The elite marathoners who prepare on the trails

TR spoke to some of Britain's best about how they use off-road preparation for marathons

Josh Griffiths

by Trail Running |

Josh Griffiths

Josh Griffiths, who was 39th at the world championships in 2017 and who will be looking to beat his PB of 2:13:11 when he lines up in London, doesn’t limit trails to just the easy days but does tempo runs off-road, too. “When training off-road, I always run to effort and time and ignore the pace function on my watch,” he said. “I like running off-road because it is just a nice place to switch off and have some time alone; no cars or other people. It can be a nice break from everything. I also find that it saves your legs a bit as your muscles don’t get quite the same punishment as they do on the road.”

Josh, who competed for Britain at the World Mountain Running Championships before switching his focus to marathons, says he’s not done with racing on trails.

“I will definitely go back to it some day, but for now I have to focus fully on the roads in order to try and stay competitive,” he said.

Natasha Cockram

Natasha Cockram, who was second Brit in last year's race in a PB of 2:30:03, is returning this year.

The Norfolk-based runner said: “I love the environment of trail running compared to simply sticking to the roads. I find it far more relaxing and enjoyable than training on tarmac, too. Whilst I am trying to make a living from running, I also work full-time so, although running is essentially a second job, it is still an escape from my busy everyday life and a way to unwind after a day’s work.

“Another reason I love off-road running is because I do the majority of my training with my dogs so it is a safer and more enjoyable environment for us all.”

Steph Twell

Steph Twell, who competed for Britain in the marathon at the recent Tokyo Olympics, explained last year her love of the trails.

She said: "Trails are one of the reasons I run. I couldn’t complete all my training on pavements, that’s for sure.

“I’m a big believer that the reason my career has been as sustainable as it has, is that I have included multi-terrain and off-road trail running in my weekly routine as much as possible,” said the three-time Olympian, who has competed internationally for more than 15 years. She particularly finds off-road useful as it helps strengthen her ankles and aids recovery from the necessary road training.

“Nothing else beats exploring a trail on an easy run where they almost carry you along on a single track or loop, where you forget about covering distance and the scenery does it for you."

The above quotes were from an article published in Trail Running in 2020

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