If I have the choice between a road or a trail run then trail wins every time. What isn’t to like? The views, the wildlife (OK, not the cows) the varying terrain, it’s an adventure. To me going out on a trail run isn’t a hard slog but a thrill of where I am going and what I will see. I am very lucky that living in Mid-Wales means that we have a never ending supply of different trails to follow, with national trails such as Offas Dyke and Glyndwrs Way on my doorstep. Mid-Wales also brings one other thing, hills and lots of them, we are renowned for fell races in this part of the country with Cardingmill Valley and the Breiddens all within a 40 minute drive. What a brilliant training ground!
Why I love the trails I’m not a fast runner, my pace is around ten minute miling on the road and perhaps this is why I love the trails so much, you get natural breaks climbing stiles and crossing streams, and the terrain slows you down as do the hills. For me running is about enjoyment. As a busy working mum my time out running is limited and so I want to enjoy it as much as possible. I do like the hills too, lots of my running friends hate hills with a passion but what goes up must come down and I seem to have a natural strength for running uphill. Descents are great and this is where your pelvic floor exercises come in after having kids! OK even I have to admit that road does have its place, sometimes the weather dictates a road run, unless you are prepared to get covered in mud (always an option) as does training. To be a faster runner you have to train faster and although fartlek and speed sessions can be done on the trails sometimes it is easier and safer to do these on the road.
Wild-life We know the benefits of trail running, running on softer ground is kinder to your joints and the undulating ground can help strengthen your core and ankles. The mental benefits are huge too, getting out there and hearing the birds sing (you don’t need your Ipod) and wildlife spot, on my runs this year alone I’ve seen an owl, numerous buzzards, squirrels, foxes, swans, ducks, deer, and of course many a sheep and cow. With that I have also had to skirt along a side of the hedge when faced with a grumpy bull in a field (my husband who ran the field about five minutes before me ensures me he was fine) and have also got lost a few times, I seem to have a natural ability to always take the wrong turn. But over the years my navigational skills have got slightly better and I have a good training partner who loves an adventure just as much as me! I wonder where the trails will take us next?
Sharon Davies is an accountant, mum of two, and wife to former British fell running champion Tim Davies. Her brother-in-law Andrew Davies Will compete in the Commonwealth Games for the marathon. Sharon has started a running group in her local town an now has over 100 active members. I spend a lot of time motivating others to run and I enjoy it alongside my own running.
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