If you’ve had a bit of a training hiatus and are ready to start training towards that spring marathon (it’ll be here sooner than you think), then escape the bright lights and head to the trails for a rock’n’roll ride in mud, hills and plenty of attractive scenery to keep your spirits high. After all, it can be hard to up the motivation when faced with the bleak midwinter.
Thankfully, Trailscape is back offering four opportunities between now and March for all those city dwellers to run organised 10K, half marathon and marathon races only an hour away from London.
Trailscape North, the first one in the series taking place in Newport, Essex next week is sold out but you can still sign up for Trailscape East in Cuxton, Kent, Trailscape South in Ashurst, East Sussex, and Trailscape West in Wendover, Buckinghamshire.
As a competitor last year I can tell you that they were brilliant training for Marathon des Sables and also a whole lotta fun. Here are 5 reasons why you should escape the city with Trailscape this winter
- You’ll build on your strength
If you really want to kick-start next spring with a spring (sorry) in your step, train on trails over the winter. The varying terrains, altitudes and speeds of trail running mean you are using a variety of different muscles to not only propel you forwards but keep you upright in the first place. You have to adapt how you run, slowing down over tricky ground and using your core to prevent you from falling over. You’ll also find that you’ll be working muscles such as your glutes to power you up that hill. So come spring, your body will be raring to go and firing on all cylinders in time for that PB.
- You learn to control your speed
You’re not going to get a PB during a trail race, unless of course they are all you ever run. What you will do is learn how to control your speed. There are some parts when you can fire all cylinders using ever breath to push you through while at other times you may have no choice but to slow it right down. Unlike Cross Country when it is all about speed and going hell for leather around muddy tracks (it makes Tough Mudder look like a kiddies’ playground), the distance of trail running means you have to more strategic in your approach. There will be hills that you’ll walk and technical areas where you’ll have to be careful with your footwork. But it’ll be the best tempo run you’ve ever done.
- You can experience England in all its glory
There’s no need to drive away to the Cotswold for the weekend when you can experience some beautiful sights only an hour away from London. Trail races take you into the heart of the countryside, to quaint little villages you never knew existed, past orchards and rolling hills. Fans of the fictional radio soap The Archers will definitely appreciate the game of spot the village pub or which character from The Archers would live in a farm-house like this….From the North Downs and Ashurst in East Sussex to Essex and Buckinghamshire’s hills with glorious vistas of the surrounding countryside, trail runs allow you to appreciate the lyrics from the hymn Jerusalem.
- Meet fellow trail runners
Unlike city marathons where it’s heads down (for some of us), trail runs are a lot more of a relaxed affair. Trail runners always have a stash of food, which they’ll happily share alongside their tales of races that they’ve done. Whether you want a chat or simply company of another runner beside you, trail races are the place to try. Everyone’s happy to go at their own speed and support each other.
- Embrace the space and relax into the flow
Trail races tend to be smaller and once you’re past the first 5K, you find you have the space to run at your own pace. You don’t have the pressure of the crowd and can experience just being out there in the countryside. It can be pretty cathartic if you relax and enjoy the fun of the trails.
To find out more about Trailscape and book your place, go to trailscape.co.uk