Tips for completing the #Run1000Miles challenge

#Run1000Miles ambassador Sue Barrett is back to the challenge for the third year and here she highlights some things that helped her meet the target in 2018

Sue Barrett, while cycling, jogging, fast packing, scrambling and hiking along the Via Alpina last year

Sue Barrett, while cycling, jogging, fast packing, scrambling and hiking along the Via Alpina last year

I’ve been trail running for about three years now and have taken part in the #Run1000Miles campaign since it started. In 2017 I think I made it to about 1000km. Last year an Alpine trip over 1200 miles from Trieste to Monaco through eight countries helped me reach the mighty 1000 miles. I’m setting off again in 2019 aiming for 1000 miles but also being realistic about adapting my expectations to a lower number depending on whatever life may throw in my way.

I don’t always find it easy to get the miles done in between working, looking after children, caring for parents and fanning my overheated menopausal body, but I’ve found the following have helped keep me motivated and keep me enjoying the running experience:

1. Booking some events throughout the year. So far I’ve particularly liked the Long Distance Walkers Association challenge events such as the Stonehenge Stomp (January) and New Forest Challenge (February). These are set up for walkers and runners and I’ve found the atmosphere friendly and relaxed. They are not as competitive as some events unless you want them to be. Then there are the ‘Maverick’ events, including night runs. I like the different distance options they provide.

I look for variety in booking events to explore new places to run and mix up the distances - such as the 16 mile Pure Trail ‘Race the Tide’ in Devon and a 10km through a Sussex vineyard.

2. Having a running diary to pencil in every Sunday my proposed runs for the week ahead; being realistic about what is achievable given other commitments but still ambitious; then ticking completed miles off and recording the weekly and monthly mileage. The tracking charts from the Trail Running Magazine are good for this.

3. Running with friends. I tend to meet with friends on a Sunday morning for longer runs in the New Forest, or along the coast, plus lots of chat then tea and cake afterwards. I do love the social aspect of running, as well as the solitary experience at other times.

4. Having a few set routes from my house of 2, 3, 4 and 5 miles. I know these routes well now and I don’t have to think about directions. I use these when time is limited.

5. Getting to parkrun on a Saturday morning where I try and keep going without stopping to take photos, open a gate or look at the view. I am aiming to do some parkrun tourism in 2019.

6. Exploring new routes. I love doing this but is does take more time, especially as I can get a little ‘lost’. I’ve got a yearly OS maps subscription as well as the Komoot app . I use both to plot or record routes or just help locate me when needed. I like a theme to help with motivation. I’ve started running in and out of the New Forest inclosures) – there are more than 100 of them – it may take a while.

And, given 2019 marks 100 years of the Forestry Commission, I’m thinking I’ll visit some other forests around the country. I’ve used the alphabet before to help with themes – I’ve tried to run across ‘moors’ in alphabetical order, although I came unstuck with several letters and got stuck in several boggy places.

7. Looking at the #Run1000Miles Facebook group and being inspired by all the photos and posts from around the UK and beyond. It provides ideas for places to visit or events to enter.

8. Training my family to know I’ll be out running. Writing in the family diary so they know when. I try to run first thing in the morning.

9. Having my running gear ready the night before and having checked the weather forecast so I’m prepared for the rain, snow, cold. The #Run1000Miles ruff helps

10. Listening to my body. If it’s really tired or suddenly I’m overwhelmed with too much else to do, I’ll miss a run or reschedule if possible.

11. Saving up for some lovely running gear. You can never have enough trail running shoes. Or running clothes.

12. Appreciating the joy of being on the trails in the great outdoors and being grateful I have the health and time to bathe in their awesomeness. I intend to stop more and soak up the atmosphere.

I’m looking forward to being a #Run1000miles ambassador supporting and running virtually alongside others, whether they are new to the challenge or experienced.

Happy and healthy running to everyone taking part in the #Run1000Miles 2019 challenge.

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