Thursday, 11 February 2016

When icicles hang by the wall.....What's Good about Winter Running



Essential - Beanie & Buff
Well it's not been so much that sort of Winter this year, immortalised in the first line of the poem by William Shakespeare, more like one signalled in the first line of the second verse - 'When all aloud the wind doth blow'!

But however winter shows up, as a runner I love it and the colder and wetter the better! As long as my head, neck, hands and arms are well covered it can throw at me what it likes; rain, wind, snow, ice, hail, floods, mud, more mud, glorious oozing mud!

Frosty morning - REALLY cold!
And you can only really appreciate all that nature stuff in depth if you are a trail runner. For me, there's only one reason for running on the road and that's to get to the trail as soon as possible. You can keep your tarmac, concrete and exhaust fume; they just cripple and poison the body and undo what you are trying so hard to achieve - health and fitness and above all enjoyment. Give me fresh air and the human body's natural environment every time! Oh, sorry, back to winter....which is what this post is supposed to be about.

The ever changing elements give winter running its particular charm - and challenge. Those long glorious spells of summer are wonderful in their own right when we get them, but there's more variety and challenge over the same trails in winter because the days change so much. So I use the same few trails most of the time, unless I get in the car and drive further afield. Field paths, woodland tracks, canal banks all bring their own delights and more so in the winter when it's frosty and icy or windy and rainy. Brilliant and beautiful January frosty sunrise or gale lashed downpours are both a heaven to me.

Winter Sunrise
It's only knee-deep!

And if you add night running to what winter brings, it creates a completely different atmosphere and especially when animal eyes are glowing at you in the dark, reflected from your head lamp! A night race such as the Petzl Nightrunner Delamere Forest Festive 10k I entered in 2014 was a real treat. I've never seen such a river of vibrant

Result! - Mince Pie and Medal
fluorescent colour from reflective clothing on a dark night streaming into the forest from the start. And the view from the top of a hill through the frosty clear air across the Cheshire Plain, with millions of streetlights glowing as far as the eye can see was dreamlike. Then plunging down to the finish through pools and puddles and mud and more mud and yet more mud, feet like blocks of ice yet I'm feeling exhilarated by the spectacle - and the exhaustion.

Yes, winter running has its charm and its challenge, and simply adds to the glory of the whole experience that only runners know.

(A blog post for Virtual Running UK)



1 comment:

  1. Great blog post Colin! I love a crisp, frosty morning run - and I'm partial to a bit of mud too! I've found this winter a bit tough... Most of my runs have been restricted to city streets, but I've managed to get a few green runs in around Cardiff, Penarth and the Forest of Dean - makes a huge difference. Glad to hear you've fully embraced winter in all its (damp) glory! :)

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