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

Pretend you’re a tourist: choose a scenic route in your area, drink in your surroundings and plan a post-run treat

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

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

 

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.

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?

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