We’ve been away this last week, with a week off to visit family in London and Wiltshire. No excuses though, the training must go on, so I’ve been out running in Richmond Park and on a stretch of the Ridgeway (the ancient roadway from Avebury to Ivinghoe Beacon). So what have I learned from this change of location and priorities for the day?
1: Running in the morning is quite nice – Not having to go to work freed me up to get out first thing and do the day’s run before breakfast, powered by a small snack. I like this, you feel all virtuous at having completed your training and have the rest of the day ahead of you. Can’t see it happening normally though, there’s no way I’m getting up that early every day …
2: There are different definitions of what constitutes a hill – A sign at the top of a small slope in Richmond Park warns of the ‘steep slope’ and advises cyclists to dismount. …. I guess it’s all relative and maybe they’re more worried about cyclists careening into pedestrians but it did seem a little over cautious.
3: When it’s smooth you can look around more – The surface on the circular path in the park - The ‘Tamsin Trail’ - is almost completely free of anything to trip you up (unlike most trails I run on up here), giving ample opportunity to admire the impressive antlers on the Red Deer and the impressively large amount of layers some of the other runners had on. It's not winter yet!
4: … But sometimes it’s too smooth – The Ridgeway runs over chalk downlands and in places the surface has been worn away down to the bedrock. Being chalk, this is very smooth and when a bit damp, very slippery. Don’t go looking around too much when trying to run on this ….
5: It’s hard running for a long time – I know, I know, that’s obvious. But having officially run for the longest amount of time I’ve ever managed this weekend (2 hours), my legs hurt and I just wanted to point that out.
6: It doesn’t just rain in the Lake district - A disappointingly wet Friday morning proved this. Honestly, what do we go to the parched and barren south east for?
Finally, I learned something I didn’t need to go away for but that I was probably going to learn at some point no matter where I was.
It’s a bit delicate but: There may be ‘toilet issues’ on a longer run - Thursday’s hour long run ground to a halt after 50 minutes and turned into more of a battle to get back to our hotel and to the loo. Sounds funny, but it’s an extraordinarily uncomfortable situation to be in and one I’ve read can affect anyone. I don’t really know how I’ll deal with this sort of thing if I’m expecting to be out for 10 (15? 20?) hours but I guess it’ll all come out in the wash. Hang on, that’s really not a good choice of phrase ……