Saturday, 7 August 2010

Family camping and high mileage don't mix.

I have just returned from a fantastic camping holiday in Pembrokeshire. I now feel thoroughly relaxed, if a little tired, tanned and a bit grubby!

I had decided whilst on holiday to run a big week, 65 miles, rather than take it easy, mainly because I thought I would have more time. This was a mistake. However, I quickly realised my mistake and ran an easy 25 miles all week. We arrived on the Saturday, so I went out for a quick 6 miler. I then took Sunday off running (but managed a fairly arduous hilly 8 mile walk), and ran morning and evening on Monday, 6 miles both times. I was feeling super stiff and tired by this time, having not slept well. I had also forgotten that camping is very physical and sleeping outside makes you stiff. The 6 miles in the morning was done on just a banana at 7.30am on the coastal path. And I felt dreadful. The legs were tired, I just couldn't pick up my feet, and it took all my mental energy to stay upright. One minute I was checking my watch, the next I was flat on my face in the dirt. I had tripped over a stone and scraped my right knee and dented my confidence badly. But I dusted myself off and managed to finish the run ok.

The next few days consisted of easy short 4-6 mile road runs or days off.

Falling over on the coastal path was not good. Alot of the time I was on holiday I was thinking of the 3 marathons in 3 days I will be doing in November, along that very stretch of coastal path. The race HQ is in St Davids where we were camping, so I had constant reminders of what I have signed up for. Confidence for offroad coastal running is very low at the moment. My knee is actually still very sore to touch, albeit a surface wound only. I am hoping that it was a combination of camping tiredness and general exhasution that led to my fall, and not an innate inability to run Pembrokeshire Coastal path safely!! Before the holiday I was dog tired, but coping. The holiday was great to get away from work for a while, but sleeping in a tent and living outside for a week is never very restful. I am off again in a few days camping to France, so I am planning on adjusting my schedule to take that into account, having learnt from my experience in St Davids. Trying to run a 60+ mile week, in the gaps of a family camping holiday left me feeling extremely stiff, tired and a little tearful. Once I'd taken the pressure off myself and swapped my easy week planned for this week, and my 60+ mile week, which I will complete this week coming, I felt so much better.

One great thing about the holiday though, was bumping into an old friend in St Davids, and finding he and his sister and brother, spouses and parents plus children were all staying in the area for the week.Having known them for nearly 20 years, but due to geography only see them every few years it was a fantastic chance to spend the week catching up, and enjoying everyone's company. We now plan to do it again next year!


  1. Hi Fin,
    Whereabout are you going in France?

  2. Hi Marie,

    I have left all the planning to Ben, as far as I know it's the Normandy coast. We have all been brushing up on our limited French, I think we will need a very big phrase book to help!!