Mud and miles Monday update 30.05.16

Top trail tip of the week:

Leave your watch or GPS at home and just run! It can be very refreshing to run without data for a change – try it and see!

What’s been happening at Mud and miles this week?

The Viking Way long distance footpath was the venue for our Tuesday guided run, and we were blessed with glorious sunshine for it. From Long Bennington we enjoyed paths and trails over the fields to Foston and beyond, discussing half marathon training and other running topics as we went.


We had our first magazine interview this week – fame is coming to Mud and miles! Without giving too much away, it was for a feature on people who have started running-related businesses; the story of how Mud and miles came to be! As soon as the publication date is known, we’ll let you know!

With half term fast approaching, we’ve also been busy preparing for the Mini Mud and miles sessions next week. There are still places available if there are any more children out there who’d like to come along.


Our advice blog this week is all about walking and why it can be good for you to walk during a run.


What’s happening at mud and miles this coming week?

Tuesday morning and Wednesday evening guided trail runs – Southwell trail

Sunday afternoon family run – Viking Way, Foston

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoon Mini mud and miles sessions for 5 to 11 year olds


Bookings are also open for:

Lincolnshire Wolds introduction to trail running weekend – special offer £80 before 30th June

Mums and miles 6-week beginners’ running programme starting 9th June  – there are still a few places left but book soon to avoid disappointment


Private bookings / groups

Happy trail running!




Is it OK to walk?

A question I am often asked by runners new to the trails regards walking; walking, that is, during a trail run. Those who have come from a road running background have sometimes become conditioned to seeing walking as some kind of failure, whilst those who are new to running altogether simply do not know whether they should be moving forwards at a walking pace or not. My response to their question is initially simple; yes, it is OK to walk during a trail run. Sometimes you have to, sometimes you need to and sometimes you might choose to, and here are some of my reasons why.


The terrain you are on may force you to walk. Take a look at the runners on pretty much any fell race and you will see them walking up steep slopes. When the gradient reaches a certain angle, running either becomes so slow that walking is in fact just as quick and more physiologically efficient, or running becomes impossible altogether. On a flat trail or path, obstacles in the way can necessitate walking. On a recent trail race, a normally dry but rough footpath was flooded for a couple of hundred metres, with no way around. We all had to walk through the calf-deep murky water as the holes and tree roots underneath could not be seen. Running another 29 miles with a twisted ankle was not an option for anyone.


Walking has less impact on your muscles and draws less from your energy systems than running, and so walk breaks can help your body to keep going for longer. The longer the run, the more vital this can be to your endurance. In ultra-distance races, this can clearly be seen; there is often just as much walking going on as there is running. It is a necessity for most people if they want to keep going.

The longer the run, the more important nutrition and hydration become. Walk breaks not only allow the easier consumption of food and drink, they can also aid with your digestion. It’s hard for many people’s stomachs to work efficiently if their blood supply is focused on enabling the muscles to run, and that can lead to intestinal issues. Some of the worst stomach pain and bloating I have ever had was caused by trying to eat and drink whilst running to reach a cut-off time in a race. Had I taken the time to walk and digest, I may well have got there quicker in the end, rather than ending up in such discomfort that I could barely move at all.


Trail running and racing can be a very social sport, one where runners support and look out for each other. A few minutes of walking alongside another runner who is struggling can mean the world to them; your kind words and companionship may make the difference between them finishing or not. In the world of trail racing where times are not quite the be-and-end-all they can be on the roads, a couple of minutes added to your time does not really matter.


It’s beautiful out there in our countryside; after all, that’s why we to choose to run there. Take a minute or two to slow down and enjoy the view; take a picture if you like. Appreciating your surrounds is great for your mental well-being and soul.

Never forget that trail running is supposed to be fun and if having a walk as a part of it helps you keep going both physically and mentally, then do it! Walking is most definitely allowed.

