This week I was back at the track for the first time since early March. Sadly however, I was not actually on the track, I was running on the grass around it. It’s early days, but for now our group is making do with this situation as other track-dedicated groups take up the Covid-limited space on the actual track surface. Although I’m looking forward to getting my feet on a track again, for now it’s enough just to be able to train with the group, and with a bunch of people around getting after it, having a good time, having a bad time, all just trying to get fitter, faster, and stronger.
Having the two weekly meets every week (only one is at the track currently) gives me a good structure. When I know I’m going to be pushing hard in a group (slightly competitive) environment at least once, and probably twice, a week I can keep things chilled on my other run days, focusing on getting in plenty of easy miles, and then some tempo miles during my long run on Sunday. In between I can happily bop along at whatever speed feels good, and because speed isn’t a factor, wherever I like as well, no matter how slow the trail might be.
This led me to the Lyveden Way, a loop around the Lyveden New Bield – an incomplete Elizabethan Lodge which has remained almost completely unaltered since construction halted on the project in 1605.
My run of the Way began at Fermyn Woods Country Park. From there it led me out across some beautiful farmland, through wild woodland, open fields, and even a bit of quiet country road for good measure.
There are plenty of connected bridleways, footpaths, and roads, branching off and around the Way, so if I wanted to get any more miles in than the easy 10 that I did, it would have been easy to do. It was very quiet, the skies were blue, and the temperature was perfect for running.
For the most part the trail was fairly tame, and you could get a pretty decent lick going if that was what you wanted. Although, on the back half of the trip I found part of the footpath, which led through a horse-occupied field, to be completely bogged. I bypassed that (luckily this was easy enough to do) and carried on towards a narrow, rather overgrown byway which led to an equally narrow and overgrown woodland, which was the only part of the run which really fell in speed, but it was also probably the most challenging and adventurous part of the trail, so I wasn’t unhappy to find myself on it at all.
There’s a strange thing about running a new route for the first time, it always feels way longer of a journey when you don’t know where you’re going, but it’s always memorable, always exciting, and I’m constantly on the lookout for new trails to regain that feeling of exploration.
That, plus the comeback of group training, is putting me in a real happy place with my running, and I intend to keep that feeling going as long as possible.