Wolf packs, polar bears and cold winter running


The Cancer Research Winter Run on the streets of Central London yesterday

Ha, so what was I saying last week about the wonders of technology? Should have listened to my own advice and actually looked at that wonder of modern technology, the watch. I ran yesterday's Cancer Research Winter 10k without looking at it once. I like doing this: you can run entirely on feel. And the feel yesterday was "good grief this is a bit nippy". Now I know minus 2 is nothing compared to the temperatures in Chicago for the last week, or plenty of other cold spots, but minus 2 in Trafalgar Square is pretty cold for racing - and indeed for Central London generally.

So I found it a bit of a struggle to get my legs going, and by the time I was locked into a pace, there didn't seem much point checking on how much slower than I'd like it was. I did think I'd probably check at halfway, but I didn't. Then I thought I'd check at 9k, to see if I could scrape under 40 minutes, but I missed the 9k marker. The result? 40:02. Ooops. Oh well, another sub 40 would be nice but it's all relative: that's a good 90 seconds slower than my time for the same race last year, so still got some work to do.

At any rate, I do really love this race. I mean, they call it the Winter Run so you can hardly complain about the temperature. And you get a lovely spinny medal and warming hugs from polar bears, plus malt loaf. And how often do you get to run in the most central bits of Central London - round St Paul's Cathedral and up and down the Strand - on closed roads with wolves cheering (possibly howling) you on.

Mind you, I definitely needed that malt loaf, after running home afterwards to round up to just over 17 miles for the day. Having already had some impressively ouchy DOMs from a Thursday PT session, I think my DOMs now have DOMs of their own.

So how was your weekend running? Lots of races got cancelled in the UK this weekend due to icy roads - presumably even more in the States. Anyone else been retreating to the treadmill? I've done more treadmill runs in the last 10 days or so than the entire previous year. I think it's just the joy of being able to get properly hot, and wear vest and shorts. You can almost, if you close your eyes, pretend that it's summer, right?

Comments

  1. I 'finally' had a good weekend running, with the Cardiff Winter Warmer 10k on Sunday. I wasn't expecting much of myself as I've had a chest infection for most of January, but my slow steady build approach must be paying off as I hit a PR of -2.28 down from my last 10k race in September. I'm very pleased, and i think that my year's goal of a sub 1hr 10k is probably achievable in the long term.

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    1. That's a great chunk off, very well done!

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    2. How much more to go Violet? 2 minutes + off is huge.

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    3. An alarming amount still to go, I'm on 1:7:42 but I still feel like I'm learning to run. I started in July and couldn't run 4 miles so some significant progress!

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    4. Super stuff, you'll have a good crack at an hour by the end of autumn if you stay consistent.

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    5. Thanks Handsome Devil! I had a nice PR 5k during my lunchtime four miles today, racking them up at the moment :D

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  2. My first brick session (binge to run) was on the day it decided to snow. So being sensible I did the bike part on my turbo trainer in the garage. Many of you comment on your dread of the treadmill, but let me tell you 75 minutes on a turbo trainer is excruciating! Them on with my super grippy innov-8's and out for a 30 minute run on a snowy trail. It was lovely!

    I wasn't so smart on Friday when I had an 80minute run. I thought the roads and paths would be clear so it put on my no grip Mizuno's. Wrong decision, there was lots of slippy ice, though it did make me run nice and slow.
    The swimming and cycling is going well at the moment as well. It's a nice place to be!

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    1. Bike to run. Though the amount I'm eating, the first description could be more appropriate!

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    2. I wondered if it was some kind of specialist tri phrase Pete!

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    3. That got me thinking ruby.... a cake triathlon! Start with various types of sponge cake, then onto an array of cheesecakes and gallop to the finish line consuming a selection of fruit cakes! It might be difficult, but with training I'm sure it would be fun!

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  3. I had an efficient running week last week, logging almost 100 km in just four runs. The standout run was Saturday's when I did 37 km, about 27 km of which was through fresh, shin-deep snow and freezing temperatures up in the Chilterns and along the Ridgeway. Let me tell you it was very difficult indeed, with any kind of forwards momentum a colossal achievement in places. I was absolutely spent at the end of it and my legs were convinced I'd done double the distance. The recovery pint, fish finger butty and warm log fire in a pub at the end of the run was much deserved!

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    1. I rate the fish finger butty very high up on the best post long run meal list!

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    2. Fish finger butty, beer and a roaring fire sounds like the most perfect place in existence.

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    3. I could have spent the rest of the afternoon in there, Ruby!

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    4. That's some epic running Mark! I'd have been anxious of uneven surfaces underneath the snow and rolling an ankle or worse. Shame it was only a black cat and some wolves who were epic at Goodison Park.

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    5. Pete - I loved the commentary of the cat on the pitch, it was hilarious! ..."and he's just gone wide"

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    6. Yup, that was the fear, Pete. However, I try not to let things like that worry me. I'd never leave the house if they did! And as for our lot, it was a case of felines, lupines and us going to the canines! It's like the dark days of Martinez in his third season.

