If runners were honest about it, I imagine a reluctant confession of many would be that winter training is a drag. Dark mornings, dark evenings, a lot of wet, a lot of cold and possibly a few slips. For a lot of people, it’s also usually that time of the year for base training, which effectively means weeks of low-ish mileage, easy uninteresting running sessions and no races, which makes it probably the most boring, even if easier, period of the year for a runner. This is the time when you can feel rather tested as a runner in terms of your commitment – the daily decision to train or not to train. This was not an issue for me at all this morning. On the back of a very long day yesterday and a long night, courtesy of a babysitting favour for my two little cousins, it was after 4am when I finally got around to turning out my bedside lamp last night. I honestly didn’t expect to have the will to get up in time to make the local parkrun for the weekly 9:30am start. To my honest surprise (it is possible to surprise yourself, right?), when the alarm clock went off at 9:05am, I looked out the window at the most beautiful of crisp winter mornings and felt this sudden impulse to just throw on my gear, grab my headphones and get down to the race a.s.a.p. This is a rare occurrence for me as I do find it hard most mornings to tear myself out of the bedclothes. But what a morning, saying no was not an option.
The parkrun setup is fantastic and frankly I can’t say enough about how good it is. Entirely free, run by local volunteers, always on time every week and complete with an accurately measured course, a decent warm-up en-masse and a cheery group to welcome you over the finish line with tea, coffee and water at the end to complement the whole experience. My local parkrun is in Naas at the racecourse and the volunteers there are worthy of medals themselves – their utter professionalism and reliability as organisers together with their absolute kindness and genuine enthusiasm elevate the race far above just a run around the racetrack into a weekly hobby that is fun and enjoyable for everyone. It’s great to see so many young children, buggies, beginners and one-and-all getting out early on a Saturday morning starting the weekend the healthy way, particularly when you hear so much about nowadays about the rising rates of obesity in children and adults alike.
I love positivity and the parkrun is allllllllll about the positivity. Needless to say, by the time I reached the finish line, the winter blues had been well and truly banished. Feeling fly about myself by 10am on a saturday morning,I doubt I was the only one there this morning who believes that this has got to be one of the best ways to start off any weekend. So go on, go get you some winter, because winter running isn’t something you HAVE to do, it’s something you GET to do.
Big evening planned for George R.R Martin’s Feast for Crows to rest up for more fun and adventures tomorrow, hopefully.