Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Lesson 1 | First Trail Run

I remember seeing an action photo of a serious runner, running up a steep hiking trail with a sheer drop on the one side and rolling grasslands on the other.  This was the spark that got me into the idea of trail running, although at the time I didn’t even know it was called that. Forward a couple of years and I’m waiting with some friends, midway in the bunch of 200 odd runners ready to take on my first trail run. It was midwinter and quite early, so moderately chilly! Training for this event equalled zero, but we were all doing it for the fun. It was the 5km route, so all ages were present, and I chuckled as I saw two 8 year old brothers squeeze in at the front of the starting line. There’s no gun shot, only a countdown and off we went.

The first kilometre was flat jeep track of 5 metres wide, so I was passing a couple of people, which fuelled my motivation and I started picking up the pace. There was a sharp turn, and then BAM!: A very rocky single track uphill and everyone slowed to a walk. With no place to pass, it got quite frustrating as the pace wasn’t fast enough for me. Finally, at the apex there were more space on the side and I rapidly started passing people, but the route was quite full and I was forced to do short bursts, by passing some and waiting for a gap behind others.

The descent was a lot steeper than the ascent, so I gladly slowed my pace. After the descent we ran a flat single track along a gushing river. I tried to pick up the pace, but I had no extra energy. I started wondering if this really was a 5km track, ‘cause it started to feel like we were approaching the 8km mark. After a while I realised that the bursts I gave to pass people had drained me, so I made peace with the pace and enjoyed the mesmerising scenery along the river trail.

Lesson learned: Place yourself at the start, where you think you will place at the finish.
If you can do this, you won’t get stuck behind someone or hold up other runners, which does happen on trail runs. If it’s your first run ever, not just trail run, start in the middle. From your result, you will then be able to gauge where to place yourself next time.

Feedback: What was your first trail run experience like? Please share in the comment box below.

Oh, and those two 8 year old brothers came in the top 10 of the 5km and top 3 in their division!

Image courtesy of chrisroll / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

No comments:

Post a Comment