The road is dead. Long live the trail.


It has been a great week in my short running life as I managed to break 50+ miles a week for the first time and physically feel pretty good I have to say. Having had this week off from work I have been lucky enough to pick anytime throughout the day to enjoy my running and the very pleasant weather.

Mon:PM 8 miles (1:05) Local Roads., Run was mainly set around local roads near where I live with 5lb backpack.

Wed:PM 8.3 miles (1:11) Hornchurch Country Park., First time in the Country Park for an off road run since January. Have put together a great 4.25 mile loop consisting of a 200ft hill in the middle of the route.

Thu:PM 8.3 miles (1:08) Hornchurch Country Park., Another glorious day and slightly faster run on the same route as wednesday.

Fri:AM 6.4 miles (:53) Hornchurch Country Park., Decided to shorten today's efforts in preparation for the weekend mileage but a solid run at a steady pace and cut out the hill section of my usual loop.

Sat:AM 5.3 miles (:51) Hornchurch Country Park., Very easy run today with a friend who is just coming back to running. Felt very comfortable throughout and the legs felt fresh.

Sun:AM 15.4 miles (2:12) Hornchuch Country Park., Long run was supposed to be a very steady run however I felt so comfortable that I managed to easily maintain an 8:37 minute mile pace throughout the run. No hills today.

-Miles 51.7
-Hours 7hr 22min

Since returning from the Lake District earlier this week it opened my eyes to the fact that I really need to train on the surface I intend to race on so I decided at the beginning of this week that I should switch full time to training on trails/grass and fortunately for me I have a local country park on my doorstep. So I put on my Inov-8 Roclite 315 shoes and headed out on a warm and sunny wednesday afternoon to get the miles in. Every run since then has felt great, my legs feel fresh and  I don't have any of the aches or niggles that I usually get from the road plus I have realised how much I love running off-road.

Running through the local country park has proven to be liberating. It has dozens of potential routes, great hills for repeats and varied wildlife (apart from the dog walkers who cannot control their canines). I don't look at my watch (as much as usual) or take my Ipod. There's no cars, no persons to avoid knocking over on the pavement and no roads to cross in order to get to the next section of pavement. I keep thinking that the only downside to this could be that I will meet a snake out there and it will cause me a different sort of injury from ones I have had previously on the roads, a scary thought indeed.

I love the thought of running out there so much that I experimented this week with 6 runs instead of 4.  This has contributed in me clocking up 50+ miles this week and it could seen as something to worry about as I haven't broke 40 miles a week since January. Time will tell eventually whether I can sustain this however now that I am in the zone I intend to give it my best shot and am determined to keep the number of sessions up there to around five or six a week.

This week has been a revelation for me and having come to the realisation that I need an indefinite break from the roads I am looking forward to all the events in June-August. I have enjoyed running so much this week that it has given me a real boost to how I feel about things everytime I have stepped outside the door. I have managed to recover much faster from each run and I hope that this is the start of a new chapter in my running journey.

Finally, as the number of running session's increases and the mileage goes up, the time I spend on running will need to be offset by some other means. This will be a challenge as I want to ensure that I continue to try and balance all areas of my life. A lot of runners have this predicament and with the fact my family are my number one priority and I am back to work this week, I am not setting a running schedule in place of any kind with the exception of a long run at the weekend. It will be a matter of taking the opportunity to run when I can. A lot of my running usually takes place before the family wakes up but of course if my wife get's woken up by the kids that balance maybe shot!

Enjoy your running this week everyone and always ensure that if you have a support crew like mine that you always put them first.


  1. I can relate to a lot of your post, having just had a week off I too have been out more in the hills, mileage has gone up (slightly), and also have to be careful about life balance. Nice post and very interesting to know others like me are out there too.

  2. glad you've seen the light Richard!! Trails rock. I had a similar experience last year following the london marathon. decided to focus on trails rather than roads and haven't looked back!! well i say that. I am doing london this year too but its only a blip on my ultra/trail running schedule!

  3. I gotta say the roads just aren't doing it for me anymore! There is definitely something mystical and relaxing when on the trails.

    Looking to go further a field for some good long runs on the trails down here in the South East.

    Have fun!


  4. Richard
    It looks like Tonbridge is on in May with a few showing interest!!! 23/5 looks favourite at the moment. Jerry S

  5. Nice one Jerry! I will stick it in the diary! Cannot wait! Email me when certain.



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