Mud and miles Monday update 23.05.16

Top trail tip of the week:

Struggling to run without stopping? A run / walk strategy can work well. Set yourself timed limits, for example 2 minutes’ run, 2 minutes’ walk, and repeat, or make a deal with yourself to run on the flat and downhill, and to walk uphill. As you improve, increase the running and decrease the walking. Read about this and more here

What’s been happening at Mud and miles over the last week?

It’s been another busy week! Our guided trail run route was across farm fields and tracks from Barnby-in-the-Willows to Beckingham, and back along the banks of the River Witham. With the rapeseed fields in full bloom and blue skies with white fluffy clouds, it was stunning to say the least!

This week has also see the launch of two new events for Mud and miles:

  • Our ‘Mums and miles’ beginners’ programme, aimed at women who are complete beginners and who would like to start running while their children are at school. Taking place in Sconce and Devon park from Thursday 6th June, these six coached sessions will provide a great foundation for running. More details at The cost is £30.00 per person for all six sessions.
  • Our ‘Introduction to trail running’ weekend in the beautiful Lincolnshire Wolds from September 23rd to September 25th Costing £80 per person (if booked before 30th June), inclusive of all accommodation, food and coaching, this weekend provides a great introduction to running in beautiful surroundings and a chance to get to know like-minded people. More information and booking at

The stunning Lincolnshire Wolds…



We’ve not been racing this week after last week’s 31 mile effort! Instead we’ve been enjoying some quality easy recovery runs and some extra time with our feet up. Rest and recovery is just as important as the training, if not more so!

What’s happening at Mud and Miles this coming week:

Tuesday 24th May – 10.00 – Guided trail run from Long Bennington

Wednesday 25th May – 19.00 – Guided trail run from Long Bennington

Sunday 22nd May – 15.00 – Family run from Barnby-in-the-Willows


Bookings are also open for:

Mini Mud and miles half-term run coaching sessions

Mums and miles 6 week beginners’ programme

Lincolnshire Wolds trail running weekend September 23rd to 2th


Private bookings


Happy trail running!


How to get started as a trail runner


Are you tempted by the idea of running off-road but unsure how to get started? Whether you’ve some experience running on the roads or you are a complete novice, Mud and miles‘ handy tips will help you to get out of the door and onto those trails.

  • Start off using your regular road-running kit. On easier trails in good weather you’ll be fine wearing road running shoes. Once you get the bug (and it’s likely you will!) and move onto more technical terrain, you’ll need trail shoes with a better grip. Head for your nearest specialist running store for advice, as there are off-road shoes for every kind of track, trail and surface you can possibly think of!IMG_0234
  • Find a location that has routes marked out already. Many local parks have Run England routes that are on trails and easy to follow, the Forestry Commission have marked walking routes in many of their popular locations, and if you are lucky enough to live in a run-friendly city like Sheffield, there may be some signed urban trail runs that will make navigation easy.
  • Look for your local parkrun courses; many of these are off-road and whether you run them as part of the event or on your own at another time, they make great introductory routes.wyre forest
  • Pick up a local map, look for the nearest footpath and head out of the door. Sometimes the best runs and routes are found when you just follow your instincts and go!
  • Walk a new route first to get an idea of whether it will be suitable for you to run. Once you know what it is like, you can go back and run it all, or gradually build up to it. Running the flat sections and walking the hills can be a good starting point.
  • Choose routes with a softer, more even surface to build your skills and confidence, such as a pine-needle-clad woodland path. Save those steep, rocky hillsides until you have improved your fitness and way
  • Take a friend with you and have fun exploring together. Keep each other motivated and safe, and help each other over those stiles!
  • Join a club, an organised group or guided run. Whether you go regularly or as a one-off to get you started, you’ll pick up tips from more experienced trail runners, learn new routes, and make some trail-running friends along the way.
  • Enter a low-key trail event or race. You’ll get lots of support and meet other runners who are new to trail running too. The route will be marked out, so all you need to concentrate on is running.dukeries
  • Finally, don’t forget to take your camera! You’ll see beautiful views, and maybe some wildlife too, so take time to pause and capture your journey for others to see. There’s nothing quite like a trail selfie to motivate you next time you are in need of motivation to head out of the door.



