If you hadn't noticed, its now officially Autumn and some may even say, it's winter!
Looking out the window the past couple of days I would almost believe it was winter, it's been blowing a gale or chucking it down with rain or if you're really unlucky, both at the same time.
I'm not a huge fan of this time of year for running, unless it's one of those rare days when there isn't a breath of wind and the sun is just setting or rising. Those runs are brilliant but 9/10 times, it's wet and windy and I just can't get motivated to get my kit on and head out in to it.
Obviously I don't want to miss too many runs because my man suit isn't zipped up, so what is the solution?
My answer is, get out running with others.
You are more likely to go out for a run if there are others waiting for you, willing to head out in the weather and get a good session under their belts. More likely than you are if it's just you on your Jack Jones.
I tried treadmill running the other night and hated it even more than going out in the wind and rain! Don't think I will be doing that too often this year, maybe if it's icy but that may be the only reason. The gym was hot, sweaty and I struggled to run a pace which is usually a very comfortable pace for me!
Last night is a prime example of what happens when you're going out on your own with no clear plan, the weather was horrid, the streets were busy because there was a football match on and I didn't have a route planned, this resulted in me staying at home and playing Minecraft on my PC (Sad? Geeky? I don't care! - it was warmer than going out in the rain!).
Tonight however is different, looking out the window just now it's once again, raining, blowing and generally looking horrid but I'm going to head to the Meadows and meet up with the Edinburgh AC squad. No excuses!
I think the darkness makes the weather seem worse as well. I have had some pretty horrid runs during the summer but it was warmer and it was brighter so it didn't seem so bad.
The last 4 weeks have seen me out racing in some shape or form, it started with the Great Scottish Run Half marathon, followed by 3 weeks of cross country and this weekend is no different. I've been really pleased with my times this year, I've ran faster and more consistent than any previous year. This weekend is Lasswade which is 6 miles of cross country racing. It's a new route as well which I'm looking forward to, will get there early so I can walk the course to find out how they have changed it.
I've been racing in spikes for the first time as well and I think they have made a huge different. They are lighter for a start but on any incline I feel I have more grip which is good. I've not used my 9mm spikes yet, each race has been 11mm and they have done me fine. Not that sure when I would use 9mm to be honest, maybe if the ground was hard with ice?
I am still surprised by the lack of road runners who compete at cross country. At local races I tend to recognise the regulars, those who I am similar pace with and who I will be racing against but at XC races, it seems to be more track runners and the regulars are missing. This makes it more difficult to work out how you are placing and I tend to just run my own race, maybe look at my Garmin for the first mile as to ensure I'm not going to die by the second half of the race, but after that, I just run hard and see how I fair.
An example of this was at Stirling. Just short of 6 miles, 3 laps of the course and the first glance at my watch told me I was going off too fast, 5:20min/mi pace clocked up on my Garmin. I quickly pulled the brakes on and settled in to a low 6min/mi pace. Some may think I should have just gone with the 5min/mi pace and see what happens but I can tell you what would have happened. I wouldn't have finished the race or if I did, it would have been much slower than I did. The reason? I know I can't hold 5:20 for 6 miles on the road, add lots of mud, hills, soft ground and there is no chance my legs would carry me to the end.
With the way things are going with my Autumn training I am hopeful that next year's road races will be fast! Maybe a year of PB's like 2011, who knows! After Lasswade I have another weekend with a race and it's Glen Clova half marathon, this race will be very weather dependant, if it's windy it will be brutal, if it's not, it could be a PB! We will see!
Will maybe write a short blog after training tonight - another motivator to get me out in the rain and wind!!