prefer to hit up the gym, the good news is strength for runners can be done anywhere.

What’s not to love?

What Is Strength Training for Runners?

Strength training, also known as resistance training or weight lifting, increases load to the joints and muscles which builds muscular strength. To build muscular endurance we would perform higher repetitions with lighter weights. We’re greedy (in a good way) so we want to do both.

Resistance training strengthens the muscles and connective tissues which improves both the mobility and stability of the joints. Strong joints equal happy runners (think healthy knees and hips).

An effective strength training for runners programme will be simple and repetitive. Once you get started, you’ll notice how quickly your body adapts to exercises (thank you neuroplasticity). So when exercises start to feel ‘easy’ we add extra resistance or single leg work into the mix to keep things challenging (and fun). Running and lifting weights is a recipe for success.

Benefits Of Strength Training for Runners

Weight training for runners can improve both running performance as well as longevity. You get two for the price of one!

Benefits of a consistent strength training routine:

  • Prevent injuries and improve posture
  • Sustain healthy joints and increase bone density
  • Build mental resistance
  • Boost power and speed
  • Work your coordination
  • Enhance neuroplasticity and neuromuscular adaptation

Running uses more joints than you might think to get you from A to B. So training compound exercises can be beneficial for working multiple joints at the same time which develops numerous muscle groups. Think squats, deadlifts, push ups, pullups.

And if you really want to go for gold, add unilateral compound exercises into your weekly routine to iron out any imbalances and work on your stability and coordination. Think single leg romanian deadlifts, hip thrusts, step ups, lunges. These can be a little bit tricky at times, but remember this is as much a mind game as it is a physical challenge. You can do this.

How much strength training do runners need to do?

Tell a runner to lift weights every day and they’ll probably run a mile (or five), but fear not strength training for runners only needs to take up about 2-3 sessions per week. The main piece of the puzzle is consistency.

Depending on your lifestyle and running schedule you can do 2-3 full body strength sessions per week (up to 30-40 mins) or 3-4 little and often strength sessions (up to 20 mins) focusing on load rather than volume.

Consistency is the most important aspect before anything else. Find a buddy to train with and you can laugh, cry and sweat together (maybe not in that order).

When Should Runners Do Strength Training Workouts?

Whether you come alive in the morning or at night, the time of day you train is up to you, but always aim to run first and complete your strength session after. Keep the strength sessions separate from those long run days or days when you might wear a running weight vest so that your body can fully recover.

Rest is key. Park your trainers and give them the night off. You’ll see them again in the morning.

Basic Equipment for Strength Training Workouts

Strength exercises for runners is all about mastering the basics. You need your bodyweight and a few pieces of equipment to get started. It’s a good idea to take it step by step, especially if it’s your first time lifting weights.

Before you add resistance to an exercise, practise it bodyweight first. Do everything with intention (this is a game changer!). Once you’re confident with the exercise, you can increase the load.

Basic Equipment: free weights dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, long and looped resistance bands, ab wheel roller and sliders.

In the beginning you can start with 3 sets x 10 reps for each exercise. As you get stronger, you can increase the load and drop the rep range. Maybe add an extra set if you’re feeling fancy.

Strength Training Plans for Runners

We like our programmes the way we like our bodies, balanced. A good training plan will have a healthy mix of anterior and posterior-chain exercises with room for progression.These exercises can be done with free weights or resistance bands. Ideally one or the other, or both for a super spicy session (proceed with caution).

Lower Body Compound exercises

  • Squats
  • Good Mornings
  • Single Leg Deadlift
  • Lateral Lunges
  • Step Ups

Upper Body Compound Exercises

  • Pull ups
  • Push ups
  • Bent Over Row
  • Incline Back Extensions


Bands, sliders and ab wheel rollers provide a great core workout for runners. Your core is a network of muscles that loop around the spine, pelvis and hips all the way up to your chest. It
is an energy transfer system that stabilises you as you run.

Core workout for runners:

  • Straight arm plank (isometric)
  • Bear Crawls (dynamic)
  • Reverse table tap resistance band
  • Mountain Climbers with Slider
  • Ab Wheel Roll out (intermediate)

Power and Speed:

Extra cool exercises for the over-achiever:

Single leg band hip flexion - Increases strength of the hip flexors and builds speed and power which translates to your fastest run ever
Slant board squat for bulletproof knees - Train your knees through their full range of motion for joints that can handle impact
Sled Drags (forwards and backwards) - Incredible leg workout for running and building strong hips and power

Remember, this isn’t all about the gains, your core is a 360 degree power house and strengthening your trunk is a vital piece of the puzzle to become a bullet-proof runner. A balanced diet coupled with a simple resistance training routine can see improvement in speed, power, balance and endurance in a matter of weeks.

Now you know your body will be in tip-top racing condition, you're right on time to book in some races for the 2022-23 season.

FInd your next race

People doing Fartlek training

What is Fartlek Training and How Can it Take My Running to the Next Level?

As much as we love revelling in the endorphins that stem from the ‘runner’s high’, every athlete knows the importance of mixing things up when it comes to training. Whether it’s a fresh route, a recent podcast discovery or new gear, nothing keeps us on our toes like hitting refresh on the way we run. The fartlek training method is great for this.

As much as we love revelling in the endorphins that stem from the ‘runner’s high’, every athlete knows the importance of mixing things up when it comes to training. Whether it’s a fresh route, a recent podcast discovery or new gear, nothing keeps us on our toes like hitting refresh on the way we run. The fartlek training method is great for this.

For anyone not familiar, fartlek training — or “speed play”, in Swedish — is a type of interval training that encourages you to "play" with surges of speed. Whether you’re a fartlek beginner or a pro, read on for all the benefits, the classic fartlek training methods (including the Mona fartlek), and how this exciting type of training can turn up the dial on your running game, as well as those dreamy, dreamy endorphins.


The fartlek method is simply defined by a continuous run, which encourages you to vary your pace and distances. Unlike typical interval training, recovery time in fartlek exercise consists of a slower pace, rather than stopping completely. The objective is to push yourself, physically and mentally, through short bursts of fast running, to harness your full running potential. That’s what personal bests are made of. 

Now for the science bit. A fartlek routine will work your aerobic and anaerobic energy systems, helping you to run faster. As you run at a steady pace, your body supplies the oxygen it needs to feed your muscles. In this zone, you’re working on your aerobic and cardiovascular health. Meanwhile, during the high-intensity bursts of running, you’re starving your muscles of oxygen, therefore working your anaerobic energy system. This is your fat-burning, muscle-building happy place, which results in faster runs. 


