Harewood House 10K – Lessons Learnt

So yesterday I ran my first trail race of the season in the picturesque grounds of Harewood House…eventually.

Harewood House 10k

Harewood House 10k



After being picked up on time we were sound mired in a mix of poor SatNav directions, poor SatNav reading (due to my travel sickness) and heavy traffic.  As a result we parked up at 09:55 with the race due to start at 10:00! We quickly shoved or trail shoes on and tried to pin out race numbers on, without stabbing ourselves in our rush and ran to find my brothers (and a loo!). Fortunately for us the race start had been delayed and the mass warm-up was still going on.  At the race start we were a bit slow getting lined up which meant we were fairly far back in a field including “joggers and walkers.  I never enter a race to “jog” round, I am there to run, however slow I might be!  So from the start we had a lot of work to do just to get into our running stride, in fact I think it took me until the 5th kilometre to find a bit of space on the fairly narrow, slippy, muddy footpaths.

Once I got into my stride, I loved the race.  I recently attended a Kinetic Revolution course on running analysis and gait re-education and used this run to put some of what I’d learnt into practice.  So below I have written a few personal lessons that I picked up from yesterdays race and the course.

  1. Be prepared – so obvious I know, but the race number should have been on before leaving the house, the SatNav set up and at least we should have looked at a map!
  2. Don’t eat so much for breakfast – I had porridge and a fruit smoothie, one or the other would have done. I often run 10K first thing on a morning without anything to eat, I get round fine and have breakfast when I get back. Yesterday combined with the travel sickness, I felt heavy and a bit sluggish before the race.
  3. Better a bit early than late – We even discussed in the car that if we had missed the start we would just run the course anyway.
  4. Push for position at the start of the race – Not one person overtook me yesterday, which shows how far back I must have been! A better start position would have enabled me to get into my running quicker, without all the sidestepping and getting stuck behind slower runners, which would have resulted in a faster time.
  5. Use the downhills – its a knack that I constantly work at. Find a bit of space and let yourself go, use a higher cadence, arms for balance and enjoy the free speed!
  6. On the uphills use your bum – Thats what its there for! Use your buttock muscles to push you up the hill.
  7. Unleash your “free speed” – I have nicked this saying off James Dunne from Kinetic Revolution. What I mean is use mental and verbal cues to help maintain your technique over a longer period and run faster.  For me yesterday it was trying to run at a higher cadence, using my flutes and when I was tired I used my arms backswing to keep my legs going.

So how did I do? I finished in a time of 00:49:14, with previous 10k results being around the 00:48:50 mark and all on road. So very pleased really, but left wondering what I might have achieved had I prepared better, certainly I would like to think that it would have been a good P.B.






Ullswater Trail Race – What to wear?!

So the weekend saw me at Ullswater for the finale of the Lakeland Trails Series, a 14km race from Howtown to Glenridding. Due to moving house my training had been a bit disrupted, but speaking to the people I was running with, we all seemed to be in the same boat. Looking at the course profile (below) earlier in the week, didn’t really inspire confidence, but the reality was a lot more pleasant.


The weather reports had predicted rain all afternoon, but waiting for the ferry and on the crossing over there were some flashes of sunshine in the stunning Lake District countryside. Disembarking from the ferry there was time for a quick pitstop then we were off! After a very brief road section we were onto the trails, heading along a very greasy / slippery course along the lakeshore. The route itself was beautiful in both its variety and its surroundings, changing from rocky single track to hardcore path to rocky scramble.


What to wear had been a topic of debate in the build up to the run with two main choices: carry the required kit or wear it! On the day I chose to wear it and ended up tying my Saucony Vortex jacket round my waist, it had easily done its work keeping me dry before we set off. On my feet I wore Inov-8 Terrafly’s which kept my feet wonderfully dry until the deeper streams later on, in hindsight I would have sacrificed dry feet for a bit more grip and worn my Inov-8 Mudrocs.

All in all it was a great race, with very good weather for the time of year. Well done to my cousin Max who won our little group race and all of us finished in under 01:30:00. Thanks must go to the organisers and Patterdale Mountain Rescue for looking after everyone, with such a rocky course there were inevitably a few tumbles and injuries (yours truly included, only bruised my ego and backside!) and I hope no one was seriously injured.