Lessons From the Fells

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - DEPARTMENT -

AN AMAZ­ING COM­BI­NA­TION of cross-coun­try run­ning, moun­tain run­ning, ori­en­teer­ing and hik­ing, fell run­ning orig­i­nated in the fells of north­ern Eng­land, which is re­ally the only place you can truly en­joy the sport. At the re­cent Inov-8 launch of their lat­est fell and trail shoes, which fea­ture the rev­o­lu­tion­ary use of Graphene, of­fered up the chance to take in some fell run­ning in the true heart of fell-run­ning coun­try, the Lake Dis­trict north of Manch­ester.

One of the main char­ac­ter­is­tics of fell run­ning is the gradient of the climbs. The pic­turesque fells around the Lake Dis­trict aren’t clas­si­fied as moun­tains be­cause they are all shy of the 1,000 m el­e­va­tion that the Bri­tish use to de­fine a moun­tain, but many come pretty close, in­clud­ing Scafell Pike which tops out at 978 m.

Like ori­en­teer­ing, fell run­ning and rac­ing re­quires good nav­i­ga­tion skills. Rac­ers are also re­quired to carry their own sup­plies and, with the ever-chang­ing weather con­di­tions in the Lake Dis­trict, ad­e­quate cloth­ing. Those not in­ter­ested in a com­pet­i­tive fell run­ning ex­pe­ri­ence have more than enough op­por­tu­nity to get in some epic runs – within Eng­land and Wales there are are com­pre­hen­sive land ac­cess rules that en­sure right of ways are avail­able through farm­land and home­steads to al­low you to get to the trails. The chal­leng­ing ter­rain that in­cludes steep climbs, muddy (read: down­right boggy) and wet con­di­tions en­sures you’ll get a stel­lar work­out in the fells, no mat­ter what pace you’re go­ing at.

While the ter­rain in Canada is de­cid­edly dif­fer­ent to that of the su­per-green vis­tas you’ll see in the Lake Dis­trict, that doesn’t mean we can’t bor­row some of the con­cepts be­hind the an­cient prac­tice of fell run­ning to cre­ate our own fun work­outs, es­pe­cially in the fall, when some un­struc­tured train­ing time can be a wel­come break.

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