Fartlek training is different from other speed workouts because it offers more flexibility and tends to be less demanding. Take tempo running, for example. Like fartlek, tempo runs focus on enhancing your speed; but with tempo, this is achieved by running continuously and steadily around your anaerobic level. Tempo runs tend to be a lot longer and more sustained, too.

Fartlek running, on the other hand, offers way more in terms of flexibility. There’s no set route or pre-measured distance. From hills to parks, you can complete a fartlek workout on any terrain and you don’t need to train for a long time to feel it packing a punch. A Mona fartlek training session, for example, usually lasts around 20 minutes, yet you really feel it afterwards. More on the Mona method later. 


So, we’ve established that a fartlek routine results in faster runs, but what are some other benefits of fartlek training?


  1. Fartlek training keeps your runs interesting. From treadmill to track, the wider variety of terrains you run on, the better. Think rocky paths, uphill climbs and park jogs. These will all help to boost your endurance. Let’s get exploring!
  1. A fartlek workout boosts your lactate threshold. By pushing yourself to keep running without rest, you'll train your body to reuse lactate, meaning you sustain your energy for longer. 
  1. Fartlek training improves performance in other sports. The benefits of fartlek training extend far beyond running. Fartlek exercise can help boost endurance for all kinds of sports that require a blend of anaerobic sprinting and aerobic recovery periods – think football, basketball and tennis.  
  1. The fartlek method boosts your mental resilience. As every runner knows, smashing a personal best sometimes means a strong dose of mind over matter. As fartlek training encourages you to push your limits, you’ll find yourself breaking through mental boundaries more often. 
  1. Fartlek training is suitable for all levels. Thanks to the adaptable, flexible nature of fartlek running, the method can be used by beginners and professional runners alike. 


There are no boundaries when it comes to fartlek running. You can play around with varying speeds and distances as much as you like. Try picking a landmark in the distance – this could be a tree, a lamppost, a car or a park – and run to it at a faster pace. Once you’ve reached your chosen landmark, slow down to a more comfortable running pace to recover. Once recovered, pick your next landmark and run to that at a faster pace, and so on.

Fartlek training beginner? Try walking the slower parts, building up to running at a slower pace once you’ve got the hang of it.


Perhaps one of the most popular examples of the fartlek training method is the Mona fartlek. It gets its name from Australian long distance runner, Steve Monaghetti, who used this technique throughout his illustrious running career. Taking around just 20 minutes to complete, it’s a good one for when you’re short on time. So, how does the Mona fartlek method work? 


  • 10 minute warm-up jog
  • 2x 90 seconds fast-paced run
  • Recovery run
  • 4 x 60 seconds fast-paced run
  • Recovery run
  • 4 x 30 seconds fast-paced run
  • Recovery run
  • 4 x 15 seconds fast-paced run
  • Recovery run 
  • Cool down

Try repeating this run every 4-6 weeks so you can keep an eye on how far you’ve come with your speed and endurance.

Ready to hit the trail? Get exploring new places, boost your speed and endurance and you'll no doubt discover your new personal best along the route.

person training to run faster

How to run faster: 10 tips to increase your average running speed

Wondering how to run faster without getting tired? Follow these ten tips to get started. Have you reached a plateau in your running? Maybe you haven’t broken your weekly parkrun best in a while, or maybe you’re just not seeing results despite how hard you’re training? Don’t worry! It’s completely normal. Whether you’re new to running or you’ve been running for years, there’s many things you can do to inject a little bit of speed into your training - helping you run faster. This blog post will highlight ten tips on how to run faster, from weight training to enjoying a lazy day on the sofa. And yes, the odd bit of Netflix will help you run faster.

Wondering how to run faster without getting tired? Follow these ten tips to get started. Have you reached a plateau in your running? Maybe you haven’t broken your weekly parkrun best in a while, or maybe you’re just not seeing results despite how hard you’re training? Don’t worry! It’s completely normal. Whether you’re new to running or you’ve been running for years, there’s many things you can do to inject a little bit of speed into your training - helping you run faster. This blog post will highlight ten tips on how to run faster, from weight training to enjoying a lazy day on the sofa. And yes, the odd bit of Netflix will help you run faster.

How to run faster

Many people think the key to running faster is running more often. And while this is a good starting point, you should combine running more often with structured training for the best results. Keep reading to find out more about each tip, helping you increase your pace and break through that plateau you may or may not be experiencing.

Here’s our ten tips for how to run faster:

1. Many runners avoid lifting weights for fear of becoming “big and bulky.”

We hear it time and time again, but unless you’re following a proper “gym bro” training split and eating a diet excessively high in calories, weight training will only make you a stronger and faster runner.

2. Introduce interval training

Interval training mixes periods of high-intensity running with rest periods, whether walking or gasping for air. Interval training teaches your body to run faster, becoming more efficient and improving your

aerobic and cardiovascular fitness. Want to try a basic interval session? Run 4x 800m repeats with a 400m jog recovery between intervals. Aim to run these intervals above your current 5k pace, but ensure to sustain your effort to the end.

3. Add tempo runs and practice fartleks

Your tempo pace is a moderate to hard intensity that you can sustain for up to 40-minutes. If you’ve ever raced a 5km race, it’s a few seconds slower per mile than your current time. Tempo runs teach the body to run more efficiently, filling the body full of lactic acid and improving your lactic threshold (allowing you to run faster for longer without getting as tired). Fartlek sessions (Swedish for “speed play”) are much less structured sessions. Get creative with it - run to the next car as fast as you can, jog to a lamp post, run a hard effort to the next tree, and so forth. There’s a lot of “play” in these sessions but that’s what makes them so great.

4. Run hills

Ah, hills, who doesn’t have a love-hate relationship with these beautiful yet gruelling beasts? If you’re looking to run faster, we’re sorry to say it, but you should be running more hills. Hills strengthen the legs, the aerobic and cardiovascular system, and we’re about to state the obvious: make running on flats seem a lot easier!

5. Improve your eating habits

Wondering what to eat to run faster? If you currently recover after a run with a bowl of coco pops and a cup of tea, then improving your eating habits may help you run faster. Likewise, it’s not just recovery that’s important - you need to fuel adequately before a run, especially before heading out the door before a Sunday long run or those harder interval Sessions. If possible, limit processed foods (sorry coco pops), sweets, cakes, biscuits, and ready-made meals. Eat whole foods where possible, but remember to treat yourself occasionally.

