I’m in a pickle.
Trail Rush is this Sunday and it’s a great course(Sheffield Round Walk). But I’ve just spent two weeks suffering a viral cold that had me achy and weak, barely moving – let alone running. I’m still coughing and bunged up, so hardly a good idea to do too much too soon.
But I’m entered into Trail Rush and I was hardly looking to win it exactly. Could I take it easy and come out feeling better for a run, or will I blow up or injur myself?
I’m tempted just to set off and see how it goes, but I might fall for the old ‘auto-pilot’ and over do it from the off. Dunno.
I’m not a fan of the heat, so that’s definitely a factor. Then again, what happens if I don’t run? I might keep making excuses until I lose all form and fitness entirely. Is 15 miles a bit too much, coming out of total rest?
Think I’ll do it, despite the complete lack of running over the last few weeks, then share how it went. Good or bad.
Regardless of my decision, I recommend the run. The route is amazing, considering you’re actually in Sheffield the entire time and often get to enjoy some beautiful tracks and trails, in places you’d never have expected.
If like me, you’re tempted, but haven’t made your mind up yet – the good news is that entries are welcome on the day. Just make sure you arrive in time to register, which means 8am in time for a 9am start.
Full details are explained on the event website, so sign up now to avoid it selling out before you get there.
For what it’s worth, my quick guide to Trail Rush goes as follows:
Start/finish is in Graves Park and the route follows a counter-clockwise loop as far as Ringinglow before curving back again. In that time you’ll roughly take in three big climbs and three downhill stretches. It’s worth bearing in mind that the first section of the race is largely downhill, allowing you to get a rhythm and ‘warm up'(though the way it’s going outside, you’ll be very warm indeed).
As you reach Hunter’s Bar and enter Endcliffe Park(having briefly worked your way up climb No1 – Brincliffe Edge) you begin No2 – the most significant climb. The strength sapping Porter Clough. Favoured among Sheffield runners and a gateway into the Peak District. You work your way up a seemingly endless uphill until finally swooping left and across a wooden footbridge. This will reward you in two ways. Obviously there’s the relief that comes from levelling out. More importantly, you’ve completed half the course and the hardest section is now behind you*.
The trick: Slow down. Run well within yourself until this point, measuring your speed on all flat/downhills so as to preserve the quads, then not tiring to the point of lactic attack before reaching the top of Porter Clough. Soon as it levels, you’re in Ringinglow – with a drink stop and the amazing downhill stretch through Limb Valley to look forward to, closely followed by Ecclesall Woods. Once you emerge at Abbeydale Rd and head for Twentywell Lane, you’ll do well to remember that this is the final big climb,
*But if you’ve already hammered it, this section is a real pig. The route through Lady Spring Wood features an ‘undulating’ path that at one point includes 73 steps up the steep hillside. Not good. The path keeps rising and falling as you gradually gain altitude and reach Park Bank Wood for more of the same. Tired legs will turn on you right here if you’re not careful. It’ll feel as if the course was designed to break you, even though it’s really quite nice to look at. When you finally come out on the A61 just beneath the entrance to Graves Park, it’s a stint more uphill, then into the park, more uphill and the finish.
Obviously, with all that ‘UP’, it’ll be ‘fun’ to try and judge exactly how much is too much early on. And that’s it really. Oh – and you’ll be fine in road shoes, despite the trails. All are well established and by now baked solid. There’s a lot of tarmac, even when running through parks and wooded areas, along with rocky sections. Hardly any need for aggressive shoes. Keep it comfy.
As long as you haven’t spent the last few weeks laying still and scoffing paracetamol like they were polos, you’ll be fine…..
Don’t forget that along with Accelerate, Mizuno are supporting this event and are offering promotional vouchers to those who take part(redeemable against their Trail Shoe range here in store), so do get involved. It’ll be a fun day out Graves Park will even have a fun fair in the next field over for all to enjoy. Amazing!