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Why I Run - Exploring Trail Running with The North Face

Running, people love it or they hate it. For some the idea of sticking on a pair of trainers and heading outside can be a daunting idea, often bringing back painful memories of school cross country. But for others running can be an escape, a time to clear the mind and exercise the body.

Running can take many forms, on the track, on the treadmill, pounding the pavements or our favourite here at Tiso, trail running. In our opinion, there is nothing better than swapping the treadmill for the trails, escaping the city and heading out into the great outdoors.

We recently took four female trail runners out to the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh. We were testing the new The North Face Mountain Athletic range which Tiso are stocking for the Autumn/winter season. These runners were all from different walks of life, different backgrounds, but all gain something special from trail running. These are their stories of ‘why I run’…

Jojo - Why I Run?

I have been a runner for 3 years. I ran before, but always dipped in and out as it is so easy to do. These days, running comes with the package. It is part of me, part of who I am. The beautiful, the tough and the lost toenails (ugly).

A few months ago, I got a text from my PT, the notorious Graeme Starkey. He invited me on one of his trail runs. I have never looked back

If you are a runner you know that it is a form of activity that allows us to be present. We can focus on things like our breathing, our feet and the environment we are in. What I love about trail running is that I have to 100% focus on my feet. It would be easy to go flying through the air like I did in May during the half marathon. The trail can get slippy, there are hills and dips and different types of paths. Some are muddy, some with gravel, some are smooth and some are grassy.

Getting away from the roads and the treadmill every now and again is truly great for the soul. Last week, when we went to the Pentlands to test out the new North Face gear, the views were breath-taking and I loved it. I loved the fact I could have be anywhere, not just right outside of Edinburgh. I was surrounded in trees and woodland. The air was fresh. I was present. I was happy and at peace.

When I hit the trails it can be physically hard on the body. Trail running gets me fitter but most importantly, all the jobs and stresses and pressures of life are totally forgotten. I am properly immersed in nature and that can never be a bad thing. I often talk to my readers about finding their toolkit. Finding their wellness investments. Trail running is most certainly one of mine.

Rachel - Why I Run?

I have always enjoyed running, I joined athletics clubs when I was in school and was involved in some cross country races but as I got older I got out of the way of it. I have only picked it up again in recent years and I am so glad that I did.

Running is escapism for me, it’s the one activity that allows me to completely switch my brain off from deadlines, stresses and worries. It is also a good way for me to gain clarity and think objectively about things or have creative ideas, it can be a bit like meditation.

As a photographer half of my time is taken up with being at my desk, on my computer for hours. Living and working in a city environment can be draining and I find that I am much more content when I am outdoors. Going for a jog is a great way to engage with nature on a day that would otherwise be spent entirely at a desk…plus I just get so bored at the gym!

It is an amazing activity for how quickly a relative newcomer can progress, I just recently ran my first half marathon and only started a dedicated training program 8 weeks prior, and whilst it was tough, nothing beats the feeling of crossing the finish line.

You will never come home regretting a run, no matter how long it took you to motivate yourself to get out the door!

Catherine - Why I Run?

Although I've always loved the outdoors and keeping fit, I've never really been much of a runner, always saw it as more of a task than fun.

I recently started trail running through a running group and fell in love with it straight away! For me, it actually gives me energy and a sense of fun and adventure that I have never had from running on the road or in the gym.

The variety of the tracks and being in the outdoors distract me from the actual running part and I find I can run further even if there are more hills! I would recommend it to anyone who gets a bit bored when road running and is looking for something different to mix up their exercise routine!

Mollie - Why I Run?

I have been running for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I would go out on runs with my Dad around our neighbourhood. We would always sprint finish back to the house. At the beginning he would always get home first, but as I got older and stronger and he go, well, older, I began to win!

Nowadays, I use running and more specifically trail running to train for mountaineering expeditions. Ahead of my Mount Everest 2017 expedition, I was running whenever I could. Up and down Arthurs seat, in the Pentland hills and if I had more time Munros!

Primarily, I use trail running for fitness, but actually it gives me so much more than that. It gives me a sense of freedom, that positive serotonin boost and that feeling that you have achieved something.

Are you a keen trail runner? Or have you been inspired to head out for the first time? Tag us on all your running adventures #mytiso

All pictures taken by Rachel Keenan Photography

The North Face Mountain Athletic Range

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