6. Stretch regularly

Runners are known not to be the most flexible bunch. But even so, we know the importance of stretching. Adding as little as ten minutes of stretching daily helps prevent injury, allowing you to train harder to become a faster runner. You should also perform dynamic stretches before running and static stretches after running to improve performance and reduce your risk of injury.

7. Prioritise sleep

Ah yes, you may be upset over the coco pops, but you’ll like this piece of advice: prioritise Sleep. The Sleep Foundation recommends healthy adults get between seven and nine hours of shut- eye each night. Sleep is when your body recovers, repairing muscle tissue and regenerating cells. And in other words, good quality sleep is needed to increase adaptation - making you a stronger and faster runner.

8. Run with a group

Running with a group isn’t for everyone; some people prefer to go all Forrest Gump and run solo. And that’s absolutely fine. But running with a group is a great way to run faster with less effort. When running in a group, you can tackle an interval session for the added motivation or let the miles fly in by joining a group for a Sunday long run.

9. Stay consistent

Results don’t happen overnight. If you’re searching for how to run faster in a matter of days, we’re sorry to break it to you, but it’s not very realistic. Instead, you need to remain consistent with your training - incorporate a mix of training sessions into your routine to become a faster runner. Expect results in four to six weeks - you’ll only get faster from there.

10. Don’t forget to take rest days

Seen as sleep is so important, why not set a later alarm on your rest day? And if you’re thinking, “wait, rest days?” Then you’re in for a shocker. Rest days are important for recovery - paired with quality sleep, it’s how the body recovers. You should include at least one rest day a week, but if you’re just starting out, we’d suggest two to three, maybe running every other day, to begin with? Failure to take rest days increases your risk of picking up an overuse injury, prevents your body from recovering (and becoming faster), and may drain your motivation for training. So, do yourself a favour and kick back once in a while! Your body will thank you for it with a little added pace on your next run.


7 Reasons To Commit To A 10k Run

Given that a premiership footballer will probably run around 11k in a match, there’s no reason to dismiss the 10k. It’s about an hour running, and any exercise taken for that long without a break is not nothing. The fact that that only 27% of people can run (or will train enough to run) a 10k proves it.

1. 10k is a decent distance

Given that a premiership footballer will probably run around 11k in a match, there’s no reason to dismiss the 10k. It’s about an hour running, and any exercise taken for that long without a break is not nothing. The fact that that only 27% of people can run (or will train enough to run) a 10k proves it.

2. It’s a new challenge

If you’ve already pushed yourself to do a 5k, you like a challenge. And so why not take the next step and move up a distance. It’s not an overwhelming goal, but it is a new one. It’ll give you something to work towards and something to structure your life. Most importantly, it’ll give you something to tell your friends and family about. More than once as well.

3. You’ll get to a different level of fitness training

Taking part in 10k runs will not just like a longer version of a 5k. It’s an entirely different run, and involves entirely different fitness training. You can’t work anaerobically (without oxygen) the whole way as you might do for a 5k. So you will need to teach your body (new) endurance running skills. As a result, you’ll improve your health and fitness on a completely different level to a 5k race.

4. It’ll get your endorphins going properly

Once you’ve pushed past about 30 minutes of any exercise endorphins are released. It’s a pretty wonderful feeling. Even better if you’re running outside, you have people watching, or you’re training with a friend.

5. It’s still achievable

Even if you’re a beginner, with a bit of dedication you can train yourself up within 10–12 weeks very comfortably. Mostly this helps with injury prevention — you might be capable of running further earlier on, but you don’t want to overtrain and hurt yourself. But this way also has its benefits. For example, you can build it into your everyday life schedule and hopefully continue after the 10k event has been and gone. It also won’t take up too much of your time.

6. Even more health benefits

You’ll look great. You’ll feel great. You’ll even feel like you can treat yourself without the guilt complex. Running and training for a 10k will just do that little bit more for you than a 5k will. Take the simple route and go the whole hog — feel toned, fit and cleansed. All for free.

7. Why not?

There’s no reason not to. Sign up to a 10k run and you could really discover a love of long-distance running. Don’t sign up and never know. If you very sensibly choose to run outside, you don’t even need to invest in a gym membership. So go for it.

9 Best Triathlons in the World

Year on year the triathlon is growing in popularity worldwide. From super sprint to iron-distance, we’ve put together our pick of the 10 best triathlons from around the world:

Year on year the triathlon is growing in popularity worldwide. From super sprint to iron-distance, we’ve put together our pick of the 10 best triathlons from around the world:

Find your next Triathlon event

1. IRONMAN 70.3 Hawaii (Kohala Coast, Hawaii)

Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
  • Distance: Middle Distance (1.9k swim; 90k bike; 21.2k run)
  • Date: Sat 4th June 2022 / Sat 3rd June 2023

This  triathlon allows you to get a taste of the full distance Ironman World Championships course without the need to qualify (or double down on the yards). It’s not an easy event, as there’s plenty of climbing involved and it’s made all the more challenging by the Hawaiian humidity and heat.

The location is the best part of this event by far. Hawaii boasts some of the most stunning beaches in the world, with turtles and dolphins in the water, and volcanoes and tropical rainforests on the land. You’ll get to enjoy all of this as you push yourself towards the finish where you’ll receive a warm welcome by the spectators and organisers.

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2. DATEV Challenge Roth (Roth, Germany)

DATEV Challenge Roth Triathlon (Roth, Germany)
  • Distance: Full Distance (3.9k swim; 180k bike; 42.2k run)
  • Date: Sun 3rd July 2022 / Sun 25th June 2023

This event is the best Ironman distance triathlon around for a PB. It holds the world record for the fastest times at this distance for both men and women (Jan Frodeno 07:35:39 and Chrissie Wellington 08:18:13, respectively). It’s also the biggest triathlon event in the world, boasting nearly 5000 athletes in total (including relay) and over 250,000 spectators.

The event features a fantastic course, the bike has a few climbs to keep things interesting and the run is flat, but the real highlight for competitors is the support (pictured) which would rouse even the most battle weary triathlete to a strong finish.

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3. Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon (San Francisco, California)

Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, California
  • Distance: 1.5k swim; 29k bike; 12.9k run
  • Date: Sat 4th June 2022

Somewhere between an olympic and middle distance triathlon it’s not the longest event on our list but it’s also definitely not the easiest. The Escape from Alcatraz triathlon will put you through your paces. Inspired by a truly daring prison escape in 1962, after jumping from a boat you will have to swim through the frigid waters and strong currents of San Francisco bay towards the Golden Gate Bridge. Then follows energy sapping bike and run legs where you will encounter the infamous 400 step sand ladder. Complete this event and you’ll have bragging rights that few others can compete with.

