Since Atacama (and a spontaneous marathon in Chile the week after), my legs haven’t really wanted to start training again for next year’s races. It’s not that I’ve fallen out of love with running, rather, my body and mind have just needed longer to recover than usual, which I suppose is to be expected after taking on a race of such magnitude.
Not running over 60 miles a week frees up a lot of hours, which have come in handy. I’ve had time to focus on my side projects and coaching. I attended Jasyoga’s Monday Night Reset, which I can’t recommend enough to runners looking to undo some of the issues that come about from constant forward motion in a single plane. Erin is a brilliant teacher and the sessions were also a great excuse to hang out with friends and make new ones. After the final class of the three-week course, we headed to the pub to thank our bodies for the things it lets us do in a different way by feeding it with beer and burgers, while discussing our upcoming races.
It’s not often I want to do the same race twice, but in just under six weeks, I’ll be running from Wendover to London again. Country to Capital is basically a 44 mile race to the pub in Paddington, but this time around I’m looking forward to taking it easy and running with friends. It’ll also be one of my longest training runs for next year’s big race, Trans Gran Canaria.
On Sunday, I headed to Dorset to run with two friends I met at a race last year. Susie and Gemma are both incredible ultra runners, with races like Marathon des Sables and UTMB under their belts. I think it would be fair to say that, like me, both have discovered running later in their lives, but have completed some of the toughest events in the world, which really proves you can do anything you put your mind to in ultra running (and life in general).
The run was my longest since Atacama and my legs really felt the miles; there was a lot of mud and nearly 1,000m of climbing in total over the 20 mile coastal route. But I came away from the trip not worrying about the fact I’d found the hills and terrain tough, but grateful to have had the opportunity to run in a beautiful part of the country with friends. It’s experiences like this that keep me excited about running long distances.
For me, running has always been about having amazing experiences with like-minded people, and Atacama and the past month have really reinforced this. So next year, I’m planning a social trip to Fort William to do just this, for a weekend of training in the Scottish Highlands. It’s open to anyone that’s free on 7-8 February and doesn’t mind staying in no-frills settings while doing a lot of running. If it’s something that sounds of interest then drop me an email and I’ll send out more detailed plans.