I haven’t always loved trail running. In fact I only started running in my mid twenties.
As a child I spent my happiest memories in the Peak District tearing up and down the hills with my sister. But I had no idea just how much they were having an impact on my life. I can still remember scrambling over rocks to get to the top before I was told off for going too high. The irony is that I’m not a huge fan of heights. But up on what felt like top of the world, it didn’t matter.
Years later I took up running after some work colleagues dared me to enter a road race. At first I hated it. I found it so hard to begin with. But as the weeks passed and I built up the mileage something clicked and I began to love it. I embraced running with friends, choosing swish trainers and running clothes and I entered as many road races as I could.
But something was missing. I was getting bored. After experiencing a few minor niggles in my knees, a friend asked me why I wasn’t running on the trails. She suggested I switch from the roads. I told her she was mad but began to run on the trails. It was frustrating. I found it so hard that I found myself stopping lots. But I persisted. After a few weeks of tantrums and tears I completed my first 10k trail run. I was utterly hooked. There’s something magical about the trails. When I’m running I feel totally free. No matter what is going on in your life, the trails never question or judge you. I can run for miles and not see a single person. Sometimes that suits me. If I want company I have people I can count on to run with.
I recently joined a trail running club and over the last few months the running has gone up a few notches. This year has seen me beating a lot of internal demons and I can honestly say it’s because of the running. I’ve entered far too many races but they give me something to look forward to. I still run on the roads but never more than 10 miles. Anything bigger is reserved for the trails. It’s because of this I have suffered hardly any injuries and I’ve got stronger and faster. It’s been an incredible journey and it’s only just beginning.
The key things about running are enjoy it, take your time, invest in some decent trail shoes and get muddy. I’m happiest tearing through mud, sliding over ice or wading through crop fields. It’s all part of the adventure. I’ll explore areas near me and travel to areas I’m unfamiliar with. As long as you’re safe and have an idea where you are, it’s difficult to get lost. My favourite runs are those where I’ve got no time constraints and can really get out and explore. I take photographs of what I experience and share them with my friends on Instagram. I’ve well and truly fallen in love with the trails.
If you do one big thing this year, consider switching to the trails. You won’t regret it. There are plenty of people who are making the same journey. When you’re standing at the top of a particularly big hill and the accomplishment and pride hits, that’s when you realise trails are the way to go.
I’ll do some reviews on kit I’ve used and purchased for the trails. I’ll touch on night running and discuss canicross which is something I’ve just gotten into. I’m still learning but I’ll share my love of the trails with you. Join me in my adventures and you’ll see.