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4. Laguna Phuket Triathlon (Phuket, Thailand)

Laguna Phuket Triathlon, Thailand
  • Distance: Signature (1.8k sim; 50k bike; 12k run); Sprint (0.5k swim; 18.5k bike; 6k run)
  • Date: Sun 20th November 2022

Not necessarily that easy to get to, but worth travelling for (and a great excuse for a holiday). The Olympic+ event is challenging mainly due to the tropical heat you’ll endure through the race, otherwise you’re competing in paradise. The swim is quirky because it’s cut in half by a small sand beach that you’ll have to race across and jump in the crystal clear water again on the other side. Lush jungle forest will follow before you run through the upmarket resorts in Laguna Phuket. After it’s all said and done, you can kick back and enjoy your holiday is stunning surroundings.

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5. Triathlon Alpe D’Huez (Alpe D’Huez, France)

  • Distance: Triathlon L (2.2k swim; 118k bike; 20k run); Triathlon M (1.2k swim; 28k bike; 6.7k run)
  • Date: Triathlon L (Thu 28th July 2022); Triathlon M (Fri 29th July 2022)

Experience high altitude racing at its best. How tough this will be will depend largely on how you can cope with the altitude. The swim takes place at 700m in the Lac du Verney reservoir which powers France’s largest hydroelectric power station. The power station is switched off especially for the swim, which is pretty special. You’ll then climb two separate peaks (Col de l’Alpe du Grand Serre (1,375m) and the Col d’Ornon (1,371m)) before taking on the iconic ascent to Alpe D’Huez with it’s 21 hairpin turns. Before you finish you’ll have 20k to run at 1,860m altitude! By the end of the event you’ll be a master of the mountains.

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6. Noosa Triathlon Multisport Festival (Noosa, Queesland, Australia)

  • Distance: Olympic (1.5k swim; 40k bike; 10k run)
  • Date: Sun 30th October 2022

This  is the biggest triathlon event in the world in terms of participants (with over 8,000 competitors). It’s a fast and flat event and super beginner friendly, how hard you find it will depend on how hard you push yourself. Distract yourself with Queensland’s stunning Sunshine Coast as you go between beautiful sea and rainforest. Triathlon is only one part of this huge festival. There’s a variety of multisport comprising of running, cycling and swimming events. Noosa is also a popular holiday spot for you to relax in post race.

7. London Tri (London, UK)

  • Distance: Olympic Plus (1.5k swim; 80k bike; 10k run); Olympic (1.5k swim; 40k bike; 10k run); Sprint (0.75k swim; 20k bike; 5k run); Super Sprint (0.4k swim; 10k bike; 2.5k run)
  • Date: Sun 7th August 2022

There’s various length options for the London Tri, but we’d recommend the Olympic. You’ll be able to take in the best sights London has to offer while you cruise through this inner city event. It’s fast and flat and the multiple length options make it one of the easier events on this list and perfect for athletes of all levels of experience and ability. If you’d like to mix things up a bit, you can attempt the Weekend Warrior where you’ll compete to complete the furthest distance possible across all the events - undoubtedly one of the hardest triathlons in the UK! Currently the record is held by Chris Dunn and stands at 246k. Crazy.

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8. Blenheim Palace Triathlon (Woodstock, Oxfordshire, UK)

  • Distance: Sprint (0.75k swim; 19.8k bike; 5.4k run); Super Sprint (0.4k swim; 13.2k bike; 2.9k run)
  • Date: Sat 28th May & Sun 29th May 2022

The perfect event for beginners. Held in the beautiful, historic grounds of Blenheim Palace, you’d be hard pressed to find a better introduction to the world of triathlon. The courses are fast, flat and short, with sprint and super sprint options available. There are no waves, currents or steep hills to worry about, and the organisation of the event earns its plaudits every year. This event is adored by all levels of athletes, from those who lead the pack to those pulling on a wetsuit for the first time. What’s more, as in the London Tri, you can also take on the Weekend Warrior, the record currently stands at 9 sprint triathlons completed over the weekend, held by Shaun Wood.

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9. Zalaris Norseman Xtreme Triathlon (Eidfjord, Norway)

Zalaris Norseman Xtreme Triathlon, Norway
  • Distance: Full Distance (3.8k swim; 180k bike; 42.2k run)
  • Date:  Sat 6th August 2022

Regarded by many as the ultimate test of endurance, this is almost unarguably the hardest triathlon event in the world. Only the toughest attempt this feat, meaning the field is fairly small. The organisers stress that the experience is more important than the finish time. It’s pretty much impossible to set a PB here. After a testing swim through the freezing waters of the often choppy fjord you’ll have to climb over 5000m in elevation on roads and trails to the peak of Mount Gaustatoppen. Being as tough as it is, the DNF rate is as low as 2.8%, which is a testament to both the preparation of the athletes and the excellent support they receive throughout the event.

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Let's Do This Top 5 Running Apps for beginners

I asked the team at Let's Do This for the absolute best running apps for beginners. Running apps keep us motivated, connected, and can add something a little extra to your training schedule, whether you are a beginner, an experienced runner, or simply a data geek (aka run-nerd).

I asked the team at Let's Do This for the absolute best running apps for beginners. Running apps keep us motivated, connected, and can add something a little extra to your training schedule, whether you are a beginner, an experienced runner, or simply a data geek (aka run-nerd).

The overwhelming response from the team was that downloading a running app when they were a beginner really kickstarted their journey. They felt more motivated to run, but they also got to celebrate their achievements, with most apps - particularly Strava - allowing your friends to give you kudos and comment on individual runs.

If you're just beginning running, however, then choosing the right app can definitely seem overwhelming. So I've broken down the top 5 running apps for beginners - as recommended by the team - to make your choice easier.

1. MapMyRun:

This running app has both a free and premium version and is a great tool to add a little more data to your training, especially if you're a beginner. The free version is a typical GPS tracking tool that shows users a map of their route, overall time, and pace. The advanced features, unlocked through their premium subscription, add a whole host of easy-to-use features that make even novice runners feel like scientists. One of the downsides of the free version is that it relies on ads to make money, so if you can spare a couple of quid each month then we’d recommend it. 