Mud and miles Monday update 16th May 2016

footprint red25%

Top trail running tip of the week:

Not sure how to get started with running? Why not try a Run England 3-2-1 route? Have a look here for one near you; there is one in Sconce and Devon Park, Newark. All 3K long, they are ideal for beginners.


What’s been happening at Mud and miles over the last week?

It’s been a busy week! We had our first guided trail run in rather wet and muddy conditions to say the least. Adrian, Donna and Julie learned new ways to scrape balls of clay from their feet, as well as a pretty route across the fields. Great fun was had by all.


Behind the scenes, we have been busy advertising the children’s Mini Mud and miles run coaching sessions planned for the half term holidays, and have made further improvements to the Mud and miles website, Facebook and Twitter pages. Mud and miles clients now have access to a closed Facebook group for running and coaching advice and general discussion about local runs. Mud and miles has also been to visit the Lincolnshire Runner specialist running shop, which is highly recommended for the purchase of all running gear, as Keith and his team are highly knowledgeable



Mud and miles, along with clients Adrian and Julie, took part in the Dukeries 30 miles ultra on Saturday. This is a stunning route through Sherwood Forest and Clumber Park, and is open to both walkers and runners. Adrian and Julie successfully tackled the challenge as a walk, and Mud and miles chose to run the distance, with personalised medals received by all at the finish. Well done to Adrian and Julie!

dukeries start


What’s happening at Mud and Miles this coming week:

Tuesday 17th May – 10.00Guided trail run from Barnby-in-the-Willows

Wednesday 18th May – 19.00Guided trail run from Barnby-in-the-Willows

Sunday 22nd May – 15.00Family run in Stapleford Woods


Bookings are also open for:

Mini Mud and miles half-term run coaching sessions

Lincolnshire Wolds trail running weekend September 23rd to 2th


Private bookings


For further information, visit or call 07821132547

Happy trail running!


Dukeries 30


It all began a year ago, at a trail race called the Dukeries 10. Having been properly back into my running for a few months, and fresh from a training camp in Portugal, I had a great run around the 10-mile course. I knew that earlier in the day, 30-mile and 40-mile races had started on the same route; unbeknown to me, a parkrun friend was out there running her first ultra. Also unbeknown to me, she was going to make it her mission for it to be my first ultra too!

Fast forward a year, and after a little persuasion and a lot of training, I found myself on the same startline but with a very different goal. Looking around, I could see many hard-core, clearly experienced ultra-runners, but also noticed that there were many first-timers like me too. I felt no nerves inside; having taken part in much longer endurance events, albeit not for a few years, I was pretty confident of finishing. What I was unsure of was how long it might take, so I had set myself several goals:

Goal 1: a sub-6 finish

Goal 2: a sub 7 finish

Goal 3: finish

I knew that my starting pace would be key to achieving any of my goals, so I was very clear that I would set off at a pace I thought I could maintain for pretty much the entire event. I told myself not to worry about what other people around me were doing; I’d stick to my plan and if they passed me, well, I’d probably catch them again later.

At the start…


The first 3 miles of the course I knew very well, from having run the Dukeries 10 twice. Settling into my desired pace, I was surprised to find that the section of the course that had been flooded in February was still underwater and that a couple of hundred metres of wallowing in smelly, muddy gloop would be needed, Nice! Once I’d picked up my rhythm again, I fell into a cat-and-mouse chase with a guy who was run/walking the 40-mile route. I’d get ahead while he walked; he’d catch me when he ran, and I’d hear the beep of his Garmin when he was exactly the same distance from me. This was a good thing, I decided, as it meant I was running a very consistent pace. I had chosen not to wear my proper running watch for the event, as I felt that too much data might not be helpful; I wanted to run on time alone.

