Where would you like to run be­fore sum­mer day­light dis­ap­pears?

Choose a scenic route in your area, drink in your sur­round­ings and plan a post-run treat

The Irish Times - Tuesday - Health - - Front Page - Mary Jen­nings:

Af­ter two glo­ri­ous months of sun­shine, these great days are grad­u­ally com­ing to an end. The first signs of au­tumn have started to ap­pear and a new sea­son is on its way.

I don’t know too many run­ners who thrived dur­ing the hot­ter days but I do know that most of us will look back at this sum­mer of run­ning and re­mem­ber sun-cream, light cloth­ing, the con­stant search for the shade and the won­der­ful post-run sea dips and pic­nics on the yel­low grass.

Some of my favourite runs this sum­mer are the ones where I have run with no watch. I have taken breaks to en­joy the scenery and catch my breath. I have been in awe of the colours, the views and all that is on our doorstep. It is not cheat­ing to take breaks when we run. There is no rule to say we have to run non­stop all the time. Build­ing a lit­tle va­ri­ety or a dif­fer­ent fo­cus into a run can re­ally make the dif­fer­ence be­tween it be­ing a clock-watch­ing, lung-busting work­out or an en­joy­able, en­er­gis­ing train­ing ses­sion. If you are not fo­cused on a par­tic­u­lar race or train­ing plan, this is a lovely way to run.

Un­for­tu­nately, time has passed too quickly for many of us this sum­mer, and I ad­mit there are plenty of lo­ca­tions I had hoped to run that I have not made it to. I will have to ac­cept that I can’t do it all at this stage. Maybe I was a lit­tle op­ti­mistic on my ini­tial sum­mer run­ning plans, but back in early June I felt I had end­less time. Now, with Septem­ber around the cor­ner, I feel the ur­gency to fit in a few of these promised runs be­fore they will be out of bounds by au­tum­nal dark evenings.

Where would you like to run be­fore the sum­mer day­light dis­ap­pears?

While your of­fi­cial sum­mer hol­i­days might be be­hind you at this stage and you may be back at the desk by day, you still have early morn­ings and long evenings to cre­ate a mini ad­ven­ture. All we need is an hour to es­cape. With that in mind, I de­cided to cre­ate a ‘hol­i­day’ run mid­week for some of my run­ning stu­dents this month. I sug­gested we mark the end of the long hot sum­mer with a nov­elty run. Our fun-run along the seafront in Clon­tarf would take us out to Dol­ly­mount beach and fin­ish with a chat over 99 ice creams. Noth­ing says an Ir­ish sum­mer like a 99. Noth­ing gets peo­ple to sign up for a run quicker than hav­ing a treat to look for­ward to at the end.

Along the prom

So off we headed last week, 25 of us along the prom, chas­ing a rain­bow while watch­ing the sail­ing races, the en­thu­si­as­tic swim­mers and the odd ferry and even cruise ship on the hori­zon. The sea breeze made run­ning pleas­ant and the free­dom of the coast, the chat of the gang and the chang­ing views kept us all en­ter­tained. My in­ten­tion was to break up the run with many breaks, some for ex­er­cises and some to take in the views. The girls trav­elled 7km that night, but hardly no­ticed the dis­tance as I broke up the run to in­clude squats, planks and bal­ance ex­er­cises. They even man­aged to stay quiet for five min­utes to at­tempt some nasal breath­ing while run­ning.

By break­ing up the fo­cus of the run and keep­ing the at­ten­tion on the seg­ment they were in, the run­ners were able to stay more in the mo­ment rather than wish the time away. How­ever, to­wards the end, the prom­ise of the ice cream did keep their eye on the fin­ish line. We choose The Baths on Clon­tarf prom­e­nade for our post-run re­fresh­ment as we had spent many months watch­ing it be­ing ren­o­vated and many more run­ning past in­hal­ing the aro­mas of fish and chips. It was a great nov­elty to fin­ish with an ice cream, a glo­ri­ous sun­set view and all in the com­pany of like-minded souls.

Gourmet run­ning ad­ven­ture

These are the type of run­ning mem­o­ries I will trea­sure from 2018. But you don’t need 25 run­ning bud­dies to take on some­thing like this. You can cre­ate your own gourmet run­ning ad­ven­ture. Choose to do it alone or bring along a friend. Where would you rec­om­mend a tourist run in your lo­cal­ity? What post-run treat might you sug­gest for them? If you could de­sign a run­ning route for some­one who asked, what’s stop­ping you from be­ing the tourist your­self?

We all have some­where in our lo­cal area that could be classed as a “tourist” run. It might even be a route you run cur­rently. Putting on our tourist hat, rather than our com­pet­i­tive hat can some­times be a nice way to en­joy and ap­pre­ci­ate our sur­round­ings.

These last days of Au­gust are still with us be­fore rou­tines, schools and classes return. There is plenty time to cre­ate some sunny run­ning mem­o­ries be­fore we are back into heav­ier lay­ers.

There are coun­try roads that will be un­safe to run on in a few weeks, there are trails that will be in in­ac­ces­si­ble and there are week­day com­mit­ments that we all will have once the “back-to-school” sea­son of Septem­ber ar­rives.

I don’t tell you all this to be neg­a­tive, I tell you be­cause I don’t want you to let these few weeks pass by in a blur. Go out there and cre­ate a week­day ad­ven­ture. It might only be one hour of your time.

Go alone, bring the fam­ily, in­vite a friend but ap­pre­ci­ate what we have out­side now be­fore the au­tumn takes these beau­ti­ful evenings from us. No­tice how you feel when you return and ap­pre­ci­ate how very lucky we all are to have this sum­mer and the sur­round­ings to en­joy it.

When you will look back at this record-break­ing sum­mer, what will you re­mem­ber?

Where would you rec­om­mend a tourist run in your lo­cal­ity? What post run treat might you sug­gest for them?

Mary Jen­nings and some of her run­ning stu­dents en­joy a well de­served post-run 99 ice-cream at The Baths in Clon­tarf af­ter their Dol­ly­mount fun run.

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