I’m happy to run in pretty much any kind of weather, being a firm believer in the principle of there being no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices. Having said that it does seem like the year to date has been for the most part dull and grey, and that most of the bright sunny days have been in the week when I’ve been at work, so to pull open the curtains on both days this weekend to blue skies and sunshine was an open invitation to get out and run. There’s something about bright, clear conditions that puts a spring in my (running) step and I couldn’t wait to get out of the door. Yes, it was cold, but nothing the right kit couldn’t deal with.
I headed to Maidstone Parkrun on Saturday morning, and the River Medway looked fantastic, with the rowers gliding along, sunlight reflecting off the water and the smoke rising from the houseboats as they cooked their breakfasts. We’re so lucky to have a course that follows the river, it might be a bit narrow at the start, but no-one complains, if you want to run a decent time you get near the front, if not you just go with the flow for the first kilometre and then push on when the path widens, which is pretty much what I did. It was the penultimate run at the end of what was to be my longest week to date in mileage terms, and I had felt pretty tired the day before, so I was happy to have a relaxed run and enjoy myself.
The next day I decided to stick with the river, this time heading the opposite direction out of town following the towpath down through the village of East Farleigh, crossing over the footbridge at Barming and doing a loop that bought me back down to the river crossing the old bridge at Teston, before heading back to town the way I had come. Just a touch over 10 miles in total, very easy paced with the Tunbridge Wells half-marathon to come next week, 29 miles in total for the week.
That marked the end of my first 6 weeks of training, and I can’t quite believe how quickly the time has gone.It only seems like yesterday that we were seeing in the new year and now here we are nearly halfway through February, with the mornings and evenings getting lighter and the first signs of Spring starting to appear. It’s still a bit dark to run through the park in the morning when I’ve decided to do a run commute, but it’s now light enough in the evening, so that makes for a much nicer run home.
I’m very pleased with how my training has gone so far, helped by the fact that so far I have avoided the various colds and bugs that inevitably do the rounds at this time of year. I appreciate I’m not out of the woods yet though,and I did have a couple of days where I felt very tired and I thought I was coming down with something, but I backed off my training, got some rest and fortunately it came to nothing – phew!
I feel like I’m building a good base, and I had strong, solid runs at the Canterbury 10 miles and my two cross-country races. I’ve been swimming regularly and I’ve now introduced some core/strength training at the gym into my routine now.
This weekend sees the first of three consecutive half-marathons, Tunbridge Wells with its infamous hill at 8 miles, and it is a steep one! Last time I ran in 2016 I just missed out on a sub 1:50, so that’s what I’d like to do this time around, which I should be capable of based on my Canterbury 10 time, although as you can see from the course profile it’s a tricky one to get the pace right with a long downhill in the first half and the climbs after that.
I’ll be back next week hopefully with a race review, hope everyone has a great week training and good luck if you’re racing.