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Arriving back home to snow yesterday, I was so glad that I chose the beginning of the week for my run. Here are some thoughts from the experience:

  • It took much longer than I thought it would to run each day’s distance. I can manage steady 10-minute miles for a few hours on roads or familiar riverside paths at home, but different types of terrain, headwinds, sticky mud, shingle beaches, a backpack and tired legs from the day before meant I was a lot slower than I expected. It’s a different type of running to standard marathon training. I did 53 miles over the three days.
  • The Norfolk coastline is stunningly beautiful, wild and deserted in places, and then the route takes you through picturesque villages with windmills and pubs. The skies are wide and dramatic. Running in the wind was so exhilarating. I loved being on my own, and really welcomed the headspace.
  • I packed the minimum amount of kit in a backpack, and did use everything I took, but it still seemed to get more and more heavy as the days went by. I only had trail shoes with me, which meant putting my warm dry feet into muddy wet shoes when I went out to get food in the evenings. I took a novel to read, and swapped it for another one at a second-hand bookshop in Wells-next-the-sea. I know a kindle would have been lighter but I’m not ready to give up on books even temporarily.
  • I could have prepared better, but maybe that’s a common feeling before a big event. A couple of weeks ago I ran an average of 10 miles a day on four consecutive days which was fine, and I’d built up to an 18 mile long run with a break for a coffee and cake en route (somehow it seemed really important to practice stopping for coffee and cake!)
  • I was fortunate with the weather; I just had one afternoon of rain and the rest of the time it was largely blue skies and sunshine. January is probably not the ideal time to do this kind of run, but it was the time I had free. I think it’s probably pretty windy along that part of the coast most of the year, and of course it can rain at any time.
  • I took photos on my phone as I went, but now I’m back I wished I’d taken more. I’ve put some on flickr.

My back held up surprisingly well; my right knee was protesting a bit by the end, but it’s nice to know what it’s like to do that kind of run. I am even more full of admiration for Elise Downing! It’s been a great way to start the year.

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