This weekend I’ve taken on a couple of shortish trail runs along the South Devon coast near Start Point. Although I only did 5-7 miles each day, the trails are fairly tricky with some seriously steep sections and quite a bit of running on shingle. I thought the shingle running might be good MDS training and there’s no doubt it’s bloody exhausting, with every step sinking softly into the beach and taking all the spring out of your gait.
I’m Between each bay the path generally goes up and over a point, with some steep sections of classic narrow, windy trail. This sort of running is supposed to be excellent training even for road marathons, working muscles that don’t normally get worked, and strengthening the small muscles that support your fragile knees and ankles as they twist, roll and rotate on uneven and unpredictable ground. And of course I’m hoping it’ll be particularly valuable on the rocky trails and sandy jebels of the MDS.
Quite apart from those physiological benefits, I find that a trail run (particularly a point-to-point) is generally a good deal more interesting and satisfying. I like the feeling that I have actually gone somewhere, and a variable track and interesting views keeps the mind busy.