Sally Robinson’s report on the Lakeland Trail Series (and one way to find your running ‘mo-jo’ again!).
After the half Yorkshireman, I looked and felt so bad at the end, I was’t even allowed to go and have coffee and cake, I was taken straight home and took several days to recover.
So decision time, my body can no longer do long distance races and work as a gardener full time – what to do next. Half marathon has to be the limit, 10k – 10 miles being the ideal. For the first time in 6 years, I didn’t have a goal and was a bit adrift for a few weeks.
Then I found the lakeland trail series: lakelandtrails.org. A series of 18k events monthly through the trails of the Lakes.
The day is split so the 10k goes off at 11am, the 18k challenge (if you don’t want to race) goes at 1pm, children races then the 18k race at 2pm. Coffee, cake and good food stalls are available all day, serenaded on the off and return. Face painting etc for kids – its a real family day out. Well organised and sympathetic to the environment the organisers donate to Fix the Fells and the Mountain Rescue from the entry fees too. If you volunteer to marshal, you get a free race as well.
The first was a beautiful day starting at Cartmel racecourse. This was my favourite run of the series with real varied terrain – not too much firetrack, lovely undulating course.
Next up was Hawkshead on another glorious day. A long slog up the coffin trail was helped by the drum band playing you up.
Third was Staveley, where I marshalled the 10k before running the 18k in the afternoon (free). Reston Scar at 15k hurt, and down was worse than up, I don’t think I ever cried out before in a race but my whole bottom half was screaming at me to stop.
Last was Coniston half marathon. In 25C, it was hot and extra water stations were quickly set up for us. The set up was slightly different as the marathon runners went off early doors and the 10k set off shortly after the half. As the final runners were coming in the atmosphere was carnival. Helped of course by the weather and venue at the boating area of the Old Hall.
Before all these races after the disaster of the half I decided to go for a fitness analysis through optimize fitness optimizefitness.co.uk. Entailing all sorts of seemingly strange tests, including 5 minutes round the UAK track in very wet weather, Graeme Woodward summed me up pretty perfectly.
After that he tailored a training programme for me to address my weaknesses and increase my speed and stamina. It all started with posture, after a couple of weeks, I could feel the difference. What I had thought was a constant ache and pain in my thighs from digging and gardening was, in fact, the way I run. After 2 weeks it had gone, and if I felt it, I knew how to correct it. That has been a great breakthrough and gave me back some belief that I might be able to do this running lark. Each month, I have had a mesocycle for my training and I feed back details of all the sessions I have done. Every few weeks, I meet up with Graeme and we assessed where I had got to and added to the drills and conditioning to strengthen my core and correct my posture.
Six months on, and although I didn’t achieve the time I wanted at Coniston, (it was rather hot for racing) I know I’m on the right track and I’m looking forward to getting back to the club and thinking I can keep up with the pack again – something I haven’t done for over a year now.
Sally – Lakeland Trails photograph. Thanks to Sally for the great report, and yes, Sally has been back to the club 🙂