Thursday, 22 May 2014

Trail running part of the London Loop

Yesterdays run was trying out a new route, new in the sense I hadn't run it before but it is a route I have walked several times before.

My route was a trail path 5 minutes away from where I live and the more scenic part of what forms section 22 (Harold Wood to Upminster Bridge) of the London Loop.

Anyone not familiar with the London Loop its basically a section of continuous walkways that circle London divided into sections. 

For further information visit:

I did once think of having the ambition of trying to cover all the sections as a long term objective, but writing this reminds me I haven't even fully completed my local section so thats another plan added to the to do list!

When you enter the off road section you are greeted with a view like this:

You could be forgiven for thinking you were out in the middle of no where but you are in fact well within the M25 boundary and only a handful of miles away from the bustling urban landscape of Romford and the industrial areas of Rainham and Thurrock. 

Most of the pathway is well worn by local dog walkers and ramblers walking the London Loop but it is fairly overgrown in places.

The path is quite uneven and technical in several places, in fact I almost smashed my face in about three strides into the route when I tripped on a rock. Nothing gives you an energy boost like a shot of adrenaline caused by almost seriously injuring yourself! 

Note to self: Always focus on your footing on unfamiliar new trails. 

The path leads you to follow the river Ingrebourne, its called a river but more realistically I would classify it as a stream as it is a small, narrow and shallow watercourse for its majority. 

Its nice to run alongside a waterway and to hear the gentle flow of water, unfortunately the river is too gentle and too far away from the path to be heard. Instead you do hear the noises coming from the adjacent golf course and I quite enjoyed hearing the 'piiiing!' of golf clubs driving balls onto fairways.

For the second time this week running trails my path has been blocked by a natural obstruction. The winter storms from earlier in the year seem to have taken their toll on the local trees.

The highlight of the route and the reason why I have walked here so many times before is illustrated in my next picture. 

There is a small free holding where someone keeps a pony and has also had an assortment of goats over the years. They are all very friendly and very keen to receive any spare vegetables or salad items!

This guy seemed particualy interested in checking me out as I passed by!

Workout summary

So my run covered just over 5K in around 31 minutes a real gentle pace mainly be design but also as the path necessitated it as it was barely accessible in places.

It was a consecutive day running for me which is something I have shyed away from in the past through fear of injury but something I need to keep up as I am more than fit and strong enough to run some good mileage on consecutive days.

The other notable outcome from this run was the impact trail running is having on my lower legs. At this time of year the vegetation is lush and subsequently nettles and thorns are rife! So I had quite a few battle wounds from this short run. I had forgotten how painful nettles can be! 

I tried to think of it as mental training, as any long distance runner knows as well as coping with the physical demands of a distance you will inevitably have to learn to cope with the mental challenges of overcoming pain and pushing youself out of your comfort zone. So nettle stings go some little way to strenthening my mental resolve for the psychological battles that lie ahead.