Some of the advanced features include heart rate zones, interval training, cadence analysis, power analysis and nutrition tracking.

  • Available on: iOS, Android Wear, and Samsung Gear
  • Pros: Loads of useful data, easy-to-use
  • Cons: Ads in free version
  • Best Suited For: All-round runners who are looking to add more data to their training plans and understand their running styles better. 
  • Developer: UnderArmour 

2. Strava:

Strava is great for those multi-disciplinarians out there. They’ve created a platform that collects vast amounts of data for runners, swimmers, and cyclists alike. One key feature that makes it so popular is the users ability to tag certain portions of a run and compare how they did against their friends and family. This is great if you are competing and want to look at the difficulty of a course section, and customise your training schedule accordingly. 

Strava’s focus on triathlon disciplines has led them to integrate a number of advanced safety features into Strava Summit (Premium version) such as ‘Beacon’. This feature allows users to share their live location with friends and family when they go out for a run giving everyone a little peace of mind. To be honest, if we're looking at one app to rule them all, then it's Strava. That said, the overload of data can be overwhelming for beginner runners.

  • Available on: iOS and Android
  • Pros: Lots of data, single source for running/swimming/cycling data, advanced features
  • Cons: Extra steps to make use of data, Strava Summit price tag (£6.99 per month)
  • Best Suited For: Triathletes trying to centralize data from their running, swimming, and cycling.
  • Developer: Strava

3. Nike Run Club:

A few years back Nike revamped their previously very popular running app and the changes were not well received. They have continued to iterate and now have an awesome all-rounder app that offers on-the-run voice coaching and podcasts for multiple distances. Nike’s vast athletic network allows them to integrate the voices of sporting greats to encourage runners as they train for their next challenge. It also offers a slew of social media integrations, allowing you to connect easily with your friends and family and stack yourself up against them on the leaderboards. 

  • Available on: iOS, Android & Samsung 
  • Pros: Pro Athlete Coaching, Social Media Integrations.
  • Cons: Lack of nutrition tracking and advanced features
  • Best Suited For: Runners that like to compete against friends and family to stay motivated.
  • Developer: Nike

4. Adidas Running:

Another classic running app that incorporates all the basic functionality that a running app should. This app is a great starting point, but it lacks some of the fancy features that MapMyRun, Nike, and Strava have incorporated. However, Adidas have done a good job of building a dashboard that users can customise - removing all the fluff and focusing on what’s most important to you. It's the simplicity of this running app which makes it so great for beginners.

  • Available on: Android, and iOS
  • Pros: Easy to use, customizable dashboard
  • Cons: Basic functionality
  • Best Suited For: Entry-level runners who are looking for a straightforward and simple app to track their progress. 
  • Developer: Adidas Running

5. One You Couch to 5K:

A basic but brilliant app from the NHS, this one will really get you off the couch and into your running shoes. The running app is designed for users who have never run a 5K before and are looking to get in shape but don’t know where to start. It also takes users from walking a 5K route to jogging intervals all the way up to running that first full 5K. The app tracks information on distance, speed and route but little else. Users love this app for its audio coaching that directs runners on when to walk, jog or rest - taking the thought out of training and making it accessible to all. If you're completely new to running, and looking to build up your confidence, then I'd really recommend checking out this running app.

  • Available on: Android, iOS
  • Pros: User-friendly, motivational 
  • Cons: Basic features
  • Best Suited For: Complete beginners who don’t know where to start and have little-to-no running experience.
  • Developer: NHS
Source: Nest and Dressed

Overall, MapMyRun scored highest because it integrates a variety of data forms around an individual’s running style easily, it is used by a lot of people making for strong social scores, and is priced fairly. Strava came in a close second because it too incorporates a good amount of data but is slightly more complicated to set up and is priced a little higher than most other apps on the market. Nike+ came in at third with strong social elements and awesome coaching features but lacks some of the more advanced data that Strava and MapMyRun include. 

Although there are better running apps on the market, Couch to 5K serves an important role by encouraging less experienced runners to take up the sport. It makes running accessible to everyone, and in our eyes that is one of the most important things an app can do.

Best of the rest: Making running fun again

If you are looking to jazz up your running routine then perhaps try one of these awesome alternatives:

  1. Zombies, Run! (Free): This app has gamified run training. As the name suggests you have to outrun the zombie hoard that’s chasing after you. The faster you run and the more miles you put on the road and the safer you will be. 
  2. Relive: This is a great app for destination running (or cycling) where you can upload GPX files and photos of your run to the app and automatically create a video of the route intertwining your favourite memories from along the way. This app captures speed and distance but not much else, so if you are training seriously make sure to use a more advanced app in conjunction. 
  3. Charity Miles (Free): If burning calories and getting fit isn’t a good enough reason to don your trainers and hit the roads, then Charity Miles is. This app converts your hard worked miles into donations to a charity of your choosing. There are 40 charitable options to select from.
  4. Run An Empire: This is likely the brainchild of a keen Pokémon Go user. The title gives this one away a little, but the name of the game is to “take over” empires by running or walking through them. The more you run the more points you and your empire are awarded. 

So whether you are looking for a classic data-driven approach to training (i.e. MapMyRun, Strava, etc.) or you are trying to breathe life back into your training routine (Zombies, Run!) hopefully you will find something here that works for you.

Let's Do This, Together. 

Man and woman sitting in front of London eye after running

12 of the best running routes London has to offer

London is home to some of the finest running routes in the UK, many of which are within the city’s well renowned parks. From trail running routes that'll let you escape the hustle and bustle of the city, to leg-burning hill climbs with epic views out over the city’s skyline, London has it all. And, whether you've just entered your first 5k or are adding another marathon to your collection, these running routes are perfect for mixing up your training.

London is home to some of the finest running routes in the UK, many of which are within the city’s well renowned parks. From trail running routes that'll let you escape the hustle and bustle of the city, to leg-burning hill climbs with epic views out over the city’s skyline, London has it all. And, whether you've just entered your first 5k or are adding another marathon to your collection, these running routes are perfect for mixing up your training.


Sunrise at Brockwell Park, South London
Sunrise at Brockwell Park, Photo by Edek Giejgo

Tucked away in the heart of Herne Hill, Brockwell Park offers a great running route, that’s topped off with some serious views out over the London skyline. Starting at the Lido, you can do two loops of the park to make up a 5km running route. Unlike many of London’s runs, the park offers some steady climbs which will test your legs and your lungs.

