Running free!

I went for a trail run on Table Mountain with my wife Annette yesterday morning. It was one of those magical runs where all plans were thrown out the window (where they belong) and a planned run turned into an adventure. Sheer alchemy. Funny that I have just blogged about losing oneself in the present (link at the end of the post).

I know this is a slightly unusual post for Next Small Step. But then again, what's the harm in stepping off the beaten track once in a while? To be fair I was also a little inspired by the kind of reports posted by Jill Homer at Jill Outside and my friend Len at Kalk Bay Peak (these links below too).

I have been doing 20 minute runs three times per week for the last six weeks or so and I thought that I was ready for a slightly longer run. I was also very keen to try running a long run really slowly. I got this idea from Tim Ferris's blog about "Victor". He describes how he trains so slowly on his long runs that he can do a strength workout the next day. The idea is around specificity. When you are training for endurance, only train for the endurance. Same for speed. But don't mix the two. This means that long runs or rides become slower and speed work sessions faster. I had done the same thing on a long cycle on Saturday and I loved it. After a hilly four hour cycle in the mountains on my single speed, I was still fresh enough to tackle this trail run with Annette. Already I loved this approach.

Annette is always keen on a run and plans were made to go for an hour’s run, starting at the Newlands Forest fire station and to head up towards Constantia Nek. The plan was also to run half of it and walk the rest – for an hour or so. Anyway, we got the route wrong and my plans were abandoned within the first ten minutes. I also realized that a regulated 5 mins run followed by 5 mins walk was just not practical on the mountain. Steep hills demand walking up and running down, not regulations by a deaf and dumb wrist watch. But this stage I still thought that we shouldn't go for longer than 75 mins or so, this being my first long run and all. Anyway, after 40 mins of heading up the mountain, we had walked a lot of the uphill and we were just getting into the run. So we cast off and just went. We got back to the car after just short of 2 hours of bliss. The highlight for me was the long decent down Plum Pudding hill. I felt like I was ten years old again. Just letting rip and running flat out down the hill! 

Here are a few photos of our adventure:

Ripping up the single track!

Annette smiling through the run

Magical Forest

Lulu and Oscar taking in the scenery

Glorious Table Mountain
My post on how to  Lose yourself and be happy.
Tim Ferris's post: The Painless Path to Endurance
Jill Homer's Blog Jill Outside
Len's Blog Kalk Bay Peak

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