News article created on 22 June 2017

Let's all try and share the space

Phil shares with us his training progress towards the 2 Arms on 2 Legs half marathon in September.

bikes on the towpath bikes on the towpath

Since my last blog I have been through a mix of highs and lows. My running continued to improve quickly, so much so that I bought forward my attempt at a first Half Marathon race booking a place in the Isle of Wight Cross Country Half Marathon.

In choosing to concentrate on increasing my speed over distance I made the conscious decision to move away from the canal towpaths for now. As great as our towpaths are I don’t feel that they are appropriate for people in a hurry. The towpaths are a place for tranquillity, relaxation and enjoyment. The fact they can be quite narrow in places, bridge holes provide both blind spots and head clearance issues, there is always a risk of an incident if someone is travelling at speed.

The towpaths are used by so many different groups from boaters to dog walkers, walking groups to joggers, cyclists to office workers looking to take a break from their computer screens, not forgetting our own staff carrying out their duties.

So the towpaths need to be used appropriately and shared considerately.

Unfortunately, a fairly recent incident has seen me having to take an enforced break from running. While training in a relatively large, open, public space, trying to be mindful of the dogs being walked on fully extended leads and avoiding the groups of speeding mountain bikers I ran into an area of grass not used too frequently.

I found out the hard way why this area is not walked to often, finding one of many rabbit holes hidden in the grass with my left foot, damaging my Achilles tendon. Nearly 4 weeks I have been unable to run now, having to defer my IOW Half Marathon place to next years event, and I am quite sure that I still have a few more weeks’ recovery yet to come.

With each run that I am missing, feeling my running fitness falling back, I can’t help but wonder if the walkers that had their dogs on several metres of extended lead and the groups of cyclists tearing around thought as I do of sharing the space considerately. If they did…maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t have had to venture off track, would have competed in my first race and could still be improving my running.

To be continued…..….. because I will be back.

About this blog

From couch to canal - Phil's running journey

Phil is one of our licensing rangers covering the south east.  In 2017 Phil is aiming to get fit and run in our Two Arms on Two Legs half marathon this September. Read more about his progress and training here.  

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