Coulsdon Run

My running club, Striders of Croydon, puts on a series of marathon training runs from November through to the big spring marathons, gradually increasing in distance. Today was the run back from Coulsdon, having taken the train there. I remember being absolutely gutted to have to miss this run last year due to my tendon injury, so I was really looking forward to it this year.

This run is a huge contrast to the Beckenham run – the first of the series of runs, a fortnight ago. After a short road section we cross onto Farthing Downs and head southwards before veering around and heading northeast back towards Croydon, basically following the London Loop.

There are a few bits of road along the way’, but most of the time we were off road: Croydon really is greener than you think! We went through the site of Riddlesdown parkrun along the way and returned to familiar territory near Selsdon Wood Nature Reserve, taking one of the usual Sunday run routes in reverse from there back to the Lloyd Park and the clubhouse.

In addition to the much higher proportion of off-road running, this route is much better supplied with hills than the Beckenham run. The first hill comes just as you hit Farthing Downs (somehow I’d forgotten about that) and there’s a big and steep hill up by the quarry after about five miles. There’s a very steep scramble version to get up there, but half of our middle-pace group went for a longer but more runnable route.

The hills reminded me again that I really need to start some proper hill training. This is something I’ve been noticing on the occasions I’ve run Lloyd parkrun recently (including yesterday – thank you, all the volunteers) and during cross-country races. Additionally, the last two weeks I’ve moved up from the third to the second speed group on the Striders’ Wednesday evening runs and although generally keeping up pretty well (even if at or near the back of the group most of the time) I’ve definitely been trailing on the hills. It’s definitely time to get the glutes fired up and do some hill repeats.

I felt quite tired from about nine miles in, so I extended the run only back from the club house to home, giving 15 miles in total. Last week I ran 19.5 miles, two more than the previous week, and those were my longest runs since the accident last September, so a drop-down was probably a good idea. I’m not getting any pain in the inside of my left ankle during or after these runs, which is fantastic. In fact, I realised after yesterday’s parkrun that I’d just done the whole run, including slipping and sliding in downhill mud, without thinking about the ankle at all – amazing!

We were very lucky with the weather – cool but dry throughout the run, if a bit damp underfoot. I remembered to rinse the mud off my shoes (Trailroc 235s today) as soon as I got back and they’re presently on their second stuffing of newspaper.

Many thanks to Paul for leading our group today – and well done Robin for catching up with us after the runners he was leading decided to drop back to the slower group.

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