Gathered with 64 other lycra clad souls on the banks of the Thames at Ham this morning, a stiff cold wind ripping over surging brown floodwater, I briefly reflected on the joys of winter running.
Its getting out thats the difficult bit. From indoors where it’s (hopefully!!) warm and snug, the external weather rarely looks inviting. Depending on the winter we are having it will probably be raining, bleak and grey, dark, windy or snowing (And sometimes a combination of the above). Rarely will it be cold and bright with a light blue sky and a watery sun shining through. Such days do occur and are magical, but pretty rare between December and February, the deepest winter months.
This years winter has been wetter than most and we have yet to see any significant snow in the south. In fact only a few weeks have seen frost and ice. This makes training fully possible. A few winters back running became almost but not quite iout of the question at this time of year with snow slush and ice for the first week of marathon training. That was a true test of resolve and ingenuity, finding routes that were actually runnable. The outer track around Richmond Park was brilliant on the first day of snow. By the second day it had turned into a dangerous rutted ice ring. December 2012 is all about mud and puddles and dodging the rain.
Todays Kingston Parkrun was no exception. Once underway I soon warmed up and overall it was not a bad run. The time was slow at 25.17, but although I’m going better now, its taken a while to recover from the calf injury and I need to work on speed. That said it was my best time on this course in two months (October 27th, 24.28). Hopefully by the New Year I will be getting back into the 24 minute band again.
The best thing about winter running is how damn good you feel after you have done it. Strip off the wet kit and get into a warm shower, sit down to a coffee and toast. Stretch out and enjoy the rest of the day. So remember, running in winter is rearely as bad as you think. Get on the right kit and go for it. It’s not winter running that’s the problem, just the anticipation.
Kingston parkrun #143. Time 25.17 (average pace 8.11). 24th place out of 65 runners, age grade 64.01%. My 176th park run to date.
Meanwhile the interest in the Richmond 13.1 Half Marathon continues to build and we now have 189 entries, 13 weeks before the race. See the website if you are interested and do spread the word!