This morning I joined a couple of friends for a run up Deuchney Woods and Kinnoull Hill. They’ve been going out regularly running around 10k on the roads and were looking for a change so I had suggested a bit of hill running and so decided to join them to show them some routes to try.
It’s been a while since I was last up and it’s usually around this time of year I do some off-road running to build up my fitness ahead of marathon training at the start of the new year. I know the area fairly well having been brought up close by and my dad used to love running around there. Once or twice he would take me with him but at that time, I wasn’t as interested in running as I am now.
Hill Running is one of the best ways to improve your running fitness as the inclines boost your lung power, the uneven surface will help improve your balance and strength round the ankle joint and you have to watch where you put your feet. I find it much more interesting and challenging than road running. I have my favourite paths but the good thing is, you can pretty much create your own route and you still end up on the main paths.
Once you get beyond the initial climb at the start, Deuchney Woods is fairly undulating with one or two steep bits but you also get some good downhill stretches as well. I like to push myself and run hard uphill but that wasn’t going to happen today! Another week or two maybe! When we got back down to the car park, I suggested we go onto Kinnoull Hill while we were here. Kinnoull Hill’s different as the paths I like to go on are mostly off the main path and tend to be much steeper than at Deuchney.
The way I see it is DW provides a good base and is the perfect prep for tackling Kinnoull Hill. It is here where most of the beauty of Perth can be savoured. Heading along some of the smaller paths, you can often see many birds and other wildlife, including deer, who call this home and once you reach the top by the tower and/or continue to the table, you are met with some amazing scenery. The table at the highest point holds a lot of good memories for me and I ran up here on the morning of my wedding day. I like to spend a few moments here to enjoy the view, reflect on things and maybe take a few photos on my phone before I head downhill and home.
For me, running around Kinnoull Hill is a bit like visiting an old friend and once you’ve visited, you realise that it’s been too long and you make a point of visiting more often in the future. Today’s run was tough but it’s a good way to realise where my fitness is at and I’m looking forward to challenging myself much more frequently over the next 8 weeks or so before I have to start the road work again.