I just wanted to introduce myself and get to know folks with like interests in running. I live in Toronto which is a great city both enabling early morning runs when it's still dark, for miles and miles through mostly deserted streets and within easy access to pretty good single track trails when time permits. So most of the running I do is on city streets because I run before work, but Saturdays I try to get out of the city to hit trails for longer runs. I run about 65-70k a week. My average pace on easy runs (i.e. I could run all day) is about 8-8:15 min/mile. My long runs tend to be 20-24k, with most of the rest of my runs being 12k with two days a week of interval sessions (one longer intervals, one shorter).
I've really debated whether I want to focus on shorter races (5-15ks) for which lots of intense speed work is required, or whether I'd rather let go of the speed thing and focus on ultras. I've got some pretty good speed for a beginner for shorter distances (5k road: 21:42 with about six weeks of speed work) and I've definitely got quite a bit of physical strength (built more like a sprinter than distance runner); but I can also run for a couple of hours at 7:30-8:30 pace. What I don't have is speed over shorter distances i.e. half to full marathons. I feel like I thus fit into one of two camps: short, hard trail races or long, slow trail races. I'm not particularly interested in the 'racing mentality' of track and road racers. I like community with a bit of friendly competition, over extremely fierce competition.
I'd be really interested in hearing other folks stories in terms of what draws them to what distances of races - whether physical inclination or attitudes and atmosphere of races and what keeps one going back to races. Thanks all,
Le professeur de trail
Well you'll probably gets lots of various answers here but I am drawn to long (but not too long yet) and difficult trail races. I like lots of climbs, vistas, great views, nature, animals, creek crossings, etc. Most of these types of tral events (at least in my area) are very friendly to all types of runners from the "mountain goats" to the "I can't decide if I want to run or hike" variety. The food is usually good, the aid stations great, volunteers helpfula nd friendly, and most of the participants are supportive. That being said, I go at a leisurely pace and don't care what place I come in. Any competition is just with myself (i.e. trying to be beat my previous times).
But there is some value in running tough trail races hard though. There are plenty of people who do. You never know what you can do on the longer distances until you "get your feet wet" (pun intended).
You could always do both short and long races. many people will say that adding speed to your workouts for longer races is a good thing. Sounds like it would be fun to do a variety of races (long vs. short).
So nothing more to say except welcome!
The incarnation of peacefulness and patience
Welcome to the forum.
For years I was mostly a cyclist who occasionally ran. I was never real fast but had good endurance so I naturally liked longer rides. My running consisted of shorter runs for cross training. I was drawn into trail running by an article i read in Outside magazine. On the bike I loved hill climbs so I tend to gravitate towards that in my trail running. As a hunter I love just being out in the woods so being out on the trails is just an extension of that.
I haven't done many races yet, but i do like the atmosphere at most of them and the fact that training for an event gives me a goal to look forward to. While i mostly compete against myself at races, I always have a goal of finishing in the top 50% of my age group.
What kind of trails are you able to find to run on in your area? I have been to the west of Toronto, and the area that I was in was mostly flat. I'm from Pennsylvania and our hills are, steep, rooty and rocky.
Our trails are mostly really short (i.e. at max 1k climbs but mostly 2-500m climbs), rooty, rocky and can be pretty muddy (obviously depending upon snowmelt and rain). The key is that there are generally a lot of these short, steep hills in a race -- tiring in a different sort of way to races with extended climbs and descents from what I hear.
I'm not keen on actually doing speed work, but I do like to run at a good clip. So I guess it's worth it to stick with training for some shorter races even if I end up doing longer races! There is what looks like a good series of 5-15k races in Southern Ontario http://www.5peaks.com/schedule.asp?p=on. So maybe I'll try a couple of these out and see how the shorter distances are.
Faster Than Your Couch!
I started running at 10 years old, with my dad. We always ran on trails, he to get into shape for an expedition, I just for fun.
In school, I ran XC, that's where I started dreading races.
But I've run most of my life, with some breaks in between, did some cycling, a lot of hiking, some swimming, let's just say I have always been active.
In 2010, I ran my first race again, a local road HM (that's the only road race I run), and then I turned to trail races. I don't really "race", it's more of a supported, timed run for me. I have never been fast, but always had good endurance, and I realized, the longer the distance and the tougher the race, the better I was.
So now I do my annual local HM, and 2-4 trail races a year. I enjoy more the running than the racing.
I'm in Central Pennsylvania, with lots of rocky, steep, rooty trails easily accessible.
Run for fun.
I hear you on the racing thing. I played sports at a really competitive level all through college (went on scholarship for soccer). I'm not sure I ever really liked competing all that much though because I always felt so anxious about performing. I really just like going out and doing my best for the day and challenging myself to go longer or harder; I'm not really into competing against others I don't think. I tend to run now to explore: to see large chunks of our infrastructure at one time, to see the sun rise, to be up before everyone else is in quite a large and busy city. I think the same would be true of trail running if I could do more of it. I've been turned off road running and track running because of the intensity of it. Work is busy and intense and running is my freedom and escape from those pressures and time lines so I think that's one of the major reasons I've been drawn to the trail running community. I do wish there were more folks in Ontario who were into it (or maybe there are and I just haven't been able to find them yet!). Great to 'meet' you guys.
Yes, that performance anxiety was the worst thing! When a certain runner would show up at a meet (and she usually did), I would even become nauseous already before I got to the start line...
It took me years to discover the trails, and the trail runners, in my area. The easiest to get into that community might be to just participate in a local race and talk to the people there. Or join a running club, although this might be pretty competitive, especially in a big city (it's pretty relaxed here).
Yes, there is one group here that is quite close by that I've run with a few times. Great folks but the environment is pretty competitive and people are really focused on how fast they are and on their races. That is fantastic for many people, but not so much so for me. The other problem is that I'm really an early morning runner. I like to get up at 6am, run for an hour to an hour and a half and then have my workout done for the day. By the time 6pm rolls around, I'm hungry and tired from working all day and really don't feel like getting out. It's a pretty low energy time of day for me. I may even end up trying to start my own trail running group here. We have an REI equivalent called Mountain Equipment Co-op. They've got a message board where all the outdoor types seem to post things and go to look for events. So I might try posting something there and maybe putting up a website or something basic and just trying to gather a group. There are plenty of fantastic trail series around Southern Ontario so there have got to be folks in Toronto trail running (since this is where most of our population lives after all!!).
Hi! I suppose I like trails because it feels like there's less pressure to keep at a certain pace or performance level, as well as just the fun of being out in nature. As for distance...I guess I like the test of endurance more than speed. The first time I did a half marathon, I knew I'd have to go for longer distances. I just did my first marathon on trails with less than ideal training, and feel like that's not my limit either.
MattC - Saratoga Springs, NY
10/13 - Green Mountain Half Marathon
10/20 - Wandering Witch 10K
11/2 - Mendon Ponds 20K
12/8 - Pine Mountain 40-mile