Friday, 18 August 2017

Training on Mountains

Austrian mountains are just the job when it comes to building condition.

My first 'rule' is: choose a mountain a short distance away and run gently to its foot.

Today my final destination is a point in the above phootograph - the 'v' shaped ridge between the central summits. The nearest point at the base of the mountain range is 1.5 kms away and my 'finish line' is 6 kms away.

My second 'rule' is: in hot weather always carry water - either to drink or pour over the head. I know a convenient tap on a wall at the foot of the mountain - a great place to top-up my 500 ml bottle.

The third 'rule' is: avoid the temptation to start too fast, taking into account the temperature and the steepness of the slope.

I'm starting at 500 meters (1,800 ft) and aiming to  be at an altitude of 1,500 meters (5,000 feet) in an hour and a half; a place where the air will be much thiner and the sun's rays  much stronger.

I'll be wearing my running cap backwards, to protect the nape of my neck from sunburn.

An important fourth 'rule' is: know the way back. Today I'll be taking a cable car for the return journey. One of life's little luxuries.

'Rule' five: take the opportunity to look at the scenery and observe the various climate zones.

Sixth and final 'rule': having earned it the hard way - enjoy the view! Have a beer if you fancy one!

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Krumau-Idolsberg Trails

Visit any tourist information office in Austria, even in the smallest town,  and it would be surprising if you were not able to obtain some useful information about local footpaths and/or forest trails.

Here is a map showing 7 signposted walks around Kampsee Thurnberg, a lake 100 kms to the north of Vienna.

Sections of routes 5 and 7 and the whole of route 2 were chosen by a marathon runner, M,  who invited me to join him on a recent 20 km training run.

A friendly frog on a wooden signpost showed us the way!

Our run took us through a forest above some cliffs from where we had occasional glimpses of the lake from an up-and-down forest path and later in the run from a technical section of single trail.

On our way we stopped and tasted blackberries. We were bitten by horseflies. It rained for 2 hours.
Some of the hills were long and steep. I found it all mentally cool.

From my perspective M's route choice was brilliant.

Friday, 28 July 2017

New: The "Check-My-Tree" Running and Walking Trail

Today I took my camera and went to reconnoitre a new route called Check-My-Tree Trail which starts and ends on the outskirts of Vienna in the district of Neuwaldegg (tram 43).  

The way is marked with prominent green arrows. 

The opening section was straight and flat, and along a tree lined avenue in the direction of the Schwarzenberg Park and the Vienna Woods.

After 2 kms the tarmac ended. I then crossed a small wooden bridge over a stream and took a woodland path on the right.

The path climbed steadily upward and curved around 3 bends. With another 2 kms and the halfway mark behind me I arrived at a handsome shelter cum information point on the summit plateau.

This building marks the Wende or turn. From here the way back to the the starting point is just 3.6 kms.  The outward journey was 4 kms.

Back at the start there are 3 options:

1) go round again

2) catch a tram back to the city

3) go for a swim

Time taken: 52 minutes

I like the Check-My-Tree Trail and predict it will prove very popular with weekend runners and walkers. Clearer signing on the return route near the snack bar in the park would be quite useful. But that's a minor criticism. It's amazing what you can do with a dozen green arrows. Money well spent!

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Over 'The Hill'

The Hill is not long.

Maybe it's 2 kms.

It has 8 bends.

There are two steep sections. The steepest is after bend 7, with a gradient of 10%.

Halfway up The Hill there is a runner on a concrete wall.

I attack The Hill on my one hour training runs.

I like The Hill.   Running over The Hill is exhilarating.

At the top of The Hill the road ends     and the trail begins.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

A 1/5th Marathon

On Sunday I went to a picture postcard location in Upper Austria to take part  in a "1/5th marathon",- a scenic 2 lap race which included an off-road trail around the perimeter of a green peninsula protruding into the Traunsee lake.

The start and finish locations were in the town square of Gmunden - and as the race got underway the bells of the town hall clock chimed 10am.

Runners in a shorter race, a "1/10th marathon" taking place at the same time and over the same course wore red numbers.  The rest of us wore green, and since the numbers were worn on our fronts it made for an interesting challenge. To chase or not to chase, that was the question.

A first for me was that I was the oldest competitor in a race. I guess it had to happen sooner or later!

With this useful string bag souvenir for my bits and pieces I can now pretend to be a triathlete!  

8.4 kms Gmunden 9th July 2017

1. E Seid (ETH) - 27:30
113. G Williams (GBR) - 45:49

134 Finishers