250miles & 400km Training
This season we have looked to prepare the team for the long distance trips we have planned over the coming months. This means training has taken a different form to previous years where we have enjoyed sprint rallies. The starting point has been to pour over maps and YouTube videos evening after evening in search of trails suitable for the rig, dogs feet and mileage to provide a good workout. This is no mean feat living in the UK where space is at a premium!
We have been pleased to welcome the New Year with a total mileage of 245 miles/ 394km completed by all four dogs. The first 100 miles were all about finding the correct team positions and ensuring Nome and Rowdy felt confident with the job in hand. The latter part of the mileage has been focused on longer distances with each run hitting a minimum trail length of approximately 15 miles.
This post provides an insight into some of the trails we have discovered and found worthwhile (not every trail experiment has been successful) and shows some of the journey we have been on to achieve the mileage.
Early Trails 3- 5 Miles
We are lucky to have the Five Pitts Trail run straight past our house in Chesterfield which has been great for building up early fitness, confidence and trialling team combinations for short spells. This trail is an old railway line previously used to join up mines. The surface is ideal for running on especially youngsters who haven't yet developed tougher pads like our older dogs.
Mid-Way Trails 8-15 Miles
These trails are within an hours drive of our home, some we like more than others and so do the dogs! Carsington Water has to be one of their favourites, probably because of the sheep fields we pass through which makes for great on-by training. There is a lot on this trail to keep the dogs interested, twists, turns, wildlife and wooded sections.
The first of the 15 mile trails explores more of the old railway lines and we had to practice a bit of patience as there were a few gates to open and a couple of roads to cross. The trail really lent itself to practising waiting commands. The second of the two 15 mile trails travels along the Chesterfield canal and opens out into a county park where we looped around a huge pond that set us off facing the same trail back. The dogs enjoy this part as the trail is full of rabbits late at night which makes things much more fun.
Longer Trails 20-25 Miles
These trails have been great fun for all the team as training becomes more of a mini excursion. Kielder Forest is around a 3 1/2 hour drive north for us but well worth it to trek around the Lakeside Way trail that runs around the edge of Kielder Water. At 25.5 miles this is the longest distance we have completed (although our tracker map only says 21miles as the mobile phone battery died at the end.) There are some great shots below of the team on the suspension bridge during this run.
The Tissington Trail is is nearby in the Peak District National Park and allows us to complete up to 26 miles. The views around sunrise are spectacular, you can just see sun chasing the team as they complete their run in the photos below.