Running in the winter is a tricky pursuit. There’s a few safety aspects of running in the dark – you never know who’s lurking around the next dark corner; a safety aspect of icy paths or, as we have at the moment, paths covered in wet, slippery leaves; but also getting out in the elements.
Safety is always first – I never run where I can’t see, or too close to the river in the dark. Basically, if it doesn’t feel completely safe – don’t bother with it. Nor do I carry anything worth mugging me for, if someone really wants a sweaty running top then I guess they could have it…!
The weather is still fairly mild at the moment, so the motivation to go running isn’t too hard to find yet. The other morning it was raining, and I stared glumly out of the window waiting for it to stop before I went out. This is peak autumn running behaviour – there’s no room for attitude like that if I’m to train over the winter.
I recall running a half marathon a few years ago and a couple of days before there was an enormous snowstorm across the country. I’d expected the race to be cancelled as I’m sure similar ones across the country were, but the frequent emails from the organisers all stated that the show would go on, they were working round the clock to ensure we could run.
I wasn’t massively happy. While I’d done my training and got myself to a good level of fitness, the snow outside my window didn’t inspire me to get out there in shorts and a t-shirt and trot round for a couple of hours, taking in the sights of one of our historic cities.
The morning before the race, I went to a local sports shop and bought a thermal top and leggings base layer. I found them constrictive and unflattering, but at least I had something to go under the flimsy PE kit I’d been planning to wear.
The organisers had done a fantastic job of clearing the 13 mile course and while there was still havoc being caused across the country, a couple of thousand runners made their way around the course unhampered by the snow, now piled up at the sides of the roads.
The base layer top has come out a few times since then, not so much the leggings. But now, as I stare outside at a grey cloud passing, perhaps they would bring the psychological boost I need to get going. The top will be even more unflattering and restrictive than it was a few years ago, but I’ll be warm. And perhaps it gives me another goal to achieve – simply fit comfortably into my running gear.