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..and the rest

 

I’ve been resting.  Level 1 all the way.  Hum drum.  Actually anxious about hitting Level 2, as if it might destroy me.  Then I sustained a knee injury, through sitting awkwardly at home, rather than through running.  In fact – it felt better running than resting, but I thought to mention it to Stu and he suggested trying to run a little quicker.

It did the trick.  I seem to have avoided the workload that was placed so firmly upon my knee, relying once again on some of the stronger muscles while pushing with more force. I’ve regained my speed.  I feel better for it.  The knee has calmed right down.

Truth be known, this morning’s run to work was a little stupid, as I reached Level 4 for a spell, but hey – I WAS RUNNING!

So, having just withdrawn from the weekend’s Hathersage Hurtle race for my lack of training and recent cold/chest infection, I still feel as if there’s some light at the end of the tunnel.

I feel as if I’ve done nothing but struggle for so long, the issues might include a touch of psychological trouble, believing that I have more of a problem than might really be the case.

Time to start visualising, positive thinking, running to enjoy it once again and separating the real issues from the phantoms.  Leaving the ‘baggage’ at the door, so to speak.

Sheffield Round Run is surely looking more promising as a result.

Onward and upward.  But let’s not get carried away.

Watch this space for more positivity in the near future….

 

 

 

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Getting back to your routes

 

For decades, Sheffield has been regarded by Climbers as a Mecca for their sport.  Classic routes, crags to spare, enormous areas of natural beauty between them.  Accessible by car, bus, train, bike or by foot.

And there it was – right under everybody’s nose.  The Outdoor City.  Just depends upon your chosen activity as to how you might choose to exploit this relationship between inner City and Peak National Park.

Of course, many of us already knew the value of living in Sheffield – the fourth largest City (by population) in the UK.  Students flock to not one, but two impressive Universities.  Professionals strive to include themselves within world class organisations, industry, creative arts and scientific research.  Pioneering.  Evolving.

With more Parkruns outside greater London than any other major metropolitan area – Sheffield is these days awash with active people with disposable income and an interest in the outdoors.

So the number of regular runners is rising.  The City has branded itself as the all singing, all dancing outdoor play arena.  What’s next….?

For runners, there’s the Outdoor City Run Routes.

Shirebrook Run Route Map

Close to 30 mapped out, marked up, ready to use run routes – through some of Sheffield’s lushest, greenest ares.  All offering hidden gems and discoveries around every corner.

Colour coded for simplicity.  Suitable for complete novice, through to the more serious experienced runners.

From easy, to not so easy, Green to Black

So for a complete guide to those routes and where to find them, along with information on how challenging they might be – take a look at the following list and maybe go try one.

Bradfield to Damflask 5km / 10km
City centre 2.4km / 5.7km
Concord Park and Wooley Wood 2.5km / 4km
Ecclesall Wood 2km / 4km / 5km
Ecclesall Wood – challenging routes to the moors & back 14km / 24km
Firth Park 1.7km / 4.3km
Graves Park 2.5km / 4km
High Hazels 1.6km / 4.7km
Lowfield 355M
Manor Fields Park 1.6km
Ponderosa and Crookes Valley Park 1km / 3km
Rivelin 2.1km / 3.7km
Shire Brook 1.3km / 5.3km
Thorncliffe 2.3km / 4km
Wharncliffe 1.2km / 4.5km / 10km

 

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Embrace the Pace – The Art of Running Together.

 

It’s a classic misconception: faster runners are going to leave you for dead.

Well, if you’re racing, sure.  But when it comes to running for fun…….socially………together…..

The fact is, that a good runner will understand the value of running slowly.  It’s the best way to generate strength and fitness in the body.  So to become a better running machine and to stay in shape, running slowly is key.

Fast runners don’t have to run fast at the risk of losing their speed.  They need plenty of recovery like the rest of us.  They also need to stay strong and avoid injury…….just like the rest of us.

Add to that the likelihood that a capable runner will already have tested him/herself to their limit, in accordance with their personal training program, before accepting your invitation, or asking you if you fancy a run.

If a runner has a big week in training, or completes a tough event – only to then ask you if you fancy a jog, don’t be put off or intimidated.  Understand that they’ve been desperate to join you or to catch up in general, but have had the pressure to nail their training until now and it’s finally possible to switch off and run for fun.

Go share the experience.

They’ll genuinely want to share time with you and enjoy a chatty run for fun.  It’ll be their chance to rest and recover.  So go with it.

All great runners started at the beginning.  All good runners still run slowly a lot more than they run fast.

Running slowly with someone who could, if they chose to, leave you in the dust – will do you both a lot of good.

If their motive is to enjoy seeing you and that’s the main thing, then you can enjoy narrowing that gap as time goes on (and you will).

Sure, there are ****holes who do show off and never let you off with an easy run, always making sure they’re one step ahead and treating a group social as if it’s a race.  But they’re not likely to have suggested a simple run that suits you in the first place.  Nor are they likely to have accepted your offer of a friendly catch up either.

So trust that if a familiar face, who just happens to have been a runner for longer than you have, suddenly chooses to exploit the opportunity and combine your newly shared interest, with a chance to catch up and spend quality time together – you should go.

The worst that will happen is that you’ll up your game and they’ll get a well earned rest.  Ideal for both of you, as long as it’s at the right time/place and you still do your own thing the rest of the time.

Have fun.  And if in doubt – slow down.

See you out there.

