Running tips: Mix up your exercise routine and don’t be afraid to try new things

PUBLISHED: 13:00 13 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:37 06 March 2018

Steph Callen, from Diss and District Athletics Club. Picture: STEPH CALLEN

Steph Callen, from Diss and District Athletics Club. Picture: STEPH CALLEN


Like any form of exercise, to keep motivated you need to inject some variety into your regime.

Running is no different. It’s very difficult to stay inspired if you continuously pound the same stretch of pavement or enter the same running events.

This winter, to add an extra challenge to my training, I’ve been trying something different.

For the first time since school, I’ve had a go at cross country.

For years, I’ve avoided multi-terrain events worried that it would be too difficult, I wouldn’t be fit enough to finish, I’d injure myself or worse, I’d fall.

Memories of thick muddy tracks and freezing weather from my school days did nothing to increase my enthusiasm, however – second time around – it has been a much more enjoyable experience than I remember.

One of the events I recently tried was the Norfolk Cross Country Championships held in Thetford.

Myself and other runners from Diss Athletics Club decided we’d give it a go.

There was no way I’d finish anywhere near the front of the pack but what an opportunity to compete with some of the best runners from across the county.

It was a challenging run.

After getting used to the varying terrain of grass, heath and dirt track, there were mole hills to negotiate, tree roots to jump over, twists, turns and dips in the path – it felt like a rollercoaster.

But although exhausted, I crossed the finish line with a huge sense of achievement and with an even bigger smile on my face.

Since then I’ve been taking part in as many cross country races as possible, not just because I find them enjoyable, but because I’ve seen improvements in my road running too.

The additional strength, stamina and mental fitness and balance required to take on a cross country course has suddenly made the pavement feel as smooth and forgiving as a professional athletics track.

Your challenge does not have to be cross country, it could be any athletic discipline.

Find something that interests you, drags you from your comfort zone and helps refresh your exercise routine.

Steph Callen is a member of Diss and District Athletics Club.

Other news


Gym-goers have been given a glimpse of what to expect from a major £2m expansion and improvement to a Norfolk town leisure centre.

Yesterday, 14:40

Norfolk’s cultural champions were celebrated in style on Friday night at a glittering ceremony at Norwich Cathedral.

Yesterday, 14:25

The family of a little boy with a genetic disorder so rare even doctors had to Google hope to set up a foundation to help other parents and push for advances in treatment.

Yesterday, 13:56

Police will begin using lie detector tests on sex offenders in Norfolk to help identify previously unknown information.

Most Read

At the tail-end of the 1800s, a series of strange goings-on haunted Bumbler’s Farm in Shelfanger: doors opened and closed of their own accord, a towel roller in the kitchen spun violently as if powered by an unseen hand, ornaments in the parlour crashed to the ground and the ghostly figure of a woman was seen.

Read more
Fri, 11:41

A roof fire attended by 23 fire fighters last night was in a cannabis factory, police have revealed.

Read more

Gym-goers have been given a glimpse of what to expect from a major £2m expansion and improvement to a Norfolk town leisure centre.

Read more
Yvonne Bendle
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A newly-constructed boardwalk which forms part of the £3.4m Heritage Triangle project in a market town is nearing completion.

Read more
Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The owners of three Norfolk holiday cottages are worried odours from a neighbouring pig farm may drive them out of business.

Read more
Breckland Council

Local Weather

Sunshine and Showers

Sunshine and Showers

max temp: 17°C

min temp: 7°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Read the Diss Mercury e-edition today

Newsletter Sign Up

Diss Mercury weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy