Sunday, 9 September 2012

First Trail Run

My first week of 8k training is complete!  I must admit to being slightly apprehensive regarding today's run - it wasn't the distance (2 miles), but the surface that had me worried.  When I signed up for the Poppy Run a couple of weeks ago I knew I would have to up my training because this was a 5k race on a trail, not road (which, to date, has been my only running surface!).  So, I decided I would utilise my kids school's cycle trail on a Sunday afternoon and do my week's long run there.

I had run on this cycle track previously, but got as far (probably) as 1/4 mile before having to stop and walk.  My distance never increased because my training at that time (about 4-5 years ago) was very sporadic and had literally no planning involved!  Now - I'm organising my life around running!  My apprehension today came from this memory - would I be able to make it all the way around the trail without stopping?  The trail is approx 3/4 mile long circuit consisting of two loops - a small upper loop and a large lower loop.  There is one decent incline ('the bastard'!) and a couple nice, swift downhill sections.  The nice thing is that none of it is particularly secluded (where you would worry that safety is an issue) and of course it's all on the school's private estate, so the likelihood of me encountering another runner is virtually nil.

I took my water bottle of strawberry lemonade Nuun with me and parked it at the beginning of the trail waiting for me when I finished and started running.  I felt like I got off at a decent pace, but knew 'the bastard' would soon be around the corner (this is the point where I would always stop and walk!).  Running on the trail was different to what I remembered - I'm sure the trainers I had previously were just completely the wrong shoes for me - my feet were squished (I have quite wide feet) and there just didn't seem to be any bounce in them at all.  My current pink Asics make all the difference - these bad boys were made for my feet!  I'm convinced the geniuses at Asics had me in mind when creating them! Perfect bounce, even on the relatively absorbing surface of the trail.  I was a happy girl.

My badass Asics on the trail
I conquered 'the bastard' with confidence!  I was just about to type 'with ease' - but, hey, who am I kidding?!  I just kept going (slowly).  I thought that one complete loop was nearly a mile, but resisted temptation to check my Walkmeter until after my second lap when it read 1.88 miles.  I kept going until it beeped that I had reached 2 miles and then I walked back to my starting point.

The end of the trail
Some initial thoughts on trail running:-

  1. It's hard - yes I did have good support with my Asics, but I definitely felt my legs were working harder running on trail than running on the road.
  2. It requires more concentration on where you put your feet (sounds obvious, but it's true!).  Various obstacles such as loose gravel, twigs, deer droppings (!) could easily trip you up!
  3. Time went quicker - I had done two loops before I realised it.  That's great!
  4. It seems trail running suits me - my average pace was faster than road running!

All in all I'm quite happy that I managed just over two loops of the trail without stopping - the old me couldn't have managed half of one!  I know it will get more difficult because each week my mileage increases - but I'm hoping the more I do it, the easier it will get.

So, now a question to all of you - 
Have you tried trail running and what was your experience?


  1. I couldn't agree more...trail running is A LOT harder. When I did the Warrior Dash in 2011 I hadn't trained any for the trail running. Boy was I in for a rude awakening! Definitely have to pay more attention to the ground, but that also makes it go by much quicker!!

    Way to go on your successful run...and LOVE LOVE LOVE the shoes!!!!