 

 

 

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In Praise of Injinji – by Kate Wilkinson

 

Kate Wilkinson has run for years, representing Team Accelerate on occasion.

She frequently attends Accelerate events and is an ambassador for the Accelerate Performance Centre.

Here she offers some perspective for those who’ve questioned the effectiveness of Injinji Toe Socks.

 

 

 

 

 

So, you’ve seen those funny looking toe socks that look like gloves for your feet?

Maybe you’ve been tempted to try them but are worried that people in the gym will give you funny looks?

Yes they will, but it’s worth it.  It’s no exaggeration to say that I love these socks and they are one of my favorite items of running clothing.

Admittedly they are a bit of a faff to put on, but once you manage to wiggle each toe into its own individual socky house, you will feel like you’ve just acquired a new set of super powers – such as the ability to scale vertical walls like Spider-Man, hang from tree branches by your toes and even run a long way without getting blisters.

When I first started running, blisters were my nemesis.  I would set out full of enthusiasm, to return hobbling by the end of every run with a fresh set of glowing pustules.  Not pretty.

I tried everything, but to no avail.  Even soaking my feet in vinegar.  Running is supposed to be a low-cost activity, but not so when every long run requires an entire box of plasters.

Then one day I decided to try the weird toe socks, really just for a bit of entertainment.  Then I tried going for a run in them….

They feel a bit funky at first, but you get used to that and… amazing, no blisters.  Thinking it must be a fluke I repeated the experiment.  Longer runs, trail shoes, fell runs, thicker Injinji for the winter.  I won’t lie, I still get the occasional blistery problem so I have not quite put Compeed out of business but they’re probably wondering why profits have taken a nose dive.

So, happy feet all round and I rarely wear anything else to run in.  I have even wasted valuable seconds during triathlons putting on Injinji in transition.  All well and good but, having an inquisitive mind, I was curious about what was behind this apparent sock wizardry.

On the Injinji website it mentions proper separation and alignment of the toes (check), better moisture management (check) and elimination of friction (check).  But why?  I wondered… and then I knitted myself some mittens.

In case you didn’t know mittens are warmer than gloves, try it if you don’t believe me.  And applying the same principle means that toe socks keep your feet cooler. It’s all to do with heat transfer. Hot feet surrounded by colder air will cool down but the rate at which this happens is determined by the surface area of the hot thing (foot) in contact with the colder thing (air).  Toe socks increase the surface area and keep your feet cooler, and we all know that hot feet = blisters.  Mystery solved, injenius you might say!

So if you want cool feet try Injinjis.  If you suffer from cold hands get yourself some mittens.  Isn’t science great?

By Kate Wilkinson.

Accelerate supported runner and ‘frequent shopper in the Accelerate Store.

Click to Purchase Injinji Performance Toe Socks.

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A well earned recce

 

Hey.

 

I feel like there’s a race coming on.

More precisely, for all the running I’ve been doing, I thought it ought to be time to enjoy an event somewhere.  It’s been ages.

So I entered something local.  A 20 mile Trail Race called the Hathersage Hurtle.

This last weekend, I decided to go recce the section from start to 6miles (approx), since that looked like the part I was least familiar with.  That’s how recces work.

Here’s how it went.

I packed a few essentials and over dressed in a long sleeved top I’ve used throughout most of the winter.  It was fresh early on Sunday morning, but turned ot pretty mild with blazing sunshine at times, so the hilly start to my run quickly created a few problems for me.

I was killing a few birds, testing the route, some new HOKA shoes (review to follow) and nutrition that might soon appear in-store (yummy goodness).

But the recce was the main focus.  Race is May 21st, so not much time to get a few hilly trails in before taper.

I parked at the Plough Inn just outside of Hathersage village, a stone’s throw from where Race HQ will be on the day.

Click map to enlarge:

My Route – quarter of the race route.

 

 

I had my phone with me, but really couldn’t be bothered to take any pictures, despite using the phone constantly as navigation aid (following a screenshot of someone else’s GPS recce result).

Slowly but surely I negotiated my way across the area, taking note of where the route deviated from my assumptions about where I’d be heading.

It really does pay to approach these things with an open mind and think as if you’d never visited the area (if you have already).

I made slow progress, but got it all right first time.

It was still hard work though.  Up for about 4 miles.  So the long sleeve had outstayed its welcome after around 30 seconds.

I met people and announced “good morning”, to then reflect and acknowledge to myself that it was already well into the afternoon.

I stopped to let Horses past, mainly because I was stuck behind a car doing the same.  I passed a group of elderly walkers who had placed themselves on a high hillside and were admiring what was a pretty awe inspiring view.  That view was of the entire valley and by coincidence, represented the remainder of the race route, so a little daunting.

I had an off road motorbike wizz past me, then appear up ahead, coming in my direction – and having reached a gate first, waited for me to arrive and open the gate for him.  I’m not entirely sure of the etiquette in that situation, but I think it means that he’s a ****ing **** or something?

Anyway, I then got to enjoy a clear 2 mile stretch of downhill trail.  Hard earned, but brilliant fun.  Sharp right, and I was back on a serious, but short lived climb, until levelling and again heading gently downhill into Shatton.  I almost committed to running full tilt, splish/splosh/splash through the ford at the bottom, before realising last minute that there’s a narrow foot bridge to one side.  Ace.

Click Graph to enlarge:

Picking up a few good hints along the way and no errors in navigation (for a change), I then left the race route, in order to return directly to my car and head home.

10 miles of pure pleasure.  It’s been way too long.  I’m really looking forward to the event itself.

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