Mountain running and park runs , I’m a little late with this weekend post from 7th-8th July but my excuse? Holding running in the lovely Italian Dolomites and Lake Garda…
If you ever fancy a DIY running holiday, I can’t recommend Lake Garda and the Dolomites enough. I was there last week, firstly in the Dolomites to take part in an arduous but absolutely amazing cycle sportive, Maratona Dles Dolomites. I then stayed on and just ran the trails that I could find. Hilly, hard but absolutely stunning with nothing but the babble of mountain springs and the gentle ring of cowbells through the clear air.
The amazing thing about this area, Alta Badia is that during the summer, they even put on regular weekly runs for five euros, that you can just join and they’ll guide you through amazing mountain trails. I didn’t have time but I definitely plan to return. Details here
Running is big in every country now but, until I went to Italy I had no idea just how huge the trail running scene is, not to mention fantastic ultra trails. Just a weeks before, was the Laveredo Ultra Trail Race which The Guardian’s Adharanand Finn wrote about last week (read it here).
A few days later, I travelled from the Dolomites to Lake Garda, where I kept coming across placards on the mountains and billboards advertising incredible races. On one hike, I saw signs for the Lake Garda Mountain Race. Sounds amazing, I thought. The clue was in the name though, this is a race that starts on the lake level at the beautiful Malsecine and climbs from 68 metres to 2128 metres. Bearing in mind I had DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) for 48 hours from walking down, you can imagine how crazy fit you’d have to be.
But this area holds a special place in my running heart, as it is Lake Garda that was my very first marathon – it was hot, it poured with rain, the race refreshment included biscuits (which I tried – doh!) and there was Prosecco on the finishing line. (You can read the article I wrote about the race here). It was also the location of one of our busiest race trips with over 32 Girls Run the World runners joining us for the 10km and 15 mile race.
But back here in the UK, it was a super hot weekend with lots of our runners reporting suffocatingly hot park runs from Scotland to Southampton. Did you run?
And if you are off on holiday soon, what do you do about running? Do you still run, how do you explore?
We’d love to hear from any of you who race, where you ran, what you thought, would you recommend it? Comment below or in our Facebook group.
Love running off-road but unsure where to run or worried about getting lost? Or are you visiting Brighton for the weekend and have your trainers with you and would love to explore? Join us this Sunday for a gorgeous run that will take you through poppy fields and via the amazing Breaky Bottom vineyard
here at GRTW, we colour our running seasons, January – March is usually the white season – skies full of cloud, snow on the ground. March to April, is yellow season for all the daffodils, then it’s the Blue Season, which is all about the carpets of bluebells.
But right now, we’re at the tale end of the Red Season, with poppies carpeting the fields with the Purple Season edging in with the powder purple of flowering flax. This and more you’ll get to see on our nine mile run open to anyone who can run the distance.
For those wanting a shorter route, there is a 4.5 mile route, with the latter part returning on your own on a easy -straight back to car park – route.
Book online, £10. Details of where to meet can be found here. All runs leave at 8.30am.
Whatever your goal, to complete GRTW Runuary, to train for a marathon to reach your first 5km, read these tips from these four inspiring, every day female runners who took part in GRTW Runnual – to run every day of the year – in 2017…
Hildi Mitchell, 47, teacher
Why did you decide to do it?
It was New Year’s Day when my friend, Emma told me about Girls Run the World Runuary 2017. I’d been ill all holiday and was feeling despondent but she persuaded me that it would be a great way to get back to running (I’d had to take 2 months out of my training for Brighton marathon due to injury and illness), on top of which we were at La Santa, it was sunny and there was a running track on my door step. By February, I was loving the challenge and decided to carry on.
