Back in December 2013, a couple of months after arriving and settling in Norway, I kicked off a new running regime, or rather my Norwegian running regime, which first focused on my ‘backyard’ of Våland.
I wanted to test out: that a) there’s always time to exercise; plus b) it doesn’t matter what the weather is like outside.
The second point was the most difficult for me, being a thin-skinned Aussie. My goal was to toughen up and simply spend time outdoors in the Norwegian winter. If I waited for the perfect day in Stavanger, then I’d have to get used to spending quite a bit of time indoors. So the objective and mission was to simply gå ut!
It would have been easiest to simply run around Mosvannet all the time, seeing as it was so close by. But everybody does that and there’s really no challenge there (another objective of mine was to include hill runs, which is not difficult in Stavanger).
So the Våland route was specifically designed to go up to Vålandtårnet two times; to take advantage of the peace and quiet; the view over Stavanger-Sandnes; and the lack of traffic/noise/pollution. My backside, lungs and thighs certainly felt those hill climbs paying off.
Våland is a really nice place to do a short run in, mainly because you run through Vålandskogen (the forest, or what’s left of it), and you have that fantastic view from the top. They’ve even started renovating the tower, which is nice to see. It’s a nice place to stop and take a breather.
Running around Våland and through Våland’s forest offers any runner a wide range of difficulties and possibilities, with steep hills, bitumen roads and soft forest undergrowth. Våland is also one of the better suburbs in Stavanger, so you can take a peak at some of the fancy houses there. Most of all, the forest has a wonderful feeling any time of year, but especially in spring and autumn. Easily increase the Våland running route by repeating it (as often as you like), and add some hill runs and fartleks up and down the grassy park area.
You can also add a loop to Eiganes and back. As far as running in a city goes, running up to and over Våland is perfect.