Plus, if you head over on a Sunday morning then you can check out Herne Hill’s Farmers Market. I’d recommend Cakehole’s Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownie or if you’re feeling more peckish, then perhaps a Gourmet Bacon Buttie from Oink. What better way to end a run?

  • Best for: A post-run coffee or snack
  • Travel: Herne Hill Station (Thameslink), Brixton Underground (Victoria Line)

2. Battersea Park

Albert Bridge at night, Battersea Park
Albert Bridge, Photo by Jonathon Hoffman on Unsplash

It’s a no brainer really - Battersea Park is unquestionably one of South London’s most picturesque green-spaces and makes for a great running route. Also, being situated right on the river, it’s easily accessible from all over London.

Having opened in 1858, this 83 hectare park provides an abundance of running routes, allowing you to plan a quick 5k, or push yourself with a longer 10k. On the east side of the park, there are even a couple of opportunities to go off-piste and dabble with some trail running.

I’d recommend going for a sunset run at Battersea Park, as the bright lights of Albert Bridge provide a great photo opportunity. If you don’t fancy a loop of the park itself, then you can always incorporate it into a longer running route along the Thames.

  • Best for: Going for a PB (it’s flat!)
  • Travel: Battersea Park Railway Station (Overground) or Bus Routes 137, 344, 44, 452.

3. Hampton Court - Barnes

Thames towpath running route into London
Thames Towpath, Hampton Court - Barnes

This one’s a cracker and definitely one of the best running routes in West London. Hop on the overground to Hampton Court Station and then join the Thames Towpath all the way back into London.

If you’re training for a marathon then this is a perfect running route. Distance wise it’s really up to you, and you can go as far into London as you’d like. I clocked out at Barnes bridge, which took me to the perfect half marathon distance (13.1 miles / 21km).

Keep an eye out for the beautiful houses lining the river and if you’re feeling peckish along the route, then there are plenty of cafes around Richmond for a snack and a coffee.

  • Best for: Training for a half marathon or marathon
  • Travel: Hampton Court Railway Station (Overground)


Wimbledon Common trail running route
Wimbledon Common, Photo by Amy Burgess on Unsplash

This South-West London common is the perfect destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, while remaining in Zone 3.

Spanning 460 Hectares, the common gives you a great introduction into trail-running - with endless running routes to choose from. Underfoot, you'll enjoy a variety of woodland trails, expansive fields and muddy tracks - making the park feel a million miles away from London.

  • Best for: Your first taste of trail running
  • Travel: Wimbledon Common War Memorial Bus Stop or Southfields Station (District Line) then a 24 minute walk (or a much shorter run!)


Crystal Palace Park running route
Crystal Palace Park, Photo by Ewan Munro

While it's a bit further south, the journey to Crystal Palace Park is well worth it. The park once housed The Crystal Palace, until it was burned to the ground in 1936. Now, this green-space has all manner of sites to see during your run, including its giant dinosaur statues and the surviving Italian terraces of The Crystal Palace itself (one of the only remnants from the 1936 fire).

Underfoot, you’ll enjoy a mixture of gravel paths, tarmac and woodland trails. The park's perimeter makes for a running route of around 3.1km - so 2 loops will take you well over the 5km mark.

  • Best for: Mixing up your running route
  • Travel: Crystal Palace Station, Penge West Station, or Bus Routes: 3, 122, 157, 202, 227, 249, 322, 358, 363, 410, 417, 432, 450.


Dulwich Park, South London Running Route
Dulwich Park, Photo by South London Orienteers

Neighbouring Brockwell Park and Peckham Rye Park / Common, Dulwich Park's running route is ideal for a quick 5km. Flat and fast, the park provides a near perfect mile loop, with 3 and a bit laps taking you up to the 5km mark.

For those who would like to give their knees a rest from the hard tarmac, there is a woodland trail running alongside the park's path which provides a softer landing.

  • Best for: Building up to a 5k or 10k running event
  • Travel: North Dulwich Station or Bus Routes: P4 (Lewisham - Brixton) and P13 (New Cross - Streatham)


Man running up Parliament Hill, Hampstead Heath
Parliament Hill, Hampstead Heath

Ok, it’s a classic we know. But, let’s be honest, it’s a classic for a reason. Plus, if it’s good enough for Dennis Doyle (Simon Pegg in Run Fatboy Run), then it’s good enough for us.

Aside from that, it's Hampstead Heath's stunning views of the city's skyline which make it one of the premier running routes in London. And, in summer, you can even cool down with an outdoor swim.

  • Best for: Unrivalled views of London’s skyline
  • Nearest Station: Hampstead (Northern Line) or Hampstead Heath (Overground)


Victoria Park outer road running route.
Victoria Park, Photo by Samuel Regan-Asante on Unsplash

Situated in the vibrant Hackney area, Victoria Park is one of the city’s oldest public green-spaces. The park dates back to 1841 when Queen Victoria opened up the grounds for public use, following a petition signed by 30,000 London residents. Today, it's still as popular with the locals.

In terms of running, one full loop of the park’s outer road is around 2.7 miles, so going that little bit extra will get you to the 5km mark. There is also a dirt track, for those looking to protect their knees.

Aside from the running itself, the area both in and around the park has a lot going for it. I’d suggest heading to the Pavilion Cafe, based in the southern corner of the park, for a post-run coffee.

  • Best for: Amazing pubs and restaurants for a post-run meal
  • Travel: Mile End (Hammersmith & City, District, and Central Lines)

9. Clissold Park - Alexandra Palace

Clissold Park Pond
Clissold Park

Now we’ve got the classics out the way, here are a couple of wildcards. Clissold Park is located in Stoke Newington and, while small, this running route is full of character.

The park itself has a nice outer trail to protect your knees and a picturesque pond in the centre to distract your eyes. However, it’s the running route from the park which is why it makes the list.

The park houses a semi-hidden path out via New River, which then takes you through Finsbury Park and onto the abandoned railway line, through Highgate Wood, and eventually out to Alexandra Palace. This parkland walk is one of London’s lesser known running routes.

  • Best for: An inner city adventure
  • Travel: Manor House (Piccadilly Line), Stoke Newington Railway Station (Overground)


Epping Forest trail running route.
Epping Forest, Photo by Peter Fiddiman

Ok, so this one straddles the border between London and Essex, but I’ve squeezed it in because it's really easy to get to from North London.

Once a royal forest, this 1,728 hectare space is unquestionably home to some of the best trail running routes within a close proximity of London.

