Falling In Love With Trail Running

Back in my teens and early 20s I was a 400m athlete, my least favourite training day of the week was when my long run was scheduled (5km or 20minutes running).

I never could have imagined that I’d fall in love with long distance trail running, but several years later, living in the Scottish Highlands, I signed up for my first off-road marathon!

What started off as just a challenge I had set myself for turning 30, soon became my number one passion! Having lived in a city my whole life, trail running became a way of exploring what was on my new doorstep and discovering the wonderful landscape of the Cairngorms National Park that I now live in.

My love of the Scottish mountains had drawn me to the Highlands, but now I was experiencing Scotland in a completely different light. Discovering new forest trails, running up mountains I’d have only been able to walk up in the past and finding hidden lochs for refreshing swims. It was a completely different kind of running I had experienced from when I was younger, and I loved it!

As my running took me further, I realised I needed to take a look at the kit I was using and make some changes. I very quickly learned that when it came to trainers there was not just one pair for the job, depending on the distance and terrain I’d be mixing it up between several different pairs. Currently I am using the On Cloudventure Peak and have found these suit most of my runs, however two winters ago I bought a pair of the Inov8 Arctic Claws, with their built in spikes, these have been an absolute lifesaver in the current conditions of ice and snow up in Scotland!

Next up I had to take a look at the bag I was trying to run with, a cheap thing I had bought back when I lived in the city with the idea I would run to and from work (that never happened.) It was basic and would bounce around on my back as I ran, so I upgraded to the Montane VIA snap running vest. What a game-changer! Front pockets for my gels, a secure fit and room for lightweight waterproofs, my water bladder and my swimming stuff too. I’d never known running with a backpack on could feel so comfortable.

In the past, I was quite happy to make do with the kit I had when it came to longer runs, but now I was learning that comfort was key if I wanted to take my running adventures further. That being said, I’ve always been quite particular about the clothing I run in, I don’t even want to admit how old my favourite running shorts are, but when I tried Scimitar clothing for the first time, I knew they ticked all the right boxes for me.

Their running leggings are a staple in my winter wardrobe, along with their long sleeved 1/4 zip running top. Layering is key for me when I run in winter, even in summer too, you just never quite know what the forecast might do and it can change many times in one long run!

With the current situation we are all in, I haven’t set myself any running challenges for the year ahead. I used to always need a goal and focus to motivate me to get out running, but now it has just become a way of life.

I feel at my happiest when I am outside with my two dogs, and so my only goal is to continue exploring the beauty that is around me, of where my own two feet can take me.

Louise McLelland | Scimitar Ambassador

You can follow Louise on:

Instagram: @louise.mclelland
Twitter: @lrmclelland

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