Alice Holt Blue (319.2-335.4km)

It’s Easter Monday, so a day off, and the family is away for the week so instead of enjoying a lie in I was up at seven and out of the door by eight to find a new location to do some hill training. Of course you do.

I decided to venture out to Alice Holt, a local forest to see if I could find some new lumps to get over. I’d run the Alice Holt 10k a few years ago and the inclines seemed like a good spot to get ten miles in and some hill climbs done. Basically good training for the South Downs Half.

I don’t really know my way around the forest too well so upon arrival I took a look at the trail guide and picked out the blue route as it was for bikes and suggested that a couple of the climbs were quite steep. It seemed like the best candidate.

Off I ran, keeping an eye out for the blue markers dotted along the paths. The paths were certainly as scenic as I remembered, long tree lined paths with occasional views down the hill.

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What’s not to like?

As it was my third ten mile run in five days it was a struggle, I haven’t run with this kind of intensity for a few years but I’m enjoying the challenge running this far for so long brings.

Luckily each lap of the blue route started downhill, a nice morale boost even if you know what is to come. The up-slopes were long and challenging and what I felt was good training especially with the fatigue already in my legs. Three laps done I added a bit extra to throw in a short sharp up and down, my legs didn’t thank me today, hopefully they will in June.

Feeling virtuous I tucked into a sausage sandwich (red sauce if you’re wondering) and a cup of tea at the cafe when I finished. Looking back at my strava feed I hadn’t done as much climbing as I would have done if I’d run Jurrasic slope a few times. I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed, I’ll have to put it down to experience and plan a bit better next time.

It wasn’t a complete bust though; an interesting challenge was running on loose stones. On flat tracks it makes no real difference but when trying to run downhill it can make picking up speed a challenge and uphill any slip backwards is a morale sapper. I also wore very snug shoes, with the slopes causing my feet to try and slide in the shoe I built up a fair bit of toe pain. Next time I’ll give my slightly larger shoes a go and see if the extra space affords my toes a bit of respite.

So, rather than the hardcore hill session I was hoping for it turned into a decent fact finding mission. I’ll certainly head back for the terrain and focus on the hills closer to home.

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