for those who love the outdoors

10 May, 2023

The ultimate article for runners

This article is the one stop shop for runners. Here we list our most viewed and engaged articles from the past 12 months, all to do with running inspiration, education, advice and more!

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No matter whether you are starting your first couch to 5k, are an avid Parkrun runner, frequently run marathons, or take on ultra marathons, there will be something in this article that will inspire you or teach you something you didn't know before. 

This article is made up of some of Outside & Active's most popular running articles from the past 12 months. Take a look through and learn something new today.

Top 5 scariest ultra marathons in the world

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If you have been exposed to ultra marathon running then you will be aware of some of the ultra marathon events in this article. With a couple of the ultra marathons in this article having taken place recently, this is a great time to spotlight some of the toughest footraces in the world. 

An ultra marathon is defined as anything over the marathon distance of 26.2 miles. But usually ultra marathon events take the form of 30, 50, 80 and 100 mile distances. These types of races add more elements to your race tactics with nutrition, pacing, elevation and mental strength becoming even more important. 

However, the ultra marathons within this article are infamous for providing additional hurdles aside from the incredible distances that participants will have to travel. Whether it be battling the elements, the extreme distance, the mind-boggling elevation or near-impossible navigation, these events have tested and beaten some of the most experienced ultra marathon runners in the world. 

Which one, or ones, of these extreme ultra marathon races would you be willing to take on? Maybe this article could prove to be a point of inspiration for you ultra marathon enthusiasts. For some of you it might be the step from marathons to ultra marathons. And for some of you, it might be an intriguing read that solidifies your wish to never take on an ultra marathon!

Click to read now - Top 5 scariest ultra marathons in the world.

The toughest Parkrun in the world - probably

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Parkrun has taken the nation by storm since it began back in 2004. In the UK there are currently 751 Parkrun events each weekend supported by thousands of volunteers and millions of runners that vary from pace-setting specialists to the trundle-walkers. What's so great about Parkrun is that it is accessible for all, there are no cut off times and it is free to take part in. 

As with all things, Parkrun has been taken to a different level by the people who participate in the events, with multiple challenges being made and certain Parkrun locations being spotlighted for particular reasons - whether they are flat, scenic, obscure, or difficult! An example of a challenge which has been born over the years is the A-Z challenge where runners travel up and down the country, and in this case the world, to complete a Parkrun in a location which starts which each letter of the alphabet. This is a challenge that takes a lot of mileage but has captivated runners around the country. 

However, this article focuses more on the difficulty element, with the focus of this article being on one of the toughest Parkruns in the UK. This North Devon Parkrun is set in the stunning sand dunes of Woolacombe beach, and is widely regarded as one of the most challenging courses in the UK. Find out why it is deemed so difficult and maybe it add it to your to-do list when you next head down to the south west. 

Click to read now - The toughest Parkrun in the world - probably.

How to find the perfect running shoe

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The age old question, how can you find the perfect running shoe? Spoiler alert, there is no one perfect running shoe... I know, shocking. This is because each person requires a different shoe depending on what you are trying to achieve from your running, the type of runner you are, the fit of the show, the arch of your foot etc etc. All of these elements are so individual, which means that a running shoe that is perfect for someone else, might not be perfect for you. 

What this article does provide is an experts insight into how you can go about finding the perfect running shoe for you. It even lists some examples of top range running shoes, the benefits for each, and what type of runner it is suitable for. 

Runners are so invested in their running shoes, which is why we often spend hundreds and hundreds of pounds trying to find that perfect fit. Some of us might even have multiple running shoes depending on what type of challenge we are taking on. 

If you are in the market for a brand new running shoe then this article might just be able to help you find the perfect one for you. 

Click to read - How to find the perfect running shoe.

What are the benefits of backwards running

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Okay, this is where things start to get a bit... experimental. Running backwards. You may be thinking, "what in the world is that"? or, "why would I even think about running backwards?" Well, backward running, otherwise known as reverse running or retro running, has become a bit of a trend over the past 12 months and people are raving about the physical benefits it can have. In this article we look at the benefits of backward running and how you might look to incorporate it into your training.

Whilst I have never seen anyone out in the wild trying this, nor have I got around to trying it myself, I was captivated when putting this article together and was completely sold by the benefits it can have on your orthodox running. Saying that, I remember seeing someone achieve a Guinness World Record for completing a backward marathon in the fastest time - so it has been done on the big stage!

Could backwards running be something you try out? Take a read and see what it is all about.

Click to read - What are the benefits of backward running?

The Unlucky Marathon 

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Back to a bit of normality with this article. This piece is from one the Outside & Active contributors, Jenny-Anne Dexter. This article is all about inspiration and pushing through mental and physical barriers to complete something you have never done before - in this case, a marathon.

At the point of the article, Jenny admits that she is a consistent runner, completing over 750 miles and several half marathons in a year. However, the elusive 26.2 mile distance of the marathon has always eluded her... until now.

In this article Jenny walks us through the anticipation she felt building up to her first ever marathon, the inevitable ups and downs that she experiences during her attempt and the emotions that i'm sure many runners will have experienced in the past. I won't spoil it for you, but it is an incredibly captivating read. 

If inspiration is what you are seeking for in this article, then it is certainly what you will get. Jenny-Anne's experience might just inspire you to take on your very first marathon.

Click to read - The Unlucky Marathon.

Latest tech for runners

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If there is anything that runners love just as much as their running shoes, it's their running technology. Luckily, this article is all about the latest and greatest running tech.

If you have been running for a significant period of time then you have likely started to invest in some running technology. The most common starting point for any runner is a running watch which will help stop the need for you to run around with a phone strap. Or even worse, having to actually hold your phone in your hand whilst you run!

This article from Outside & Active's resident running expert, Paul Freary, takes a look at some of the latest tech items that can monitor your training, aid recovery and maybe even encourage and make training a little more fun. Take a look and see what there might be for you!

Click to read - Latest tech for runner.

Dominic Brown

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Hi! I'm Dom and I am the Digital Communications Manager at Outside & Active. I manage the content and marketing for this site and sometimes document my experiences and thoughts. I absolutely love to be outside and active in any way possible.

I have been playing all varieties of sports since the age of 5 but in the past few years I have somehow become a 'runner'. This has opened my eyes to a whole new world of adventure, I still love playing team sports and heading to the gym - but managing this website has helped me explore different ways to enjoy the outdoors.

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