just run. anytime, anywhere.

Posted on February 21, 2014


just-run3This morning I ran with Regents… a road running club in Durban. Needless to say, a stark departure from the Tori of old, seeing as only since being in Durbs have I actually started to run sociably as opposed to my time in Dubai. There, I loved nothing more than spending hours alone with my thoughts out in the desert sands. And also because I’m a trail runner goddammit. Pavement pounding just ain’t my thing!

I did however have a brilliant time and shall return. Running solo, I fall into a state of moving meditation, plodding along like Forrest Gump without pushing myself one bit. Running with others, can’t help but fire up those legs and force some effort out of you.

I looked around this morning and couldn’t help but draw the usual comparisons between road runners and trailers. Different cultures! The roadies, super chic in their neon compression socks v the trailers, where anything goes. The roadies in their hot to trot shoes, looking good as new. The trailers don’t attempt to hide the mud, dirt and debris from their soles. The roadies, sporting their heart rate monitors and constantly checking their splits. The trailers, (well me anyway), as usual forgot to even switch on my Garmin until five minutes before the end. The roadies, super lean and super skinny. The trailers, (well me anyway), in possession of calves and glutes, capable of powering up majestic mountains.

For road runners, the objective is always to get from A to B in the quickest time possible. There’s no time to look around, take time out or stop to enjoy the scenery. For trailers however, that’s all part of the deal. If running a long distance race, fail to pace well and you’ll fail to finish. The objective is to enjoy the journey and consider not only your running alone but your nutrition, hydration, gear, navigation (not my strong point!) and most of all your mindset. As I’ve said on more than one occasion, long distance off-road running is 90% mental …. and 10% mental.

Roadies adore measurement, knowing exactly their pace, heart rate, time above, in and below their heart-rate zone, elevation gained, calories burnt and distance covered, at any given moment. True trail runners don’t bother with distance. It’s all about time on your feet. As for negative splits… don’t they normally lead to divorce?!

Trail runners love their sport because it’s a liberating escape that recharges their mental, emotional and spiritual batteries whilst they immerse themselves in lush nature. Roadies are urban junkies on the other hand, relishing the connection with civilisation.

I guess these differences transcend across other sports too … between roadies and mountain bikers in the cycling world, between alpine skiers and telemarkers, between sport and trad climbers, between flat-water kayakers and white-water kayakers.

Interesting. There’s certainly no right or wrong. And in fact, there now lies so much cross-over between road running and trail running, largely because both sides can benefit so much from venturing over to the other side. I know I benefited from this morning alone, simply because instead of running solo, my mind deep in Tori world or buds in my ear, absorbing the words of some entrepreneurial podcast, I pounded the pavements with a spring in my step and an itch to push myself more than I’d ever do alone. And if that so-called ‘speed work’, successfully transcends to the trails, then it might just cut me some time in my next big race. And that of course, will warrant an extra pit stop to soak in the scenery or take a moment to chill… or even, as is so often the case, buy me some time when I inevitably get lost. What? No route markers? No way Jose! Trailers don’t need navigation. They know that only when you’re lost are you really found… ; )

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