The Power of the Trail

3 June 2014, 16:20

I’ve mentioned it a few times, but I’d not really been feeling “back in the game” since London marathon. I’d put the miles in, but they seemed tougher than usual, and even worse was that my mindset wasn’t back, either. I may have run a new PB at Bupa 10k, but it felt tough and mentally I felt like I could’ve just quit and gone and done something else at any moment along the course.

But still I plodded on, knowing it’d come back when it wants to. I especially wanted to go back to my beloved Hampstead Heath trails since, for one reason or another, I’d been busy each Saturday since London and hadn’t been round there in at least two months. Unfortunately, my usual group of Saturday runners were all either recovering from ultras, out of town, or off watching the pro triathletes round Hyde Park. It’s a measure of exactly how hard up I was for some trail time that I just brushed it off, brought my headphones, and hit the Heath on my own.

It certainly didn’t hurt that the weather was gorgeous – warm enough to get away without a jacket (meaning I could run with just my waist pack instead of a full backpack), bright sunshine, and just a hint of soft ground from the previous few days of rain. Being on my own meant that I could go at whatever pace I felt like, without worrying that I was going slower than usual or not racing up the hills as fast as others – I could rumble up and down when I wanted, jump over logs, and dodge dogs without fear of others coming along behind.

Hampstead Heath trail

The best part of being on my own was a renewed sense of adventure that comes with not having run our usual loops for two months – I took a few wrong turns, but then I actively started taking wrong turns just to see new parts of the forest. I was never concerned that I might get lost, as I wasn’t really that concerned with how far I was going to run! In the end, I ran for about two hours and I felt great, both in body and spirit. My legs were happy to have the squishier ground instead of concrete, and my mind certainly relished the time in the forest and a chance to explore. I really, really needed that.

What’s even better though it that it appears to have kickstarted something in me – my Monday longish run seemed to fly by even though I was wearing glasses for the first time ever (I’m getting laser eye surgery so I can’t wear my contact lenses for the week preceding it, and no exercise at all the week after!). A run I was dreading because of the glasses was actually pretty enjoyable, and I ended up going further than I initially set out to do.

Post run selfie with glasses

I also seem to be back on the healthy eating, too, having run through my semi-annual carb and sweet tooth phase, and I’m chugging down my lemon water when it felt like a struggle only last week. I know I’ve got a few months of hard training ahead for the British Transplant Games in August, and Berlin Marathon in September, but it feels like I may once again be finally headed in the right direction.

Next stop: Hackney Half in a few weeks, though with my interruptions in training, I’m thinking now I’ll just run to enjoy it.

tags: ,


  1. Glad your mind and body are back in the running mode since that is where I know you want them to be. Also glad you are running for enjoyment. That is what it is all about!

    — Mom    5 June 2014, 15:00    #
  2. It’s funny how taking the pressure off and just taking ourselves where we fancy it can help :) A friend of mine has really been struggling with motivation recently and is finding it hard to get back in the groove. I hope she’ll take comfort from this :)

    Louise    14 June 2014, 15:27    #

Add a comment:

  Textile help