Scream if you wanna go faster

Trail running is such a dilemma for me. I’ve had stabs at it, made progress, enjoyed it, then sat on chairs for a bit and lost the momentum again and again.
The Kilpatricks are ideal for it, good trails of different varieties, good distances and so familiar I can think on my feet and shorten or lengthen any trip no problem.
I always joke about getting old, but I know there’ll be a point where I can’t make up the lost ground so easy and I’ll be buggered. Time, application, resolve, fear of pain, they all come into it, but the payback when you’re feeling good is tremendous, flying down trails enencumbered by kit and feeling the lightest on your feet that you can be in the hills.
My knees don’t take a pounding either, it’s only the tarmac bookends of every trip that do that.
I was talking to my mate Craig at Crossfit Glasgow about this and he’s keen to coach me properly, as always I’m keen to avoid anything that involves people telling me what to do.
We’ll see, I’ll make some baby steps yet again and see how I feel.
It is the ultimate in going lightweight, and I dare say a few overweight, gram-shaving backpackers would be well served with such an activity, or indeed cycling where I’m already getting back in the saddle (yes, punch me in the head for that).
Luckily a lot of the gear I use is adventure racing derived, and still looks normal.
Trail running doesn’t have to mean looking like, er this…The Clydebank Young Ladies Trail Running Club.

25 thoughts on “Scream if you wanna go faster”

  1. Aye, I don’t run….. except that a couple of years ago I got ‘conned’ into entering the Lakeland Trails series! I don’t train at all, just turn up and run the race. I keep telling myself to stop but I’ve done 5 so far, ranging from 15km to 24km, and I’ve entered again this year.

    Last Saturday was the Hawkshead Trail Race, opening the 09 series, and I managed the 15km, mostly offroad and with 500m of ascent and descent, in 1 hr 44 mins. It was a warm day and I was only a minute slower than last year, so I can’t be losing my fitness too quickly! And, in revenge for Coniston 07…. I beat Ron Hill!

    I went scrambling on the Sunday, and I only seemed to begin to ache once I spend today sitting at a desk.

    I only get respectable (to me, anyway) times by being able to run the downhills, as I generally walk the uphill and at best I’d call it a jog on the flat. But there is something free and exhilarating about flying unencumbered down rough tracks You can tell the difference between the road/fitness runners tempted into the hills and the hill-going folk who choose to run – it shows in the footwear and in the downhill style. My ego reveived a great boost as I caught up with two women on the steep, rough decent to Windermere…. as I approached I heard them saying “this is good fun but its a bit dangerous”, then as I flew past “bloody hell, how does he go so fast?” :))
    (I hope they didn’t see me lurching across the Hawkshead showground to the finish line! ;O)

  2. Running the mountains allows you to cover a lot more territory as well (which may or may not be desirable, of course).

    I ran the main Lawers round yesterday from Meall Greigh to Beinn Ghlas from Lawers village and back on the road – 14 miles, 1750m ascent. Walk it, and it’s all day, early start, late finish. I ran it in 3.5 hours, left my house at 10am, back 6ish.

    You have to commit to it though – fell shoes, lightweight clothes, bumbag – water/nuun, windproofs, map, compass, whistle, mobile, emergency food.

    I’ve got plans to run the Grey Corries, Aonachs and the Ben in June – if I get management approval.

  3. That’s half a Ramsey’s Round you’re planning Johnny, sounds like a proper day out that, magic :o)

    The commitment thing is an important point. No gear, but faster moving and less likely to take a fall where you’ll need the gear? That’s the way I see it, it’s that freedom and self reliance/confidence that makes it so rewarding.

  4. I wouldn’t go out running in the mountains in places that others won’t generally be around. Even on a Wednesday there were other walkers around. Mind you, I go running in my local hills and never see a soul.

    The good thing about that half of the Ramsey is that once you are up, you’re up. The southern half of the round involves losing height a bit more regularly.