I almost gave up when…never although there were hard days when I was ill and super busy. I had to run on a morning of my sister’s wedding after a gruelling two day interview, and once at 5am in the morning before packing all the kids suitcases to dash to the airport to fly home from holiday. Only once did I nearly not run and that was in January when I went out in my pyjamas, coat and wellies to walk the dog because I wasn’t feeling the running vibe. Then I thought, ‘What the hell!’ and ran a kilometre holding my hands over my boobs because I wasn’t wearing a running bra! It was then I realised I’d probably been making too much fuss about the effort required in ‘going for a run’ in the past.
The biggest surprise was…that I didn’t get injured because I learned to listen to my body in new ways. I adjusted my route, distance and time of day to reduce grumbles. Plus I got a 5km PB after five years, which I think came from the discipline of running every day.
My friends and family …were really supportive although my husband thought I’d get injured or make myself seriously ill. I did most of my runs with my cockerpoo, Pippin, but it also meant I ran with my sister and my daughter who did her first park run with me. We all ended up running the Edinburgh marathon relay with my daughter doing the final leg which was really special.
The best thing… about it has been all the amazing sunrises and sunsets, and the experience of the changing seasons, the light, the weather and the world around me, a special gift which I’ll never forget.
If you’re considering doing it in 2018 here’s my three best tips…
1. Commit to a minimum distance and route: it’s 1 km from my door, round the half of the field over the road that is lit by street lights, and back again. That was my go to run on bad or busy days – and it doubled as a quick dog walk too.
2. Stop washing your hair after every run. Anything you can do to reduce the time it takes means it’s more likely it will happen. Get some dry shampoo and an attitude instead.
3. Get another challenge ready for After You Finish. You’ll be setting yourself the expectation that you WILL do this, but you’ll also have something ready to keep you motivated once you’ve achieved it. I’ve signed up for a 12 mile relay swim – better get in back in the pool!
Ruth Farnell, 56 IT Project Manager
Why did you decide to do it?
I didn’t I just found myself carrying on after runuary. After a few months, people started asking me “when are you going to stop” and I had to have an answer so I said “after a year”
I almost gave up when…. I got back from a long day at work and had to go out for a short run at 11.30pm. I’ll be forever grateful to my partner for sticking my trainers on and pushing me out the door because he knew the streak was very important to me.
The biggest surprise was… finding some beautiful running routes in parts of the country and in cities where you would least expect to and the joy of running in the rain.
My friends and family…were really supportive, my four adult kids are really proud of my running in general but particularly with runnual and completing my first 2 marathons. My partner has thought me barking mad but has also been quietly very supportive.
The best thing about it has been…
1. Meeting lots of new people, especially Anne-Marie D, a quiet dignified lady who let me share her runs in a beautiful part of Belgium, South of Brussels who i met through GRTW Runuary.
2. The sunrises, which set me up for my day and helped get everything into perspective. We are tiny specs in the universe with such a short time on the planet so enjoy your running and as many sunrises as possible.
3. introducing me to a community that stretches across generations and brings you together with people you wouldn’t normally meet.
If you’re considering doing it in 2018, here’s my three best tips…
1. Use the internet and find out where people run in places you might be visiting.
2. Plan when you are going to run and do not be put off by the weather – get out there at the time you said.
3. Keep kit at work so you can nip out at lunch time if possible and to generally give you some flexibility.
Runuary has changed my running – or me – …..I’ve have developed muscles running 1300 miles this year – little and often suits me and all my times have improved and I’m much braver. Statistically women are relatively safe going out at night (women are more likely to be attacked in their own home). I’ve run places I wouldn’t have considered before and found them perfectly OK. I have also dealt with my phobia of big dogs.
Jenny, 46, project officer
Why did you decide to do it?
I split up with my husband in autumn 2016 and was looking for a new challenge to kickstart my health. Being part of Girls Run the World Runuary gave me a good reason to get out of the house every day, to run off some of the stressful emotions and to have a little time focusing on me.
I almost gave up …. on day 282, it was October, the days were getting shorter and I was working on a deadline at work so time was limited. The year was a long way in and I was feeling tired and it just felt pointless to run a joyless 1mile but fortunately my kids pushed me out the door and I’m glad I went.
