My love of running developed when I got older. At school it filled me with dread and the idea of running around the sports pitches struck me with a nameless fear.
At drama school we were encouraged to keep fit and healthy, but not to bulk out. We were told to stay lithe to allow our bodies to morph when we’re playing various parts. Running is ideal for this, especially when I needed a lean look for the Channel 4 drama Cucumber.
It’s part of my job as an actor to look after myself. Your appearance is crucial. That’s why I think running and swimming will always be a big part of what I do.
The Dorset coast, where I spent my childhood, is a gorgeous place to run. I love to explore and revisit places like the cliffs at Kimmeridge Bay and the abandoned village of Tyneham.
I often go running in London with a gang of mates I call my ‘Kentish posse’. We each have different degrees of keenness, with me near the top.
Running as a way of learning my lines seems to be hugely effective. The rhythm of running seems to hammer them into my head. I also test out movements or gestures for a part while running – I must look very odd.
It’s often a very early start when filming, so a run in the evening works best for me. With the sun going down, it can be a special time to head out for a run.
I love running when there’s a bit of a chill in the air. But I don’t like going out in hot weather all that much.
I have no desire to run in a race. I prefer running with friends, or in nature.
My parents (actors Edward Fox and Joanna David) have always been involved with the Hope and Homes for Children charity. Two years ago, my sister Emilia and I went out to Rwanda to see the work they are doing. It was so inspiring.
Having top running gear is not my thing at all. I never know how far I run or how fast I go – I don’t have a GPS.
I enjoy running in the countryside, and if I see a tree that appeals I stop to climb it. I might do some pull-ups on its branches too. I’ve been filming Fanny Lye Deliver’d, in Shropshire and had loads of chances to do just that.
Hero: Eddie Izzard. On the surface, he might not look like an endurance runner, but what he does it quite life-affirming and, running all those marathons, his stamina is superhuman.
Running music: I actually prefer classical to pop music. I find it more relaxing to run to something like Chopin’s Nocturnes, which are soft, dreamlike and otherworldly.
Place to run: I was on the Dalaman coast in Turkey not long ago and found a dirt track close to my hotel that took me on a beautiful run over the hills – that was wonderful.
Freddie supports the St James’s Place Foundation Triathlon and Duathlon, taking place on October 16. It has raised £1.3m for Hope and Homes for Children, a charity that helps to move children out of orphanages and into loving families.