  5. Missed you there Matt!

    The descent and the coping with rough terrain does come from hill-sense I think. I’m definitely a flat trail and down-hill runner and an uphill struggler, and i can’t see that changeingh even with training.

    Races though? I’d just cry I think.

  6. I suspect that you are quicker at going up than you both think. Most hill races involve the competitors walking uphill for any serious gradient – it’s both easier and quicker unless you are at the pointy end of the field.

  7. Aye Johnny, and that East section around the Loch Trieg tops must be an arse buster.
    The Grey Corries to the Ben sound brilliant though, knowing me I’d take two days and have a bivy of course…

  8. I suppose the uphill is where you can just blow all your reserves instead of going steady and staying fresh for when you can open up.
    It’s odd, I can do that on long ascents on the bike, just bite the bullet and endure at a low pace, but on foot I get all frustrated.

  9. Aye, the walking uphill is a deliberate thing for me. I’m sure I’m no slower than if I tried to keep up a running action, it feels more efficient for me and I get a breather into the bargain :)

    I watch the people who keep ‘running’ uphill and while a few come past me they don’t get very far ahead at all. It was on the final uphill walk on Saturday that I overtook Ron Hill :))

    I’d like to see the guys at the sharp end some day though – the winners get around in half the time it takes me :(

  10. You know where they make up most of their time? Descending and the flat. Once it gets steep, they are walking as well and your walking pace probably isn’t too much slower than theirs. That’s the only advantage I have over much of the field – I’m 6’5″ and walk pretty quick. Once we start running, I’m plodding along though.

  11. That’s a big stride Johnny!

    I’ve noticed how much leg length makes to progress, on the WHW a couple of years ago there were three of us, me@6′, Craig@5’8″ and Brian@5’4″ and the pace was all over the place and probably was one of the reasons we had issues as we were trying to march and were just getting burst.
    Going at your own pace works better, if the pace is a bit hotter.
    That whole thing just came to me and a reserve thr right to deny I said it at a later date if I change my mind!

  12. Hey, I’m not dissing old Ron, he’s pretty amazing. I’m just chuffed, despite having 25 years on him! ;O)

    I see he’s a bit of a parallel with Mike Parsons and Karrimor-to-OMM, in that he sold out of Ron Hill a few years ago but has now started a new venture called ‘hillyclothing’.

  13. Nothing but admiration for the fell runners,not for me though i think, walking mostly in the lakes i’ve had the pleasure of seeing the legend that is Joss Naylor a few times as i tow up a fell,a humbling experience for sure ! The nearest i’ve got to the experience is reading ‘Feet in the clouds’ by Richard Askwith, a fine book indeed.

  14. Seeimng someone is pair of shorts flash past when you’re pulling on hat and gloves does in deed alter you perspective!

  15. A couple of weeks ago we were up walking along Kinder Plateau when from nowhere a trail runner flew past. Turns out he was the leader of the pack running the Kinder Downfall 2009 fell race.

    Unfortunately because he was so damn fit and fast we didn’t hear him coming (no wheezing like an old man :) ). He saw me, he saw the wife, he saw the dog….. but he didn’t see the extender lead line between me and the dog!! He tried to duck under it but almost got taken out, once he managed to limbo dance under it he then sped on his way. Man those guys are impressively fit!

    We decided to stop for lunch as from that point on there was a steady stream of 200+ racers working their way past. It would also explain mountain rescue being out on the hill say out of the wind a mile earlier.

    Plenty of bloody knees and I don’t think they’d done any descent at that point.

  16. Madness isn’t it! I’m always amazed at how many MRT members are racers as well.

    Nice to see that their reactions are quick as well, man in shorts and vest garrotted by a dog lead to police could be problematic :o)

  17. I did feel a tad guilty about almost taking out the leader. The first three were way ahead of the pack and quite tightly bunched. We did 22miles that day. The winner did 10miles (2500ft ascent) in 1hr 7min, staggering!

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