Past the first feed-station at 6 miles, the course became a lot quieter, as the 40-mile route had spilt from the 30 there. I had also lost quite a few of the people who had been running near me, as I’d just grabbed a drink, a few crisps and gone, whereas they had stopped for longer. I was running alone for most of the time now, but could see people ahead and behind. The route had now changed from flattish, soft forest trails to rougher field-side paths, with an occasional section of road, but was still incredibly pretty, much prettier than when I’d recce’ed it earlier in the year.

Before I knew it, time had flown by and I was at the 13-mile feed station. I ate a jam sandwich to complement my salted cashew nuts and cheese, topped up my water and was soon off onto the only section of the course that I did not know at all. As the field spread out even further, there were times when I couldn’t see a soul, but I didn’t mind. It was so, so pretty. As we ran into Clumber Park, there were bluebells and amazing tree roots and all sorts of other lovely things to occupy my mind. It was on this section that the first three men in the 40-mile race overtook me, having run 10 miles further than I had in the same time. Respect to them; they were flying!

I was still feeling good as I approached the 22-mile mark and could see my husband and step-son ahead; my top cheerleading crew! I had a good idea that things were about to get harder, and their support was a welcome boost to get me past the marathon mark. As the terrain changed again to dry, ploughed fields, I decided that a woman who had been running near me on and off for a few miles would be my target. I would finish ahead of her. I’ll call her ‘Nathan’, as that was the brand of her race vest! Following a cruel section where I could see the next feed station across the road, yet had to run a few hundred metres the other way to cross the road and then back again, I grabbed another jam sandwich or two and headed off onto the final 7 miles (Yes, the more observant of you may have spotted that the numbers don’t add up; the Dukeries 30 is actually the Dukeries 31!)  Just a couple of parkruns to go!

Approaching 24 miles…


In my mind, I could not decide whether it was a good thing that I knew the route to the finish so well or not. On the one hand, the familiarity was reassuring; I knew exactly what to expect and that it was achievable. On the other, the familiarity meant that I knew what a drag the final mile would be long before I got there. The first mile or so from the feed station was when I started to feel really tired for the first time. The route was flat and pretty but I struggled to keep going at much of a pace. ‘Nathan’ had passed me at the feed station and I could see her ahead, but at that point I felt catching her was unattainable. A couple of miles later, my jam sandwich kicked in and I felt great again! I caught and passed ‘Nathan’ and spied a new target ahead, a guy in bright calf guards, who I soon passed on an uphill track.

My energy burst was somewhat short-lived, and having passed both my targets with about 3 miles to go, around the last few fields we started to see-saw. Having walked surprisingly little during the race, I was now needing more and more walk breaks. I’d take a quick walk and ‘Nathan’ would pass me; then she’d walk and I’d catch her again. As we crossed the final road with a mile to go, ‘Nathan’ was far enough behind that I was sure I had it in the bag. My calf guard friend was struggling with cramp and we continued to cat-and-mouse up the long drag (which felt like a mountain-side!) until the final turn for home. This was a good thing as it kept my mind occupied; the only other distraction I had was watching chickens dig holes in a sandy field. I didn’t know that chickens could be so interesting!

As we turned for home I could see my amazing support crew ahead. At first I thought they were at the finish line, but then I realised they were going to run with me to the finish. This was a lovely gesture, except that they both have very long legs; this meant that they walked as I ‘ran’ to try and keep up! I crossed the line in about 6.45, behind my calf-guard friend but well ahead of ‘Nathan’, with the second of my goals met. Was I happy? Definitely! Would I do it again? Yes! In fact, I’d been so sure I’d enjoy it that I entered my second ultra a while ago. It will be a very different kettle of fish though, the 30 miles around the Peak District coming with an awful lot of ascent and descent. Hill-reps here I come!



Ten top reasons to trail run



When I mention to someone that I love running on trails, more often than not the response I get is a simple one; why? After all, there are perfectly good roads and pavements that provide a whole network of running right from my front door. So why do I head for the trails instead? Here are my top ten reasons why; I hope they will inspire you to give trail running a go too!

