What's your favourite outside surface? - Couch to 5K

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What's your favourite outside surface?


I have finally popped my 'running outside cherry' and trotted around some country lanes near home. I was a bit nervous as they're fairly narrow, which some traffic, and no pavements, but I still enjoyed it (and was glad to still be alive!)

We have a lot of woods around us but not sure if I'm up to trails as yet until my ankles get stronger and don't want to have an injury.

Think I'm going to have to drive somewhere, although that seems a bit tedious and loses the 'impulsive moment' a bit.

Made me wonder what you other 'outies' do. Obviously everyone's situation is different but I'd love to know if people are mostly running in parks on paths or grass, or on pavements, along tow paths, over meadows etc. Please share !

8 Replies

Great to hear you're venturing outside! Varying beautiful locations and dog walkers are definitely a added plus to running I find. 😁

I run over a common but try to stick to softer ground whenever possible as to avoid extra impact on my joints etc. Would never run on pavement.


Pavements are what I’m most used to and therefore most confident on. I have done a towpath run and it was great in the dry but, having walked them in foul weather, they can be treacherous when really wet.

I’ve done one grass/gravel run and the surface wasn’t the problem. The effing huge hills they expected me to run up and down were.


I've been running along a back road to a university campus (5min walk + 5min run) and in and out round accomodation blocks until Laura told me there was 5 mins of run left. When I got to W7R3 I decided to see how far I could go until half way and got to nearly the other side of campus.

Then I tried the woodland walk which circles the campus on a bark path. This was harder as uneven and soft. The worst bit was bits of wood getting in my socks/shoes and having to stop and get them out. Happened twice on first go, three times second one.

Yesterday for W8R3 I went through the village and along the canal. Bit better underfoot but a bit boring as it was a long straight bit.

Now not sure what to do for my W9 runs. I am lucky having these options from my front door.


I’ve been running through the local wood and tracks in the surrounding fields as I prefer a softer surface but due to the weather the tracks are rock hard.


Very interesting to see all the variety. Think I'm going to try to find some softer surfaces.

My lane running is probably not the wisest move in terms of hard tarmac and needing to occasionally launch myself into nettle-ridden hedge-rows in order to avoid being squashed by a car. They're also bl**dy hilly. Fantastic views from the top though, even if I do need oxygen.

Love it! Well done. It's much more enjoyable out of doors.

I mostly road-run along pavements, paths, the odd dirt track/farm road, which is just to get from one road to the next. Our local Parkrun is all tarmacadam, but I'm still a PR virgin. Barcode sitting there, just waiting...


All my runs involve a mix of surfaces but it is the off-road sections that give the greatest pleasure, if not returning the fastest times. One day I hope to start running the South West coast path, as cliff top runs are always spectacular, whereas my home runs are through fields, woods and parkland.

Variety is the spice of life.


I’ve found I don’t like tarmac and that tracks, bridleways and footpaths open up a whole new outdoor world of loveliness that I never fully appreciated before.

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