I'm a big Tarmac fan and 90 percent plus of my runs are on the road. This weekend I thought I'd try something different. I dusted off my infrequently used trail shoes and decided to do two runs at two different country parks. Both have lots of hills. Why? I was just in the mood to take it easy and see something different.
The first was a 7k run through woodland and along a winding bridal trail through grazing land. You really have to watch your step there.... The second was a 6k run around a country park. A mixed surface and no cows this time, but the hills! I was up on my toes pushing hard up each one. In both cases I found it much, much tougher than my usual road runs. I'd go as far as to say that both of these were harder than a 10k road run that I usually do on a weekend.
It made me think about what I mean by "harder". Did I spend more time recovering after the run than I usually would? No. Was in some kind of physical pain? No. I wasnt even trying to run a fast time. I'm pretty sure it was the mental effort required to concentrate for a good length of time on avoiding dips in the ground and cow deposits and finding a way to climb those hills.
....oh, and I was also chased for a while by a rather angry looking, but thankfully small dog. He didn't look tired at all. Just angry.
It was pretty tough, oddly enjoyable and I will do it again. If anyone out there does this kind of thing regularly and you have any tips, I'm listening!