Oh, to be a Dutchman

15 Oct 2013running

Part of the “flat route”

We’ve started running recently, with the slightly ridiculous goal of doing a marathon up a mountain in almost exactly a year’s time. (Idiots.)

All the stuff you read about running for beginners says “Stay away from the hills! Do nice easy runs on the flat!”. They talk about keeping to a conversational pace, or running so that you take one in-and-out breath for eight steps, or something like that. Holland would be perfect for beginner runners–nothing very steep, and certainly no long hills to wear your legs out.

Ah well. We don’t live in Holland. It’s lovely living in the mountains, but it does mean that flat running routes are pretty thin on the ground. Our “flattest” route, which takes me about half an hour, includes the cheeky little bit of path shown in the photo. To be fair, that is the absolute steepest part of the route, but it takes a little while to recover from it–I spend the next five minutes wheezing like someone with a life-long 40-a-day smoking habit. For “conversational”, I might manage “Urgh”...

The other routes we do at the moment have either continuous up and down through the woods, with roots and mud and no chance to get into any sort of rhythm, or a longer route across the fields which involves a longish climb, followed by a longish climb, followed, if you do the “extended” version, by a longish steep climb. One other “target” route that we use quite often for walking Winnie has some bits that are probably just too steep and rocky to run. And then there’s the 10 km run up “the” mountain behind our house, probably followed by beer and schapps at the top and a ride down in the cable car. But even with beer and schnapps to aim for, it’s still 10 km with 1500 m of climbing. I don’t think we’re ready for that yet!

Anyway, even if the ups and downs are a bit hard on the body (I had to take a week off after slightly overdoing things recently), it definitely makes your legs strong. Running around here is also nice in that you’re pretty much guaranteed to see someone else out running too, so you know that you’re not the only one suffering!