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  4. I feel a bit ashamed following Mark's 100km with my 5km....Yes. Just parkrun for me. Luckily it was not cancelled, but the snow and ice did make for more careful running. I think that might be why I finished further up the field than usual. Approach shoes pretending to be running shoes gave me quite a good grip. This meant I did not slow down as much as some.

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  5. My mood has gone from happy clappy life is wonderful to all the swears. I had a nice easy 6-miler lined up on Friday, so decided to do it in the hour my kids swim at 6pm, instead of taking up the last-minute offer from a friend to join her in the daylight. I'd had a couple of good speed sessions in the week and a good long run lined up for Sunday so there I was feeling all cheerful and optimistic about my come-back from injury, how sensible I'd been, how on track I was for Brighton, how much I was actually looking forward to my long runs over the weeks.

    Last time I was feeling this good about my training I fell over and took a chunk out of my knee. Obviously I'd not learned anything - this time I put my foot down on a random great rock lying in the middle of the pavement. It turned under me, took my ankle with it and in an instant I knew that training for Brighton was over. I sat on a nearby wall with my head in my hands, and a lovely woman I'd run past earlier hurled the rock into the bushes and sat with me until the pain had subsided enough for me to limp back to the pool. I took off my shoe to find a very strangely-shaped swollen ankle and panicked enough to decide that a wait in A&E was worthwhile.

    To cut a long boring story short it isn't broken, but there's definitely ligament damage. I don't need to tell you all how crap I feel - you've all been there. But Brighton is off the agenda and I'm trying to 'think positive' [sick emoji] when all I really want to do is rant and rave at the unfairness of not placing my foot half an inch to the left on that corner. Random stupid running accidents are the worst.

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    1. So sorry to hear about that stupid bloody rock!

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    2. Gutted for you, that truly sucks, speedy recovery and all that...

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    3. Oh no, so sorry to hear that. Totally with you on random stupid running accidents being the worst. Hope that you make a strong recovery once the swelling has gone done.

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    5. Try again.....Random rocks, a bit like random logs are a right pain in the (whatever bit of your body gets injured - insert appropriate area as required)

      Best wishes for a speedy recovery

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    6. Very sorry to hear that, get well soon.

      But better now than in 10 weeks...

      Have a chunk of consolation eating and boozing, strengthen the body parts you can strengthen and come back better in autumn!

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    7. The random accidents really are the hardest to accept. At the very least with an over-use injury you can apply logic. When I broke my toe after tripping over the cat, 2 weeks before Yorkshire, I was literally hopping mad! Like you Ruby, I kept replaying the manoeuvre with me doing something ever so slightly differently, or 5 minutes later, the injustice of it was massive. Wishing you a very speedy recovery.

      Incidentally I mentioned you to my physio today who reckons you should be back to normal in 4 weeks. He's currently doing his masters in ankles (if you know what I mean)! Does this tally with what you've been told?

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    8. @kyd cats, rocks - curse the bloody lot of them! I wish I had access to your ankle master physio! Although yes, mine has said similar - she reckons I'll probably be back doing something gentle in two weeks, back up to proper runs at around 4. But sadly four doesn't give me enough time to then build up again for Brighton.

      @HD - I suppose you're right. Although at least that way I'd be marathon fit. This way I just feel massively frustrated at not getting marathon fit! Coming back better in autumn is the plan - Chester, Dublin... there's some good ones out there. The other upside is that I'll have had a big birthday by then, so could potentially, POTENTIALLY go down the good for age route...

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    9. And thanks for the sympathy everyone else, it's much appreciated. Bruising is quite spectacular today!

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    10. Bad luck Ruby - feel for you - you were looking so strong in your comeback as well... Is it the same ankle as the one you injured recently?

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    11. Ack, that's just awful. I'm sorry you've had to shelve the marathon training for now, but look forward to reading about your exploits when you're able to get back to it! Hope you heal up well!

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    12. Oh no! I'm devastated for you, Ruby. The move up an age bracket with a slightly later marathon is an excellent silver lining focus though. Hope you can focus your thoughts there and forget that awful rock.

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    13. @PaulNewton - yep, same ankle as before. Although it was strong and pain-free, I guess it didn't have the strength to withstand the rock. To be fair, I think anyone would have had the same result if they'd landed on it, previous injury or not.

      @Brussels I'm still not quite able to be as positive as I'd like, but when I am ready that will definitely be my silver lining!

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    14. Pick your autumn marathon and you'll get a cheering squad ruby. Me at Chester or MRM at Dublin!

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  6. Pretty solid week 4/16 of marathon training for me, not quite as many miles as i would have liked but still hit over fifty including the coldest/wettest then snowiest track session ever on Tuesday night. Highlight was the 18 miler yesterday holding a consistent 7:45 mile pace and feeling strong at the end.

