Winter races are a new thing for me. My modus operandi up until this year has typically been to cease all things organised when it comes to running after the Dublin Marathon on the last weekend of October. Thereafter, winter has generally been a potluck of swimming, cycling, the occasional easy run and maybe a bit of pole dancing (class-based, you understand 😉 ), with proper running starting back in or around February. But last year I didn’t feel the need for such a long break from running and after 3 weeks of recovery, I was back running regularly with a goal to complete a 16 mile run on Christmas Day as a sort of DIY Christmas morning running “event”. This year, whilst keeping a close watch on how the body feels, I plan to do likewise and gradually build up the mileage towards Christmas weekend.
I digress. I don’t usually run any races during the winter. 3 reasons (because 3 is a nice rounded number. Also fairytale-esque and magical 😉 There were 3 little pigs. Need I say more?)
1. My head needs a proper break away from training schedules, races and all things running. I love marathon training and the race itself but I get a little obsessed so the break is good for my mental well-being, as well as that of those around me!
2. My body needs a rest and time to recover properly from the demands of marathon training and the race itself and I DO NOT WANT to get injured.
3. There are hardly any races on over the winter months. Most of the races that are going on are 5km and I can do that for free, down the road, every Saturday at Parkrun. Not that bothered to be honest.
However, as I said, in the last 2 years, I haven’t felt the need, mentally or physically, to take such a long break from running. Maybe it’s because I didn’t put myself under any time/goal pressures this year and didn’t really stress at all about running but rather just did it for pleasure and enjoyment. Or maybe my body is adjusting… I don’t have the answer. Keeping in mind all of the above points, I hope to do a little more over the winter months just for fun, to experiment. After all, Columbus didn’t discover the Americas by not sailing the Atlantic.
So, I did the Clontarf 5 Mile race at the weekend along the Dublin seafront with my Mum and our friend (from Parkrun) Sinead. Godmother also intended to join us but was sidelined at the last minute due to injury. Sinead had also intended running the half-marathon option on the day but with her own ongoing injury concerns, she decided that the 5 mile would be enough. It was the most beautiful November day, with a blue sky and bright sun, though it most definitely felt like winter with cold temperatures and a sharp icy wind to remind you not to get to comfortable. It wasn’t raining. I was happy 🙂
I had done a decent 7 mile run on Friday and had an 8 mile run pencilled in for Sunday so I wasn’t planning on racing the 5 mile, but rather just run easy and take in the picturesque boardwalk views across Dublin bay. I finished the 5 miles in 43:47, running a fairly even pace throughout and more importantly, it felt nice and easy and I was able to enjoy it. Mum and Sinead ran together and finished in 52.42, which was brilliant for both of them as my Mum hasn’t run that long, non-stop, for months and Sinead also struggled due to her nagging injury.
After picking up the obligatory banana and bottle of water, we headed to Insomnia for coffee and a mince pie before making for home and a hot shower. It was a very enjoyable morning and a good event.
I’ve no more races scheduled for the remainder of the winter but as I’m feeling adventurous, bold and in the mood to say YES to new things (thank you Shonda Rhimes)… I’ve been eyeing up some cross-country races due to take place over the next few months. New territory right here.
But then, maybe cross-country is my America.
Do you continue to race over the winter months?
Have you any races or runs scheduled for Christmas or December?