The Lakeland Trails series, run throughout the year, has grown enormously in popularity and each year a new course or two seems to be added to the menu. Having previously raced the Hawkshead Trail challenge, I can vouch for these being stunning but often quite challenging runs (writes Sarah Briggs). I remember running up the Coffin Trail the first time thinking it was the hardest race I had ever done: and almost losing my sense of humour completely when I had to clamber over a stile towards the end.
So it's with some apprehension that I approach the Lakeland Trails half marathon, which starts at Coniston, but also in anticipation of some stunning views to look forward to. I know that I shall wish I had my camera with me but on the other hand it is a race, not a training run. If anybody has not yet read Richard Askwith's Feet in the Clouds, there are some top tips for running downhill in there, which were going through my head last time I ran the Hawkshead Trail Race.
What worries me a little is that the race is out and back - does this mean all the fast runners are going to come crashing into me on their way back? I also haven't quite got my running nutrition sorted out.
If I eat too much too soon or drink anything too sugary, I end up with a feeling of indigestion and heartburn, so for the Cross Bay Challenge I got round having had a coffee and a flapjack for breakfast and then some energy drink early on. I was fine with no further nutrition or fluids for the rest of the race.
I expect the Lakeland half to be more of a challenge though; it's going to be hillier, the terrain likely to be more varied underfoot, and the weather could be warmer. And I hate carrying a backpack ... so perhaps the answer is one of those belt things.
The other nice thing about doing this race is that a friend and her husband are doing it with me. This however leads to conflicting emotions as I know that if I am struggling, Penny will stick with me, whereas if I'm quicker than her she won't mind me going on ahead. Whilst the competitive side of me will want to push on, the friend in me says something different!