  1. Trails are fun! You can get wet and muddy, jump bubbling streams and fallen logs, skip down grassy hillsides and up rocky slopes. In a nutshell, you can play!Mud

2. There’s a real sense of adventure when you embark on a trail run, whether running alone with a map in hand, or with others as part of an organised event. You never know quite what you will encounter or where you will end up going. It’s exciting!

3. Trails can lead you to some stunningly beautiful and often remote places, places you would never see if you only ran on roads, places that make stopping for a quick photo a must. Best of all, you rarely have to run far to find them. No matter where you live or run, solitude or a fantastic view are never far away.


4. The air is fresher, simple. Aside from running through freshly manured fields, breathing becomes a joy.

5. Running in fresh air, surrounded by trees, fields, hills or water is not just good for your physical well-being, it’s great for your mental well-being too. Green spaces are calming and de-stressing, places for blowing your worries away and leaving your cares behind.

6. You can forget about time and times. Every run is different, even on a regular route. Conditions change with the seasons, so comparing your time on a dry summer’s day to one on a wet winter’s day becomes an irrelevance. Completing the route and enjoying it is what matters.

7. Wildlife sightings can add a whole new level of interest to your run. There’s nothing quite like watching a pair of spring hares bounding across a field to inspire you to quicken your step!


8. Landing on grass, mud, leaf-covered woodland paths, stony tracks or snow impacts less on your joints than concrete and tarmac. You’ll be preserving your knees and hips for the future.


9. Your core muscles get a great workout. Every step you take on trails uses a slightly different combination of muscles to keep you upright and moving forward. Trails can make you stronger.

10. The kit, oh the kit! Venturing into a shop for your first pair of trail running shoes is like venturing into Narnia. Colours, soles, fabrics, brands; it’s like being a child in a sweet shop all over again. And once you have succumbed, there will be no turning back…

Clawson 10k


I love the Clawson 10k. It’s a really low-key off-road race that I ran for the first time last year, and that I was really looking forward to tackling again this weekend, hopefully with an improved finish time. Set in the beautiful Leicestershire countryside, the race heads out of the village, known for its Stilton dairy, up onto the Belvoir eascarpment and back down  again, taking in a whole range of climbs and descents on the way. Ranging from grassy shallow slopes to steep bluebell-covered banks, there always seems to be a hill in sight. This means, of course, that there is also a wealth of panoramic views to enjoy, especially on a gloriously hot day like today.

I’m not a great hot weather runner though; I’d far rather be out on a crisp winter’s day than a hot summer’s one, and as I set off on the course today, I knew it was going to be HOT. But as we started the long climb up onto the ridge, it was not the temperature that was concerning me; it was my legs. Having broken my all-time parkrun PB yesterday, a PB that has stood for 4 1/2 years, I had given it my all on the flat Exeter Riverside course, and this morning my legs reminded me of just how hard they had worked. It took my mind off the sun for a while though.

Once onto the ridge, my legs had thoroughly warmed up and I enjoyed the narrow path running along the escarpment edge. Occasional trees provided some shade, but there was no breeze. It was getting hotter by the minute; I felt I was going to self-combust at times! As we reached open fields again, I could feel myself slowing down as every incline raised my temperature further and further. I must have looked like a beetroot running along!

By halfway I knew that a course PB was no longer in my reach, so I focused my efforts on keeping my form as strong as I could and enjoying the views across the valley below. The 7, 8 and 9 k markers seemed to be spaced miles apart, and freshly ploughed fields baked hard in the sun only served to intensify the heat even more.

The last kilometre, downhill and on soft, springy grass, came as a welcome relief; the finish line was, literally, in sight. I managed a sprint finish across the final field, and an overall time almost identical to the time I ran last year. There was no PB for me today, but, given the temperature turned out to have been 27 or 28 degrees (according to my car when driving home), I can’t be too disappointed with that. After all, more than one PB in a weekend would be greedy!