The biggest surprise was… how much of a difference running every day has made. I no longer negotiate about whether I’m going to run, I just find the time slot each day that will be most convenient.
My friends and family …have all been very encouraging.
The best thing about it has been…the stress-relief, just one mile per day and the fun of discovering new places and sights to enjoy.
If you’re considering doing it in 2018, here’s my three best tips…
1. embrace those 1-mile runs – they are basically a rest day and help you stay injury-free and stop the injury risk of increasing your mileage too quickly
2. Find new timeslots in your week to run (I now run in the 30 minutes between dropping off and picking up my daughter from her flute lesson; also I drive past a park on my way home from work so once a week or I change into my running gear and get in a couple of miles before I get home.
3. I’m now a massive fan of taking running pics. They’ve helped distract me from thinking about the actual running and it has been really useful to look out for new/interesting/photo-worthy things, particularly on those local 1-mile runs that would have become very monotonous otherwise.
Runuary has changed my running – running every day means that each run matters less, so when you have one of those runs where you feel like a tortoise trudging through treacle happen, I don’t worry about it any more. Tomorrow is another day and will be different.
Wendy Davidson, Administrative exectutive
Why did you decide to try and run all year? I’d had a terrible 2016 and the idea of runnual inspired me. I thought that running was unlikely to make me feel worse, and would probably help.
I almost gave up when…. Believe it or not, apart from the odd day when I thought “Oh no I’ve got to run”, I never thought of giving up. I’ve run in rain, snow, ice, with hangovers, once I make my mind up I rarely give up.
The biggest surprise was… how much I enjoyed it and how much better it made me feel, so quickly.
My friends and family thought …I was crazy but they were really supportive.
The best thing about it has been…running with some lovely people, especially my partner in crime, Liz Shand, who was the one who suggested we do runuary and who also did runual. We’ve both lost our mojos at different times but we’ve been able to get the other one back into it We only run together 2-3 times per month but following each other on Strava has given us that support.
Runuary has changed my running – in that now I enjoy it, so much that sometimes I’d go out and run twice. IT’s also made me a much happier person and stopped me spiralling into depression. It’s lifted me further up than I’ve been in a very long time.
Inspired by the marathon or simply by lighter mornings, warmer weather and the desire to get fit and explore? If so, why not join our Brighton summer series of off-road running suitable for all levels and speeds…
If you love the Downs, and love running but want to get fit(ter), without the pressure of necessarily aiming for a race, then join our summer series.
It is being designed with YOU in mind. Once you book, you receive an email confirmation asking you to outline what your goals are for the summer series.
It could simply be, ‘I want to feel and become fitter,’ or ‘I am training for a half marathon and want to build endurance/speed.’ Whatever it is, tell us and then we will build the programme around everyone’s combined goals.
All our runs will be off-road but it could mean that we will do some interval laps in the middle of nowhere to build up stamina. Or do a six mile loop that can be repeated if building distance so you can stay to do as many as is suitable for your training.
This means that, if you can’t make every single session, it’s not the end of the world (check the details on our booking page for the event to see all the dates which are a mixture of Sat and Sunday, all starting 8.30am). And it enables us to provide the kind of training that suits every level of runner from the ‘eek, I need to get fit,’ runner to the ‘I’m focused on reaching my half ironman goal,’ to those who are aiming for an autumn marathon or our Girls Run the World Run Away trip to Valencia this October.
So, sign up to get our early bird deal of £60 before April 30th and fill out your goals questionnaire so we can get planning.
And if you’re worrying about these kinds of things, ‘ooh, I’m not fast enough, what if I hold everyone up?’ OR ‘I’m not a runner like those women I see in the pictures,’ or even, ‘I want to get faster, will it be fast enough,’ don’t worry, we’ve got you covered, we’ve been doing this for eight years.
All we ask is that you can run 5km** without stopping when joining the summer series. If you can do that, don’t let your fear of the ‘what if’s,’ prevent you from the taking on the opportunity to explore the what could be.