Last weekend, Edward and I headed to the Peak District to try something new… We went trail running.
After running the same two routes around the village all winter, I needed a change of air and I felt ready for a new challenge. Our new Salomon Speedcross 4 had been sitting in the closet for a few weeks already and it was time to get them muddy. And get them muddy we did!
We kicked off from Long Causeway Car Park and followed New Road for the first mile or so, before turning onto the footpath toward Great Tor. Starting on the tarmac was ideal; it allowed us to warm up and ease into the run before hitting the trails.
Unfortunately, it didn’t stop me from struggling for the first two or three miles. It always takes me a while to get comfortable into a run, but this time I also had to adjust to the new trail shoes. They are quite a change from my road trainers – tougher, less flexible – so I had to adapt my stride and landing. It was a tiny bit painful to start with, hence the tough first few miles, but once I was accustomed to the novelty of both the shoes and the terrain, it went very well.
By the time we hit the four-mile mark I was having proper fun and to my great pleasure, so was Edward!
I had dabbled in off-road running before but it was his first time so I was elated to see him enjoy himself that much. He is a natural! He adjusted pretty quickly and I felt like I was chasing a mountain goat for most of the run.
The route soon took us over to Stanage Edge and the path changed from boggy to dry(ish), rocky and uneven. Both terrains were equally enjoyable – I swear, getting covered in mud is a big part of the fun! – but I was happy to leave the slippery trail behind and pick up the pace a bit.
We followed the boulder path along the top of Stanage Edge up to Stanage Plantation and I’m quite certain I spent most of those two miles smiling and laughing gleefully. I hadn’t had that much fun in a long time, especially whilst running!
I still like road running – it has its merits and comes with its own set of challenges – but I loved the freedom of trail running. I was not trying to run a PB, getting distracted by the traffic or enduring the same old route… I was simply enjoying being out there.
We circled back to Long Causeway and headed down toward our car for a well-deserved, refuelling snack and to change into drier clothes and shoes. We ran 7.2 miles and for a first time on the trails, it was rather satisfying. I felt spent, but not exhausted or achy (that came later) and I probably could have kept going for a little while longer. It was a great feeling.
We’ve been out again this weekend, this time for a short loop around Totley Moor, and are planning to hit the trails again later this week. Needless to say, I’m completely hooked!