There are a number of well-marked trails for you to explore, but given the size of the forest I’d recommend plotting out your running route beforehand.

  • Best for: An all day running adventure
  • Travel: Loughton (Central Line) or Chingford (London Overground)


Primrose Hill, the top of a Regent's Park running route.
Primrose Hill, Regents Park

With panoramic views, stunning gardens, impressive architecture and even the London Zoo, Regent’s Park has it all and is undoubtedly one of London’s best running routes.

On a summer’s day you’ll struggle to get better views of London from Primrose Hill, and the short ascent is perfect if you’re looking to incorporate a climb into your running route.

I’d recommend using the park’s outer circumference for your running route, which is just shy of 5km, before nipping into the park and up Parliament Hill. This will leave you at around 6.5km - but there’s plenty more space if you want to go further.

  • Best for: Seeing some of London’s most impressive houses
  • Travel: Regent’s Park tube station (Bakerloo Line)

12. Olympic Park

ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower, which can be seen on Queen Elizabeth Park running route.
ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower, Oueen Elizabeth Olympic Park

From Super Saturday, to GB’s velodrome supremacy, to the Brownlee brother’s joint success - the list of memorable moments from the London 2012 Olympic Games goes on-and-on.

Now, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has become one of London’s top running routes. The park is easily accessible by public transport and is large enough for a 5k, 10k, or half marathon running route. Along the way, you’ll be treated to iconic sites like the ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower, Lee Valley VeloPark, and of course the Olympic Stadium - now home to West Ham United Football Club.

  • Best for: Endless running motivation
  • Travel: Stratford Station (DLR, Jubilee and Central lines, London Overground)
Let's Do This is your go-to source for finding, reviewing, and booking the best endurance sports events across the UK. If you're looking for a running event to start training for now, then check out our running events to find the right one for you.

How to breathe while running: Best practices for new runners

If you’re a new runner, you’ve probably realised that breathing while running is quite challenging. Don’t worry, here's how to breathe while running.

For most of us, breathing isn’t something we necessarily think a lot about. We enter the world, start doing it, and ask no further questions. But, when it comes to running. knowing how to breathe properly and efficiently is really important.

If you’re a new or inexperienced runner, you’ve probably realised that breathing while running is quite challenging. You might experience breathlessness, tight lungs or keep getting a stitches. Don’t worry. Struggling to breathe while running is completely normal, and your body is just getting acclimatised. With our advice and guidance, you’ll find that running and breathing all falls into place.

Why do new runners struggle with breathing?

We all know our bodies need oxygen to survive. When we breathe deeply, oxygen reaches deep into the lungs, where it can then be passed into the bloodstream. And, when our blood is full of oxygen, it gets to the muscles and creates energy - the key to effective running.

So, why do new runners struggle with breathing? Simply put, their bodies are trying to keep up with the demands of running. When we run, our carbon dioxide levels increase, triggering us to breathe more heavily. This means we need these precious deep breaths of oxygen to spur us on and give us the energy to keep going.

When runners become used to running and start running longer and further, breathing while running becomes natural. Their bodies get accustomed to the increased carbon dioxide levels and they find a regular breathing pattern. 

What to aim for

When you start running, don’t aim to take as many breaths as possible. If you do, it will become “shallow” breathing, which only comes from the top of the lungs. With shallow breathing, you won’t get the oxygen levels you need, and you might get shoulder pain or a stitch.

Every runner should aim for deep, even breathing that comes from within the diaphragm. The best breathing when running is steady, deep and rhythmic. It should feel natural (even if it isn’t) and your body should feel in tune with your breath, making everything work together to create a great, euphoric, effective run. 

7 Tips for how to breathe while running

So, how do you achieve the right breathing while running? Here are our top tips.

1. Breathe through your nose and mouth

While certain exercises like yoga focus on breathing through the nose alone, runners need to get as much oxygen as possible. The nose simply won’t do that. So, focus on inhaling and exhaling through both your nose and mouth. Bring water with you to avoid your mouth getting dry.

2. Use the walk-run method

New runners often struggle with breathing because they start too fast. Their body isn’t used to the increased carbon dioxide levels and they become breathless and tired. It’s important to start slowly so your body can build endurance. Try using the walk-run method; running for a short period of time and then taking a walk break (and repeat). 

3. Breathe from the diaphragm

New runners often struggle to get deep belly breaths - because it doesn’t feel natural. But it’s important to ensure you’re getting the oxygen levels you need. Focus on breathing from deep within, picturing your stomach filling with air and expanding. Singers have an advantage here as the same technique is needed to project and control your voice.

4. Run with a friend

Running with a friend is one of the best ways to work on your breathing. If you can run and have a conversation comfortably, then you’re going at the right pace and won’t find yourself constantly struggling for breath. Talking on the phone works, too.

5. Use the 2:2 method

The 2:2 method is a way to develop a breathing rhythm while running. The idea is that you inhale for two foot strikes and then exhale for two. It’s a great method for beginners because it encourages you to hold your breath for longer than what might feel natural and match your breath to your pace.

6. Warm up

If we exercise without warming up, our breathing goes from relaxed to intense in a matter of seconds. This means that the body struggles to keep up. All runners should do a warm up before they get going - and we’re not just talking stretches. Your running warm up should elevate the heart-rate and amp up your breathing so your lungs are ready.

7. Run outdoors

While the treadmill is a great place to get those steps in, you might find that breathing is more challenging when you’re inside. Gyms tend to be stuffy and use air conditioning to regulate the temperature. Fresh air is the best medicine for the lungs, so try getting outdoors as much as possible when you’re starting out. You’ll feel the difference!

How to boost your breathing when you aren’t running

While the best way to breathe while running is to go out and do it, you can also work on your breathing when you aren’t running. Cold water swimming, for example, is a great exercise that focuses on the lungs and builds the respiratory system. Yoga is also great for focusing on the breath and connecting to the body.

But you don’t always need to raise your heart rate to work on your breathing. You can also try less physically intense activities like meditation, which helps as it encourages you to focus on deep belly breathing. Pelvic floor exercises are also useful as the pelvic floor actually works with the diaphragm when we breathe, creating and regulating pressure.

Breathing when you start running can feel like a huge challenge. But you’ll get used to it. And why not give yourself something to work for and sign up for one of our many 5K races?

7 best ultra marathons in the world

Since they’re events that allow you to experience the world in a unique way, we’ve chosen the best ultra marathon from all 7 continents (yes, even Antarctica), and added a couple of runners up so you can explore your options.

