2020 has thrown everything up in the air. For Gill Bland, that hasn’t just meant missing training nights or races. It has meant relocating 100miles away from Zone 4 of London to the Leicestershire countryside.
So, in case you find yourself moving home over the coming months, here are some top tips and ponderings.
Find other runners
Runners are a particular breed, they have a wonderful blend of fierce competition and unwavering camaraderie. Find a huddle of runners in your new location and you’ve instantly got knowledge of the area second to none – assuming of course the knowledge you want includes: what roads make a 400m loop, where is the nearest hill, who has the most strava crowns and which is the best pub.
In our case, the local club was a large part of the reason we ended up in our new village.
Working in the Midlands during the week the He-runner of our household was staying with a relative when he went out for a leg burner up the nearest hill one evening.
Cresting the incline he saw a herd of high viz vests charging up and down and realised he’d stumbled across the local Harriers. Gosh runners are a friendly, generous lot.
Within a week or two he was not only running regularly with them and had been taken under the wind of a few club-stalwarts but had laos been offered a place to stay by one member who refused to accept anything for the accommodation.This is a small village but the running club is a key part of it. It feels like every other house has a member, covering all ages and stages.
Learn your new terrain
When you live somewhere for a long time your brain logs a run-specific map of your local area. You’ll know exactly where to go for each kind of run and have memories associated with them.
When moving you’ll want to think about what kind of terrain you’ve got around you and how your cross training might alter too. Do you have street lights? Is it all on road and little grass, or is it mainly trail? Can you find that short, sharp 10s hill and the long-slow drag? Is there a track nearby?
Do you have more or less space in your new home for running paraphernalia? Is there a swimming pool nearby if you *shudder* get injured? This is where Strava is your friend. Get stalking and find out as much as you can. One key thing to check out is whether people run late at night and if so, where?
I miss those “brain off” routes that I knew so well in my old location but I’m looking forward to forging some new ones.
It turns out that moving from city to countryside is a great chance to really learn what “run to effort” means. On arrival I soon discovered that turning right handily takes me on pavements to suburbia and rep-friendly trading estates, but turn left and you’ve got the most evil grass hill I’ve ever encountered and fields of glorious trails.
Those shiny Nike Next % tempos I bought just before moving might not get as much use as I thought. My first real trail run around the side of a quarry resulted in some pretty sketchy slippy moments. So you know what key lesson I’ve learned? Well, I need some new trainers of course! Trail shoes ahoy!
Get packing, get unpacking, get running
Getting ready to move and recovering from moving is draining.
Don’t underestimate the effect it might have on your training and mojo. Running those well-trodden routes is a great way to say goodbye to somewhere and lock memories into your brain, so make the most of it for headspace and use it as a recovery block. In the week before you move you’ll need to make some crucial decisions of course, such as “which bits of running kit do I not pack so that I can use them when everything else is in boxes?”.
On moving day make sure you have your kit in the car with you so that you don’t have to hunt through piles of tupperware and books to find your vest and shorts. If you time things right, you can arrive at the new location before the removal van.
Instead of wasting time sitting around, you might as well go for a run and suss out the new ‘hood, right? If that happens to mean your run is so long that you miss most of the unloading then that’s not your fault now is it?
Alternately, you could go for a run in your PJ top because you can’t find your vest, like I did.
Get out of that new door
Now that you’ve arrived you’ll need to get your bearings. It’s best to plan shorter sharper workouts for your first week as it’s hard to do longer efforts when you’re not so sure of your surroundings.
Also, allow for flexibility – going for runs with people is a great chance to make new friends and you don’t want to be turning people down just because you have a 6x 5min alternating 10k and HMP session that you absolutely must get done. Now, off you go!
Gill Bland moved from Harrow AC / Advent Running / Herga Running to train with Huncote Harriers. She was inspired by fierce and fast women (and some men) at her previous clubs and has been overwhelmed by how friendly her new running buddies are and is looking forward to making friends, stealing some crowns in her new home-land, oh and buying some more trainers.