Today I headed out for a Sunday run around Andover. It has been a bit of a booze filled weekend and so I didn’t imagine it would be an easy run.
I wanted to get a larger amount of miles in today but as I was feeling a bit fuzzy so aimed for a 10k. Instead of heading onto the road, which would have been faster, I wanted to get into the woods and run around the mud and trails.
In Andover, I am lucky to have lots of villages on my doorstep with the Test Way only a few miles from my house. It is not quite the ruins of Los Monjos but the next best thing. I always find it amazing with so many people around, you barely bump into anyone when you are out running off-road. Trail running is quite different to road running, but this is why I enjoy it.
- It is peaceful. I spend many hours on the computer, on the phone and in busy environments. It is nice to see wildlife and get away from all the noise.
- It works different muscles. I have no idea what they are all called, but after a trail run different bits ache and that seems like a good thing.
- You are forced to try hills. I know many people hate the thought of hill running, but it is good for you. You cannot really escape them when you are out in the woods.
- The miles just fly by. Having a constant change of scenery stops you counting the minutes and miles. Instead, you are focusing on what is ahead and before you know it you have already been out for a decent amount of time.
- You get downhills. As well as sweating it out up a hill, you also get to enjoy the downhill. This is a skill in itself. Running with confidence down a hill is hard work and this helps you practice.
- You get muddy. This probably isn’t for everyone, but a little bit of mud is fun. Sometimes it is nice to go out, get wet and covered in mud. There is a real sense of achievement once you get home and hit that shower.
The negatives? The big one is probably the speed factor. When you are out in the woods, running up and down different terrain makes it very difficult to keep a constant speed going. I find when I am running trails I am a lot slower than usual even though I feel like I am pushing it hard. Even for those of your trying to increase your speed, the odd trail or off-road session isn’t a bad thing.
Why not make your next run one based off the road, exploring nature.