Take to the trails in 2018 – tips for first time trail runners from the experts at Cotswold Outdoor

If you are new to trail running on the South West Coast Path, it can seem daunting, but it is a great, free way to get active in beautiful surroundings, no matter what your fitness level. Our friends at Cotswold Outdoor are big fans of trail running, and have put together some advice for beginners, running on the Coast Path for the first time. Over to the Cotswold Outdoor team...

We love trail running. Moving through the ever-changing outdoors, flying over uneven terrain, there’s a certain primal joy to running outdoors. Ever since we first started trail running we haven’t looked back. But that’s not to say there aren’t a few hurdles that need to be overcome before you can escape the treadmill for good.

Get a grip

The most essential piece of kit for trial running is a quality pair of trail running shoes. These shoes use the same lightweight technologies as other running shoes, but their soles are aggressively lugged to offer excellent traction on softer, shifting terrain. More robust toe boxes also protect you from all the grasping tree roots and stones dotted along the Coast Path.

Light the way

One of the joys of trail running on the peaceful Coast Path, is escaping the noisy gym, but cramming in that after work session becomes a little more challenging at this time of year. The early sunsets often mean you’ll be trying to find your way in the dark. We never leave home without a fully charged headtorch to light the way ahead. These hands-free lighting systems a far more convenient than hand-held torches, plus your far less likely to drop them.

Protection from the elements

Unless you’re particularly hardy, your gym tee and shorts probably won’t cut it on a chilly January evening. Investing in a long-sleeve base layer and some running tights to help keep you comfy mile after mile. Some of the Cotswold Outdoor range is even hi-vis or reflective to help make you more visible to other people, and keep you that bit safer. Don’t forget a hat and gloves to help protect your extremities from the chill winds.

Know your path

Things can look different in the dark, so for your first few runs choose a section of the Coast Path that you know well. You can always go exploring, just remember to keep a track of your twists and turns so you can  find your way home. 

With a little investment in kit, and a bit of bravery to head out and give it a go, you can unlock an entirely new way to enjoy the South West Coast Path. For more top tips and advice on picking out the right kit for your first trail running foray, visit your local Cotswold Outdoor store or head online to and don’t forget to use your South West Coast Path Association members’ discount code.

If you are looking for some inspiration for where to try your first Coast Path trail run, here are some fantastic suggestions from another trail running expert, Damian Hall:

Beginner level

Moderate level

  • Porlock to Minehead or Bude to Morwenstow

Challenging level

  • Tintagel to Boscastle or West Bay to Charmouth

Do get in touch if you would like to share your own favourite route, we would love to hear from you as we work towards creating an online resource for South West Coast Path trail runners.

Published on: Jan. 1, 2018