This year is all about the trails.
I have been a road runner for most of my running life and not because of preference, it is just the way it has all panned out.
I have lived in the likes of Manchester and London with limited green nearby, so the races that have been on my doorstep have been the big city races. Now don’t get me wrong, I could have done a bit of travelling to the outskirts (and still can) to find some greenery, but that never came on to the training agenda often.
I quickly grew within the world of running and it all started out in the hood. I enjoy the pace of city running… But now that I have pounded the pavements for a few years, my interest has swayed towards the trails.
I have done a little bit of trail running in the past, here and there, as I love being outdoors in the greener parts of the world. Taking in the fresh air and seeing new places is a different feeling to doing the same old tracks day-in-day-out.
The trails are so much more challenging for the mind and body. It is something that I have always wanted to get involved with, but it hasn’t always been so readily available.
Trail running takes a little more planning and needs a little bit more experience than your average road stomping. Having someone who is experienced in this area is worth listening to. It is easy to get lost, to do too much too soon and there are a few more risks. However, this is outweighed by the greater things that trail running can give you in return.
Salomon had asked me to come to their Salomon Trails Festival to experience trail running and grab some tips and tricks from the pro’s at Box Hill. The journey was around two hours from London, but the whole day would be spent at the festival. Signing into the registration to collect my timing band and goody bag, I felt super excited for what the day had to bring.
In the goody bag, we had the usual discount leaflets and brand awareness. A token to retrieve a Salomon flexible water bottle (which REALLY came in handy as I forgot mine, DOH!) a trial tea bag from We Are Mission, a Grangers clothing/footwear care spray and a Salomon cap.
A Salomon shop was there selling equipment for keen runners, which could also be trialled at a different station. Which meant runners could try out certain items whilst out on the runs. I was tempted, but also a little bit wary of trying something new. I will definitely look into their stuff in the near future, seen as I’m in search for some more footwear, fit for the trails!
A couple of workshops were happening through-out the day which were for newbie trail runners or for anyone wanting some extra tips on running on the terrains. There is a specific skill to running up or down hill and it was interesting to collect any information that would help me whilst out on the trails.
I started my day with the guided 10KM and really underestimated how tough the hills would be. Within the first ten minutes, we hit the first hill which really knocked me for six. It was the combination of not warming up properly and not knowing what to expect from the route itself. I really surprised myself!
I didn’t quite realise how hard it would be and I really struggled. The pro’s of the group had shot up to the top whilst I puffed and panted my way up…
It was then that I realised how different this would be in comparison to my usual training. I had to accept that I would be at the back of the pack and told myself to embrace the moment. I am a fairly fit person, but this made me see that there were SO much more that I needed to do with my fitness.
Although I struggled with the route, I didn’t feel defeated. If anything, I felt like I NEEDED to do this again, to prove to myself that I could do it. I wanted to become a much stronger runner on both the trails and on the road back home. I loved everything else about this run, so why give up just because I wasn’t so great at it? Room for improvement I say!
In between the runs, we had chance to eat at one of the food vendors that were there (my eye was on the pizza and halloumi!) and listen to the many talks that were on. Many inspiring runners were there to share their personal experience and to help us with a few tricks of the trade.
Unfortunately, the weather was pretty awful during this period; It didn’t quite know what to do with itself. Cloudy skies and moments of rain meant it was hard to stay warm and motivated, but that wasn’t to be helped. It was June, who expected this to happen in summer?
Second Time Lucky.
The second time we went out for our timed 10KM run, I felt much more confident and prepared for what I was to overcome. The sun had started to shine brightly and the spirits were high from everyone that were ready to race. I wasn’t aiming for a particular time, just to be able to complete it better than I had first time around…
…And I was successful.
We all ended the day on a huge high! We cheered with a free pint from Chapeau Brewing to celebrate the day with Salomon. A lot of beautiful sights and challenging terrains; great for anyone in training or for those who love to stay active within amazing views. Live music played and we all sat out on the bales of hay eating and drinking until the end of the event.
I would highly recommend this event to anyone trialling out the trails for their first time, if you love running in the outdoors, or even if you want something to really test your fitness. It was a fantastic event and I will definitely be visiting again in the future. The ticket price is more than worth it. Totally affordable to all and you gain some experiences that you will never forget!
Thanks for the #gifted ticket Salomon. I will be trying out some more trails this year for sure!