Well, that was horrible!

So, I'm home on hols for the week and I thought I'd try something a little different. Pretty much all my running has been on roads to date, with the odd flirtation with a gravel-laid bridal trail through a local country park. I've been concentrating on longer runs of late, so I thought I'd get back to basics, head off to a different country park and run what I thought was going to be a straightforward 5k. I'd plotted a course that would take me mainly around a very large grassed area. There were a couple of hills involved, but nothing I'd didn't think I could handle.

I donned my somewhat underused trail shoes and started off at my usual pace. Not too bad to start with, but I quickly discovered a big difference. The certainty of placing your foot down on flat Tarmac had disappeared. All too often there was rut in the ground that had to be avoided or a tuft of grass sticking up unexpectedly. Small sticks and foliage laying on the ground suddenly became land mines to be dodged at any cost. And long grass! Have you ever tried running through grass that hasn't been recently mown? It's like running through treacle! To add insult to injury, the final 750m was all up hill. My recent run of sub 29 minute 5ks was brought to an end. 32.30! Horrible!!

I have learned two things today. Firstly, I'd rather run on my local country roads that have no pavements and run headlong at oncoming traffic than run through grass and secondly, I have a huge amount of respect for those of you who run over this kind terrain regularly.

Now, where are my road running shoes?


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12 Replies

  • I tried trail running last week , I ran in the woods & I loved it , doing it again this weekend there was no long grass though just a wooded hilly area .

  • I've run on woodland trails before. They're not too bad.

    No, It's the grass. It's just plain evil. And the long grass? that's truly evil.

  • I did my first two weeks on C25K cross country.

    I think it stood me in good stead

  • I ran on grass once - and never again. Paths suit me much better and, thankfully, we are well served for paths in my area. I might try some trails in the park next door after graduation but, for now, I shall stick to the tried and tested. Good luck with your next run - I'm sure it will all be fine and normal again. Best wishes.

  • You'll be able to find trails without grass. There's bound to be some nearby so I wouldn't give up on it just yet. Trails are easier on the knees but I agree with you that you have to watch your step. I love the trail though, much more than the road, but I switch between the two all the time.

  • A couple of chaps were talking about this last week at parkrun, how the course is so hard because it's rocky and stony and then when you get to the grassy bit the ground has dips and holes etc in it. I didn't get the whole of the conversation, only while I was in earshot as I came up behind, overtook and was close enough in front of them to continue to hear, but I was wondering where they'd been for the previous couple of months when the rocky path bit was more or less submerged and the grassy bits were more accurately seen as boggy or marshy bits (which is why they have holes and dips and ridges now, that's my foot prints).

    Even with the narrow paths, rocks, tree roots, puddles etc I still like going off road, though I must admit it's a bit of a rest to get onto the roads now and again!

  • I usually run on the beach along by the water so the sand is packed down a little. It's easier on the knees and beautiful to run looking out at the ocean. Helps, of course, that I live in Southern California. Wind up getting sand in your shoes though!

  • I have always thought that the mudflats of the Essex coastline are a match for the beaches of Catalina island, any day of the week.

    Who am I kidding......

  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right! :-) Norfolk coastline has some nice beaches.

  • My regular walking route is 50/50 split between a grassy path with loads of mole hills and a main road. Getting up on the main road signals to me that I can speed up a little and relax a little - the grassy part is definitely the hardest, but it's nice to see the canal and the sheep and nature without having to watch out for cars.

  • I may be labouring the point, but this morning I ran 12k on the road and it was definitely easier than yesterday's 5k on grass. I do get the point about the sights and sounds of the country, but since I live in a semi-rural area, running the roads around here isn't too bad.

  • It's that uncut grass that's evil isn't it. My longest ever run was 7k & at the end I ended up on a playing field. Part of it was trimmed & that was fine but trying to run across the long grass to exit the field creased me & I threw in the towel. It looks so innocuous but you are right - pure evil.

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