Ultra marathons are any running events that at the very minimum go further than the marathon distance of 42.2km. The problem is that there is no upper limit. As a result, there are now some insanely challenging events held across the globe. The distance isn’t the only problem either, as competitors are asked to wrestle with mountains, rain-forests, deserts, or extreme weather conditions. 

Since they’re events that allow you to experience the world in a unique way, we’ve chosen the best ultra marathon from all 7 continents (yes, even Antarctica), and added a couple of runners up so you can explore your options. 

Find your next ultra marathon 

1. Africa: Comrades Marathon

The route: 

  • Durban to Pietermaritzburg (or Pietermaritzburg to Durban, depending on the year)
  • 87km/54 miles uphill or 90 km/56 miles downhill in a 12 hour time-limit
  • Takes in ‘The Big Five’ hills with a highest elevation of 2,850ft/870m above sea level

Run it for:

This is the world’s oldest and largest ultramarathon. It was first run in 1921, and has been completed by over 300,000 runners. The current field allows for 27,500 participants. It is famous for its vibrant atmosphere and support, with school children and local folk bands cheering you along the way. The race is run in the spirit of ‘Ubuntu’, which can be translated as ‘humanity towards others’. 

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Runners up: 

  • Marathon des Sables, Morocco: 251km in the Sahara Desert
  • Namib Race, Namibia: 250km in the Skeleton Coast National Park 

2. Antarctica: The Last Desert

The route: 

  • A variety of locations on the Antarctic Peninsula, potentially including King George Island, Deception Island, and Paradise Bay
  • 250km multi-stage event
  • Each night sleeping on the expedition ship

Run it for:

This is the only multi-stage footrace in Antarctica. The main challenges in the polar desert are the conditions of extreme cold, high winds and sheer landscapes. Varying snow, ice and weather conditions cause the course to change each year, often at late notice. The chance to tread in the footsteps of ancient explorers and to see a variety of wildlife including whales, penguins, and seals in the untouched wilderness makes this event a rare and life-changing experience. 

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Runner up:

  • The Arctic Ice Marathon and 100k

3. Asia: La Ultra - The High

The route:

  • In the Great Himalayan range of India, starting from the Nubra Valley towards the Indus River, and finishing in the Morey Plains of the Changtang plateau
  • 333km/207 miles in 72 hour time limit. Including three 17,500ft+ mountain passes. 

Run it for: 

Most of the run is done with 50% less oxygen than at sea level. Add in to that fluctuating temperatures from -12 to 40 degrees celsius, and you’ll get a good idea of what sort of brutality your body will be put through. The three climbs to Khardung La, the world’s highest motorable pass at 5,359m, will push your physical and mental endurance beyond almost any other sports race. Under 59% of competitiors complete the race; can you be one of them?

Runners up: 

  • The Grand Raid Reunion/Diagonale des Fous (translated as ‘Diagonal of Mad Men’): 100 miles at La Reunion Island, in the Indian Ocean, with 9,643m elevation
  • Gobi March, 250km in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia

4. Australasia/Oceania: Ultra-Trail Australia (UTA)

The route:

  • In the Blue Mountains National Park in New South Wales
  • 100km/62.1 miles (there is a 50km option as well)

Run it for:

In a country that boasts some of the world’s most spectacular scenery and wildlife, the Blue Mountains National Park is the most beautiful region of the lot. The World Heritage Area makes for a stunning ultra marathon, steeped in aboriginal history. Not for the faint hearted, the course involves an elevation gain of 4,400m, but the sense of achievement upon completing this challenge is immense. It is a hugely popular ultra, with many participants signing up to do it again. 

Runners up: 

  • Tarawera Ultra: 100 miles exploring the lakes, forests and waterfalls of New Zealand
  • Kepler Challenge: 60km through Fiordland National Park, NZ. 

5. Europe: Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB)

The route:

  • Following the route of the Tour du Mont Blanc in France, Italy, and Switzerland. Based in Chamonix, France.
  • 171km/106 miles, single-stage race with a total elevation gain of 10,040m/32,940ft

Run it for:

This is one of the most challenging footraces in the world, especially in terms of elevation gained in such a short time, and is on many experienced ultra runners’ bucket lists. The winners of this race complete the course in around 20 hours, running through the night. Only about 60% of competitors complete the race in any given year, as the race includes mountainous climbs and demanding descents, but there are also stunning Alpine views throughout. Since it crosses between three countries, this could be one of the only ultras where you need your passport with you.

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Runners up:

  • Spartathlon, Greece: 153 miles/246km in under 36 hours from Athens to Sparta, in the footsteps of Pheidippides. 
  • Dragon’s Back Race, Wales: 315km in 6 days, with average daily climbing of 3,100m

6. North America: Western States Endurance Run

The route:

  • Sierra Nevada Mountains, California. Starting in Squaw Valley and ending at Auburn’s Placer High School.
  • 161km/100 miles single-stage event, with cumulative elevation gain of 18,090ft/5,500m

Run it for:

This is known as one of the world’s toughest single-stage endurance races, taking on the rugged ranges and canyons of California. The race is also famous for its mythology: it started in 1974, when a man’s horse went lame before a 24-hour race, so he ran it on foot instead (18 minutes inside the time limit!). Nowadays, runners compete for one of the legendary belt-buckles: bronze for finishing in under 30 hours, silver for finishing in under 24 hours. 

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Runners up:

  • Badwater Ultra: 135 miles around Death Valley and the Inyo mountains, with temperatures up to 54 degrees celsius. 
  • Hardrock Endurance Run: 100 miles in 48 hours on Southern Colorado’s San Juan Range

7. South America: The Jungle Ultra

The route:

  • In the Amazon Rainforest of Manu National Park, Peru from the Andes mountains to the Madre de Dios River
  • 230kms in five stages with humidity above 77%

Run it for:

This is a chance to explore a relatively unspoilt area of the steaming jungle, taking in cloud forests, mountains, and valleys. There will be arduous undergrowth, deep mud and river crossings to navigate, heavy rain throughout the challenge, and you might even run under nightfall. This is a wild course, where you will have to be almost entirely self-sufficient, so it is a test of endurance in the most extreme conditions. Being surrounded by a variety of rare wildlife will make for an incredible experience though.

View Event

Runners up:

  • Atacama Crossing, Chile: 250km in 7 days in the Atacama desert
  • Half Marathon des Sables, Peru: 120km in 3 days through the Ica desert

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