Now that I’ve taken my first tentative steps into training for the London to Brighton Challenge, I realise that from here on my training is going to have to involve a fair bit of walking as well as running. Not just walk/run intervals to help improve stamina, but actual non-stop walking so that I can learn to get used to moving on my feet for hours at a time.
I’m generally pretty motivated when it comes to walking and prefer it to using public transport when it comes to getting around the city. So much so, that over the last couple of years, my daily commute to work has become a 25-30 minute, 1.6 mile walk each way. That being said though, I’m going to have to start walking a lot more than 5K a day if I’m going to cope with getting myself from London to Brighton in one piece.
My first training walk should have been yesterday. I’d planned to take a 2 hour walk after dinner, but unfortunately I managed to pick up a head cold and was feeling fairly rubbish by the end of the day, so I decided to have an early night and go for a good long walk today.
I still wasn’t feeling great this morning, but decided that I was going to go out anyway. I had scheduled a 4 hour walk with the aim of exploring some off road running routes. I wasn’t really sure about where would be the best place to go, but I mapped myself out a route of sorts and headed out with my backpack.
The weather was warm and sunny, and by the first few kilometres I was down to short sleeves as I made my way along a small woodland path that I’d found. I tried to stay in the shade as much as possible, although the ground was muddier there, and I soon realised that I was going to have to get myself some trail shoes before attempting to do any running on it.
On the whole, the walk was pretty good. I enjoyed the changes of scenery from wide open fields to narrow wooded trails with steep drops, but navigation wasn’t easy.
I got lost a number of times and even found myself in the middle of a golf course trying to find my way back to the path, but I didn’t mind too much. I had four hours of walking to do and it didn’t really matter where I did it.
The only downside was that, when I eventually did find my way to a road that would lead somewhere, I realised that it was impossible to walk on – the verges were just too steep and overgrown and the traffic was far too fast and frequent. At that point I ended up walking in a field with some sheep, who I’m pleased to say were too busy grazing on brambles to be bothered by me.
In the end, my search for some off road running routes wasn’t very successful, but it did get the legs working and, with all the hills and the mud and the uneven ground, it has opened my eyes to just how different it’s going to be running cross country compared with the nice flat even paths along the seafront.
Where is your favourite place to run? Do you have good running routes on your doorstep or do you have to travel further afield before you can really get going? Please share your thoughts in the comments.