So this year I have decided to concentrate more on trail running and really conquering the hills and, being good at them! There’s a lot of technique involved in running up and especially downhill. Races have been lost and won on the downhill. I remember the Cheddar Gorge Half, being overtaken by hoards of runners as they flipped themselves down the slippery wet clay decent seemingly without a fear in the world.
The only way to get good at trails, is to do them. When the weather is howling and the conditions underfoot are appalling, all the better. Although my Achilles have taken a battering from all the mud and trying to pick my way through!
One thing I’ve come to realise is KIT is very important. When you’re up on the South Downs for hours, you need to be wearing and have the right kit. Being wet through and freezing cold is no joy when you have another 10 miles to go. Food and what you eat during, has also become more important. No water stations and portaloos. Take everything you need with you. You’re on your own. Which is why I love the trails.
The Longman will be the first run this year. 18.5 miles over the South Downs. A build up for longer runs later in the year perhaps? I’m no Ultra runner and my diverticulitis (broken colon) means running a very long way, probably isn’t a good idea. There is big kudos attached to running further than a marathon distance. I’m not sure it makes you a better runner or athlete. You enter the realms of a certain breed of creature with stamina and determination more than most possess. But whether we should all aspire to run longer and longer distances, I’m not sure. The couple from Oz who ran a marathon a day for a year. What’s next?!
Training has to be specific with lots of leg weights and hill training, done on the same day so an experienced PT from Brighton tells me. The same day? Yes, obliterate the legs in one go. Makes for better hill running. Okay. Right. Um.
There is a hill in Brighton which is a renowned hill runners delight. I say delight. Most people tend to swear about it. I ran with a guy who was training for a 50 mile. He walked up every hill we came to. Not sure I could do that, it would take forever and be too much of an onslaught stopping and starting.
Set the metronome and just keep going!
If you see me on the South Downs looking lost, it usually means I am!