Winter training notes

The last couple of weeks of running training have felt much harder. The weather has been extremely cold, with some light snow and icy conditions. Lunchtime temperatures have struggled to get above zero degrees Celsius for most of the last week. I've always been aware that running in the cold is much harder, but for some reason I don't think I had quite appreciated how much harder until this week. I think that part of the problem is that whilst my running has been progressing well, I still haven't got anywhere near the same base level of fitness that when I was last training regularly. It's also probably been a bit colder than at any time when I've trained in recent years. In the past, I tended to train through spring and summer for an autumn half marathon and then I'd lose interest after the race and didn't really do any winter training. That old habit is another reason for setting my sights on a half marathon next year, to give me a reason for training this winter. If I had picked the Bath Half Marathon in March 2011, then right now I'd be worrying about my training and feeling under pressure to stick to a schedule with very little slack in it.

This week, my training has also felt harder because I have been developing a slight cold. Again, in the past I've not noticed the impact as much, but I was fitter (and younger). Today, I ran 6.25 miles, but found it very hard work. I just didn't have any energy and couldn't get any pace.

Even with the cold weather and my slight cold, I still managed to put together a run on Tuesday that was the fastest run I've done in over two and a half years. As seems to often be the case, the foundation was a very quick first mile, but I can't seem to hold that pace. I think I need to get better at pacing that first mile and saving time throughout the run. I also suspect that part of the issue is the ongoing need to adapt mentally too. I still have a fear of running out of energy, but really this is something I need to train through as frequently it's much more of an issue of just gritting teeth to get through the pain.

One positive about winter training is the excuse to use my Helly Hansen base layers. It's hard to really explain, but these are easily my favourite bit of running kit. Whenever I wear them I feel so much more athletic. It is a real mental boost.

Temperatures are forecast to rise to 5 or 6 degrees Celsius next week. I'm hopeful that this means that I can get some better times going again soon: health and work schedule permitting.



I have a few things that I should really be doing at the moment, but I can't quite bring myself to get started. So writing on this blog seems to be a good excuse.

England failed in its bid to host the World Cup in 2018. This seems to have come as a surprise to the British media that has spent a significant portion of the last three months trying to sabotage the bid by setting up FIFA executives with "sting" operations. The bit that really peeves me is that stings could, at best, be said to prove the possibility of wrong-doing. At worst, they are social engineering tricks that are, as far as I can see, no different to the ways that con artists can persuade otherwise well intentioned people to do odd things. This aspect of the nonsense of the way the British media have ruined our chances will go pretty well unreported. Surprise. Of course, the media will now claim that their pernicious practices shouldn't have affected the vote, but this is self-serving rubbish. Why on Earth would you bring a major sporting event to a country that doesn't appear to want it? Consider it a lesson learned given all the negative griping about the Olympics.
The best commentary that I've seen on the aftermath of the World Cup bid comes from the Blighty blog on The Economist.