Recently I’ve been very lucky to spend some time in South Africa the home of some of the most beautiful running territory in the world. In London the overwhelming majority of my runs are road/pavement based and usually involve at least a few stops for cars and the like, dodging fumes and sharing the paths with the world and his wife. But alas like everything you have to make the most of what you’ve got. I do manage to get a weekly dose of greenery at the sanctuary of the local park at Parkrun. I’m so lucky that Nonsuch is my local run with a beautiful course through the magnificent grounds on mainly trails.
Whilst I’ve been here in SA I’ve been lucky enough to be able to run quite regularly and this has included taking on some amazing trail runs. It’s definitely a different type of joy to running on the road. I find myself concentrating on every step, with stride length adjusting all the time as you look for good ground to footstrike. At times it gets tricky and you may have to walk and climb on sections as nature puts some obstacles in the way, I recently ‘ran’ a trail that had some serious scrambling and climbing. You might at times be belting down a clear section or struggling up steep stepped sections. You will need to forget about maintaining a sensible pace, in fact I’ve enjoyed running free of the tech. If this isn’t your bag you may even feel a bit Meh about trying it out. BUT you will be rewarded with a connection to nature and at times see breathtaking views that a city can not replicate.
This trip I have turned off my GPS tracking and left my watch at home and tried to be a bit more mindful of what my body has been telling me, not chasing a pace or a zone. It’s been quite liberating and combined with being in the nature of the trail runs has allowed my to enjoy the experience immensely! I’m certainly not intending to abandon the roads by any stretch but I will be taking up more regular opportunities to get out in the wild and run along natures roads and paths. I might need to find myself some new trail gear now though, any excuse for some new shoes!