Today, I had a proper nightmare on my run. I haven’t had such a run for a long time. The problems were many and all my fault from start to finish. It just goes to show, that even after a few years of running, you can still get it badly wrong if you don’t plan it properly.
Fell Running Mistake #1 – The Distance
I have been toying with the idea of doing a half marathon equivalent on the fells. I’m sure I can do it just based on other long runs I have done before. So I thought this might be good practice.
However, I didn’t measure the distance first, and I was way too ambitious with the distance given that I haven’t done a really long run for a while, and I’m as big as a barrel after Christmas.
My route was 19k with 250m of elevation. What was I thinking? Really? Hubris, pure hubris!
Fell Running Mistake #2 – State of Mind
I really wasn’t that up for it, I’d planned to do a simple park run in the morning but due to ice, the thing had been called off, frustrated and tense, I was desperate to get out and run hard no matter what. In addition to this, I forgot to pick up my inhaler, I am a long time asthmatic. 90% of the time it NEVER troubles me…whenever I run without an inhaler, it bites. Must be psychosomatic, but it can be a real pain and a bit of a worry if you’re on your own.
Sometimes, It’s best to just have a short trot out without too much pressure. Runs are always harder when you’re not in the mood, so why put added pressure on yourself by not knowing the distance and conditions?
Fell Running Mistake #3 – Not properly Dressed
You can never mitigate for the conditions when fellrunning, just a few weeks ago we were out on a run and it was just chilly, 30 minutes later it was snowing really heavily. I always have a decent jacket and hat, but almost always forget to take my gloves, today was no exception. It wasn’t too cold on the hands, but, it could have been especially as the wind started pick up. I didn’t take a headtorch with me, I should have because the route was more challenging than I thought, thus I was slower, it was getting dark by the time I hit Elton.
I did have my bum bag with FRA kit on me and thankfully didn’t need it. The wind was blowing quite a lot as I climbed the first hill up to the trig, but thankfully left me alone after that.My issues arose from footwear. A few weeks ago I picked up some Walsh PB Elites. I’ve only used them once, on soft fields and damp woodland trail, they were brilliant. Today, they weren’t the right shoe.
Firstly, the Walsh is a very flat shoe, and there was a lot of hard trail and tar in today’s route. Also, today’s route had a lot of saturated mud and hard rocky limestone paths. The mud was almost pulling the shoes off, and the rocks were giving my feet a pummelling.
My left feet was sore before I went running, it was much worse after. My Fellraisers always protect my feet from such conditions and are not as shallow so hold the foot in place much better than the Walshes.
Fell Running Mistake #4 – Route Not Reccied
I did plan this run using a map, and had my map with me….but I suppose this WAS the recce. That said if I’d have reccied it before I would have certainly made route changes and opted for the Fellraisers over the Walshes.
If I’d have reccied the route I’d have known that the stream in clough woods was totally flooded. Never seen that before, it’s usually a dribble. Tonight it was flooded over the path least 6inches deep. I tried to go round it and discovered a marshy area. I had to bite the bullet and go wading.
Catalogue of errors – Follow Basic Safety Steps
1) Tell someone your route, I did not.
2) Take a head torch – I did not
3) Take your life-saving medicine – I did not
4) Anything over 10k, take some water – I did not, luckily I was able to eat some snow, and wasn’t dehydrated according to my failure to create yellow snow, a bit further on.
Despite all the horrors listed above, I have to see this as a learning experience. It’s a good reminder that man is NOT greater than the environment, and to be prepared, even if you feel confident, don’t take silly chances, even experienced fell runners can die in unforeseen circumstances.
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