What to expect from an LTR event
If you’re thinking of coming along for the first time, that’s brilliant. You’ll be very welcome, so get yourself booked onto an appropriate event, and we’ll look forward to meeting you.
Most people rave about LTR guided trail runs when they’ve given one a try, but we will admit the events don’t suit everyone. That’s often because they’re expecting something different, so we’ve come up with this quick guide to what LTR is all about and why we believe it’s the best thing since sliced bread.
Okay, let’s cover the big important stuff first …
The BIG IMPORTANT stuff
LTR events aren’t races
No one will care if you’re the fastest or the slowest because we run as a group. We follow the pace set by the lead guide and start and finish more-or-less together. There are no prizes, t-shirts, medals or goodie bags. Instead of the stress of a race, you get plenty of laughs, a well-planned route, superb scenery and a great workout for the body and the soul.
LTR events are small and friendly
Most events have a maximum of 20 runners, looked after by three or four very experienced guides. It’s fun and sociable running so even if you don’t know anyone when you arrive, you could well know everyone by the time you leave. LTR isn’t about beating people, it’s about meeting them. (And no, it’s not a dating site.)
LTR is about getting off the roads
The big clue is in the word ‘trail’ but the way we see it, that includes all sorts of surfaces other than conventional hard-packed trails. Think fields and farm tracks, cobbles, towpaths, ginnels, woodland, moorland, bridle paths and drovers’ roads, green lanes and stepping stones, fords, bridges and stiles. Be prepared for boggy bits and hills.
And now for the $64 million question …
How fit do you need to be?
That’s a tricky one.
Every LTR run is different. We plan runs aimed at various abilities, so some are definitely much tougher than others. If you’re used to running on the roads but haven’t ventured off them much, you might find our events quite challenging. The pace isn’t super fast, but because we run as a group, it helps everyone to have a good time if you can keep up and it applies across all our events.
If you’ve only just started your running career and are still mixing up walking and jogging, it’s probably not for you – just yet. But keep at it and when you’re ready, book an Intro/Taster.
If you can complete 10k on the roads in around 70mins or a 5k Park Run in around 35mins, then book yourself straight onto our next Intro/Taster event. Those who book on an LTR Intro/Taster start their trail adventure together, with the two lead guides positioning themselves accordingly. During the initial stages of the run, the two lead guides assess the ability of the runners before forming the Intro & Taster groups. The two groups are guided along a well planned route, enjoying the same great scenery, but the Intro group gets to use all the shortcuts!
If you’re part mountain goat, have been running for donkey’s years, clock up hundreds of miles every week, sprint up slopes that would leave others gasping and are as strong as an ox, then book yourself straight onto our next 'Regular' and be prepared to give piggybacks.
LTR is about sociable running and enjoying the route as a group, so it’s important to find the right type of LTR event for your speed, strength and experience. In the wrong event, you could struggle or impact other runners. In the right one, you’ll still be putting the effort in, but you’ll have a great time. If you’re not sure, ask. We’ll always give you sound advice.
And now the jargon …
LTR Intro/Taster (Novice & Intermediate)
Although by no means a doddle, our Intros are for those looking to start trail running or improve their confidence off-road. It’s relaxed and easy going with a mix of walking hills, jogging and running over a distance of about 7km. If you opt for an Intro and find it easy, you must be happy to accommodate any slower runners and to go no faster than the lead guide. You should be comfortable of running 10k on the road in under 70mins or a free 5k Park Run in around 35mins. Unfortunately it is unlikely you'll have the strength or stamina to enjoy one of our Intro/Tasters if you cannot achieve this.
Unlike the Intros, our Tasters usually covers around 10km of varied trails, they are quite challenging and on occasion can be an insight into our longer Regular runs. You’ll need to be capable of maintaining a steady pace over tricky terrain to stick with this group. Our Tasters are best suited to confident and frequent runners - those who can complete a 10k on the road in around 60mins or under.
LTR Regular (Trail lover)
Those who book on a Regular will need to be very comfortable running at a steady pace over undulating and tricky terrain for two hours or more, and, as with all LTR runs, happy to run in a group following the pace set by the guide. Other than when we stop for refreshments, you can expect to be running throughout. In order to book onto an LTR 'Regular', you must be capable of running 10k on the road in around 50mins or under.
The nice to know stuff
Cafés and carparks
Just occasionally, the meeting point is a pay-and-display car park so a bit of change will be handy, but most events start near to a cracking café. The café owners will have been warned to expect a tribe of starving, sweaty 'runners' so – if you can – stay after the run for a chinwag, a brew and breakfast or a wedge of cake.
There will be mud. There may be a lot of it. This is Britain. We haven’t had a consistent dry spell since 1976. On the bright side, someone will haul you out if you get stuck.
If you’re heading to the café after the run, bring a towel and a change of footwear.
The distances are a guide. If 10k is mentioned, it might be nearer to eleven, but you’ll be having too much fun to notice. By all means, track how far you’ve run on your watch, but don’t worry about times, splits or segments. You’ll find it much more relaxing.
Our guides carry drinks for everyone and there’s normally a quick refreshment stop part way through the run. If you want to drink water on route, you’ll need to carry it, but as you’ll be climbing stiles make sure you use a belt or similar to keep your hands free.
Your normal running gear is usually fine but a suitable waterproof jacket is often required. Save any designer Lycra for the gym, because we’ll probably find some brambles. And thorns. And nettles. To date, no one has been snagged by an alligator.
Trail running shoes
You’ll find it easier with than without, but you don’t need to spend a fortune. Whatever you’re wearing, expect wet feet. If you’ve only got road shoes, call and ask about whether you’ll cope on the planned route.
Ready to give it a try?
Good – the best way to learn about LTR is to give it a go. You’ll find our current guided trails runs on the 'UPCOMING EVENTS' page. We use Eventbrite, so booking is quick and simple. And yes, you do have to book because we limit the numbers taking part to ensure everyone has a great time and stays safe on the trails.
Just talk to us. Please call either Rodger on 07946 568844 or Sarah on 07854 816244.