Jo Pavey’s top tips for coastal running

Olympian and Saucony ambassador Jo Pavey shares her top tips for running by the sea

Jo Pavey's top tips for coastal running

1. Remember to check the weather! Living just a few miles inland from the sea I’m a regular visitor to the coast path and when I leave home it can be warm and sunny with hardly any wind but it’s often a shock how much cooler and windier it can be on the coast, especially on exposed clifftop footpaths. My advice is to always check the forecast and I always pack extra kit in my car so I can put on some extra layers if needed.

2. If I’m venturing down to a beach to run, I’ll always have a quick look at the tide times. Some beaches are only suitable for running at low tide when there is enough exposed sand. You might also want to be running during an ebb tide to avoid being cut off.

3. I pick and choose which beaches I run on. Some have much softer sand that is really tough to run on. I find that when your feet sinking in and you have to exert prolonged muscular effort that you might not be used to doing it can pose an injury risk, especially to the achilles tendons. I prefer harder packed sand and tend to run closer to the water where the sand is wetter and firmer.

Jo Pavey's top tips for coastal running

4. Running the coast path is so amazing and I really enjoy it, but you must remember that it can be dangerous if you don’t take the right precautions. You will need to have appropriate footwear and I like the flexibility of my Saucony Peregrines, which are good on both sections of tarmac and muddy slippy paths.

Some stretches of the coast path have narrow rocky tracks with huge cliff face drops just a few feet away so it’s important that you check the weather conditions and avoid strong off shore winds if you’re running on exposed cliff tops.

I sometimes head to a more sheltered section of path or one where the path is set further back from the cliffs.

Remember the weather can suddenly change for the worse and visibility can quickly deteriorate so I think it’s worth having an Ordinance Survey Explorer map or use the Ordinance Survey phone app to help find your way. A decent GPS watch which can retrace your route back to the start point can also be used for navigation. My GPS watch also has incident detection and live tracking and will alert my emergency contacts if something happens.

Take a mobile phone and if you can try and buddy up with someone. This is always a good idea, so you can raise the alarm if one of you gets into difficulty.

However, I love running in all weathers. Some of my more memorable runs have been when the winds are gusting and the sea is raging. Running in the sunshine is lovely but to really enjoy running you need to embrace the elements and appreciate the environment whatever the weather.

Jo Pavey's top tips for coastal running

5. Take a camera! The beautiful scenery along the coast is what draws me to the area. Running isn’t always about going fast! I like to run my slower runs on the coast so I can take in the views and I’ll even stop for a while to enjoy the scenery or even take a short refreshing dip in the sea. These coastal runs can be mentally refreshing and invigorating, and I find it really helps my motivation.

Saucony UK ambassador Jo Pavey wears the Peregrine ISO for all of her off-road running, they are available to buy for £110 from www.saucony.co.uk.


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