During our holiday in Norfolk, we were lucky enough to be near multiple lovely beaches. We spent long days on the sand and in the cold sea – determined to make the most of the last week of the holidays- which was all really good fun. It was really nice to have such a classic holiday time: building sand castles and playing a few heated games of football (my team always seemed to win despite my lack of skill). However, having the beach so near meant that it was the perfect opportunity to try some beach running! I had been wanting to have a go at it for ages after reading about how beneficial and difficult it can be…and, I promise you, it did not disappoint!
On Monday morning my Dad and I drove down to Holkham Beach complete with our trail shoes. We planned a hard, interval session with lots of running up and down sandunes to make up for missing club training and practice speed-work for my track race on Sunday. When we go there, we ran across the beach until we reached some sutibly sized and steep sandunes. We planned to sprint up the dune 5 times without any rest except the run down. It was honestly so much fun (especially the down bit) but bye the 5th repeat, my legs were definitely tired. To recover, we ran steadily down to the water and sprinted back three times. Then we did 3x dunes, a short rest then 3x dunes again. By this point, I was pretty worn out so we ran leisurely down to the sea and back before one final effort of 5x dunes. By the time we were finished, my legs felt like jelly but I was happy. After a few stretches (and some photograph) we ran back to the car park and went on our way.
My plan had been to do an easy road run on the Tuesday but I was advised against doing so as we were still recovering from the dunes the day before so we waited until Wednesday. However, as we had enjoyed Tuesday’s sand session so much, we agreed we had to make the most it and decided to do an easy run on the beach instead. We planned to run from Holkham to Wells Beach at an easy pace. So, just like before, my dad and I drove to Holkham and set foot on our steady run.
As soon as we got onto the beach, we realised that we weren’t going to be able to complete our plan. The water had come in and created a barrier to one side – and we weren’t really willing to get our feet wet. So, instead, we decided to run in the opposite direction for about 20 or so minutes and then we would turn back. We did, however, have to jump over a fair few puddles before we reached the soft sand but it was actually really fun. Unfortunately, I can’t quite say the same about the rest of the run. As we didn’t have a specific spot to aim for, the run seemed to go on for ages although it ended up only being around 7.5km. It didn’t help that the ground kept slipping beneath my feet and I felt like I wasn’t making any progress. Little did we know that you shouldn’t ever really expect a beach run to be easy as this certainly was not what I had planned. I am, however, glad I did it all the same. It definitely helped my strength and, perhaps even more so, my mental endurance! Even so, I’m excited to try some more beach sessions whenever possible and can 100% see its benefits.
I did manage to get in an easy run by joining my Dad for the first 5k on his 10mile half marathon prep on the Thursday. I can tell you that it felt good to be back on the firm, solid road! It was really relaxing and enjoyable – we even spotted a barn owl! Thankfully, my legs weren’t too tired from trekking across the sand and it felt good to loosen them up one last time before my race this coming Sunday.
Furthermore, we were even able to get in a cycle this holiday. We went back to the beautiful Holkham Hall and hired three bikes. I hadn’t rode for what seemed like over a year so I was slightly apprehensive about being left in the dust of my brother but I actually surprised myself by being able to go quite fast and far! We rode for two hours including lots of long uphills and downhills which was very fun. I discovered that I really do enjoy cycling and would love to do more at home; however, I will need to invest better bike because mine is absolutely tiny! It also planted the possibility in my mind about perhaps doing a triathlon at some point…then I remembered I hate swimming training but maybe a duathlon could be in order…after a fair bit of practice mind you but I can’t help being inspired by England’s many great triathletes as it does look really good fun!
I hope you enjoyed today’s blog post and you have been inspired to give beach running a go! This was a bit of a shorter post because I originally didn’t think I was going to write one but I realised that my write-up of my this Sunday’s race will be a bit delayed so I wanted to post something in the meanwhile – plus I just wanted to share this cool experience! Also, in case you were doubting my English, the spelling in the title is intentional (yes, I was pretty proud of that joke) 😉
Make sure to have a good time throughout what remains of the holiday,