Running up and down the hills amid some of the most remote and rugged terrains in Britain might seem to be a preserve of veteran and hardy athletes. However, the reality is, anyone with a reasonable level of fitness can enjoy the fascinating and exhilarating experience of running on the rugged and hilly terrains.
What is Fell Running?
It refers to a traditional British sport. It includes running and racing off the normal roads, where a significant gradient is climbed. The race is all not about speed, however, you will have to train yourself for the unpredictable weather and terrain. If not well prepared, you might experience underfoot problems.
Besides, the race involves running between already established checkpoints. Most often, the paths do not have a clear path. Notably, there is a big difference between fell and mountain running. In mountain running, runners always faster and they follow an obvious path or route.
How is it different from cross country?
While performing both, you might have a muddy experience, but cross country has less climbing and the race usually involves some controlled routes, which makes it harder for someone to get lost. Often, the paths and trails are more obvious to follow too.
What does it take to be good Fell runner?
To be a good fell runner, you will need to practice on powering up through the rugged and hilly terrains. In addition, you should be good and negotiating bends and corners, as this may be a difficult task to master. Moreover, going down the slopes might also be unnerving, especially if the ground is unstable underfoot, hence, your level of fitness will help you make sudden breaks whenever there is a need.
As a rule of thumb, ensure you always be careful on where you step on and try leaning into a descent. The process involves moving away from your natural reflexes and that is the beauty of this race. By leaning descent, you lessen the strain placed on your muscles. In addition, strengthening your quadriceps and ankles through cross-training and leg specific exercise can help reduce the risk of soreness and injuries.
How to get started as a fell runner
The race is always not enjoyable if you are alone, thus, teaming up with other runners is the greatest way to dip your toe in if you are a newbie to off-road running. Besides, you might learn more about the events through the Fell Runner Association website.
From the site, you can get links to clubs across the country or you can as well contact a local group to check if there is someone willing to take you under their wings and guide you through this journey.
Next, be prepared to leave all your expectations behind. Always, it takes time to adjust to this race since it includes running on some rough grass, rocky paths, sheep hillside tracks, overs stream stiles, and borders. Certainly, do not expect your road times to translate on the fells. Most of the time as a newbie, you will find yourself walking before you get used to the new terrain. However, try not to get frustrated and stick in, soon you will realize improvements.