What do you do when you’ve booked yourself into a gnarly trail race in the mountains but live in a place where some of the buildings are twice as high any of the hills around you? That was a question I found myself pondering for a while, after I naively agreed to run the adidas Terrex Infinite Trails race in the Alps.
I spent the first 22 years of my life in Wales, where even one single journey to get home from school involved more altitude gain than I can chalk up in a week in London where I now find myself (for my sins). How was I going to get myself suitably ready for 40km of off-road running in the Austrian Alps? Either I needed to get myself an expensive season pass for the Caledonian Sleeper train to the Scottish Highlands or I had to find a way to improvise. Of course, I chose the latter option, reassuring myself that I’d do the best I could in London.
“No matter what city you live in, with the right mindset and gameplan, getting trail fit isn’t actually as hard as you might think.”
At the time of writing, there are a few weeks left until my race, and do you know what? It’s transpired that actually, I’ve found some surprisingly nifty places to help me train for such an event; places to get attuned to running on the soft, slippy and often trippy stuff that I might find in the Alps, and also perhaps in respectable enough fitness to at least have a sniff of being able to take on the climbs. Time’s going to tell on that one though.
It’s been a journey of discovery, that’s for sure, and I thought it might be worth sharing on my findings to any other urbanites as silly as me to sign themselves up to race without really thinking about what they’re getting themselves in for. These locations might be London specific, but my intention is to show that no matter what city you live in, with the right mindset and game plan, getting trail fit isn’t actually as hard as you might think.