Take Your Running Feet Off-Road
For some people, tarmac holds no real interest; it has to be off-roading – known in the outdoor world as trail running if you do it on your feet, not in a car.
Trail running gives you a variety of terrain to tackle and puts you closer to the wild side without necessarily straying into the territory of a fully committed hill/fell run, where navigation, water features and steep terrain are the main challenges. You don't have to carry as much kit either.
Glenmore Lodge does not offer any specific trail-running courses, but being chock-full of sporty types, it does have a resident expert in the shape of Giles Trussell.
Giles joined the full-time team at Glenmore Lodge in 2004 and was on a river kayaking trip to Ecuador when he learned he had been offered a job. You can't get much cooler than that.
As Giles is already a fan of sailing, canoeing, kayaking and fishing, what's special about trail running?
"I'm pretty much up for anything so do not really have a favourite outdoor sport, but trail running is one of the easiest and virtually non-weather-dependent activities I can do at any time from my house and is something I can squeeze into a busy day," Giles explains. "When I look back to where I have lived and worked, trail running was always part of what I did. Scotland is home to some of the very best trail runs anywhere in the UK, and you hardly see anyone on them. Ultimately trail running helps me maintain cardiovascular fitness and general strength around my knees and ankles, which complements all my other interests."
So what's the best way to get started as a trail runner?
"Look close to home. What does your back door have to offer? Get a map out and make some plans," advises Giles. "Look for routes which will have a minimal number of gates. If I've not run for a while, I start gently and build the mileage. In poor weather a trail run can actually offer more protection from the elements, so perhaps use that as a reason to motivate yourself."
Do you need specialist kit?
"There's no real specialist kit, although road-running shoes may not offer the traction needed and have less stability on variable terrain," advises Giles. "I have a couple of pairs of trail-running shoes which I wear depending on what the terrain will be like – La Sportiva Crosslite for easier terrain and some Salomon Fellcross 2 for harder terrain.
"Running midwinter often means I have to run in the dark, so a good head torch is essential. I have been a long-time user of the Petzl range, and my most recent favourite is the TIKKA®RXP. This has intelligent reactive lighting and a rechargeable battery unit," he adds.
Finally, what does Giles enjoy the most about trail running?
"The simplistic minimalist nature of it, the places it takes me and the overall mental and physical health benefits. I've run after a climb, during sea kayak expeditions and also when sailing. I've never really run to or from fishing, though there is always a first time..."