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  7. No treadmill for me yet - needs to be more snow on the ground or much colder. Parkrun sandwich on the weekend managing a half slippy/half wet course for a sub-18 in road shoes. Followed by my longest run since October on Sunday, 18 miles in -3C temps. wearing everything. Made an error a mile and a half from home, taking my gloves off to stop my watch at some traffic lights and not bothering to put them on again. The first thing I did when I stopped outside my house was put on the outermost (of three pairs of) gloves on my hands while I waited for the HRM to check my recovery.

    Marathon training officially starts for me today - I think it's 12 weeks until London - right? Start off with a couple of recovery runs :-)

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    1. You're already doing 18 miles and haven't even started official marathon training?!

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    2. Brussels, this man can commute a marathon in a day!

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    3. @kyd that does require a couple of recovery days afterwards, not entirely sure it's that fun to do in the winter either. It may be good for the mental endurance side of things though.

      @Brussels - I have to get up to the right sort of mileage and length of long run before I start the plan - as week one is about 82 miles with a fast finish 17 miler on the weekend. I guess the weeks before are an unofficial ramping up to the appropriate volume.

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  8. Sounds a lovely run, had a mate from here who did it too and she was very impressed.

    I had my first outside run of the year yesterday after a month on the treadmill. I don't mind it for speed sessions but trying to do everything on it was hard going...especially since the conditions were too far the other way, I looked like I'd been swimming when I'd finished and could wring out shirt, shorts and pants, when I still bothered wearing them.

    Anyway, taper week for me before Barcelona HM and enjoying the classic dilemma of whether to go out conservatively(ish) or at death or glory pace. Lovely.

    Excitement is also growing for the World Cross Country in a couple of months...the marketing this year has been excellent and it's brilliant to follow the various countries running their qualis. The Amis had theirs on Saturday with some impressive packing at the top on both the men's and women's side. The girls in particular could be a team threat in Denmark and I bet Laura Muir's next intervals have a bit of extra zip in them after Houlihan's performance.

    Hat-tip to Melissa Courtney too when I'm handing out the kudos and hope everyone who can still get out and about is enjoying it.

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  9. The weather has been really variable lately, either perfectly ideal crisp blue sky and sun (and cold!) or dismal, miserable and wet. I prefer running in the cold, but it really doesn’t lend itself well to standing around in starting pens for a race!

    I’ve had a strange week, after being out on an 11k run on Tuesday lunchtime, I was flying back (a bit like Ruby) thinking smugly about how good and strong my running is finally feeling again, when …pop went my calf 500m from work. It felt catastrophic, stopped me in my tracks and had to limp back. I was distraught, it felt like a good month or more off, I’ve never experienced a popping before, although I’ve heard of it happening in various muscles.

    I made an appointment that very afternoon with a physio, convinced it was going to be the start of a long and expensive relationship. Thankfully I was put out of my misery fairly quickly, no burning, no bruising, no tear only a grade 2 strain and he’d have me running through my rehab. I was in love. Since seeing him I’ve been allowed 3 runs, went to see him today and all’s going well so just a slight reduction in overall volume and nothing too speedy. I really feel like I’ve dodged a bullet! I do seem to be prone to injury, my marathon cycles usually end up with one. 80k weeks consistently with more than an 80/20 split and I’m vulnerable.

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    1. He sounds like a keeper! So glad it wasn't as bad as it seemed.

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  10. 9 weeks into Marathon training and a 10K race sounds absolutely lovely. Heavy weekend, usual Friday tempo run was pushed back to Saturday because of the snow, so I ended up with 13K on Saturday and 32K on Sunday, and the last 5K of those I really felt. Hoping it's due to the tired legs anyway, as the thought of doing another 10K after that really didn't appeal at the time. Still plenty of training to go, but it was the first time I've thought "Christ, this is a long way to run" and that was a fair bit off target MP.

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  11. I am so thankful that the deep freeze up here broke before Sunday. I was treated to perfect long run weather: from -1 to +1 C, very little wind, and the sun emerging over my final miles. This was my longest run ever at 18 miles and I was even more thankful to have company the whole way. A friend joined me early to get 3 miles in before the club run meeting time, and I made a new friend at the start who stuck with me for the whole of the next 15! He kept a good pace too, so I got it all done in just over 2.5 hours. Very pleased with that, and particularly that I am still feeling pretty good 24 hours later. Albeit a tad hungover after watching the Super bowl last night ;)

    In contrast, yes, I did run on Thursday when temperatures were well below zero and the "feels like" figure even more terrifying. I got a perverse enjoyment out of it! The day before I'd been restricted to the treadmill since not only had the temperatures plummeted, but any flat surface where I might have done my 800m reps was covered in snow (and probably layers of ice as well). I did enjoy not having to worry that my fingers would be too numb to press the "lap" button. Plus, I got my registration in via my mobile for the Brooklyn half marathon during one of my recoveries!

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    1. You've had a great range in temperatures in the last month Brussels! It's been interesting seeing how you Nicola have coped with the big drop in temperatures. That was a great long run, and nice to do with company! Being in upstate NY I can't get my head around the idea you would be cheering on the Patriots, but hopeie you enjoyed your super bowl party anyway!

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  12. Hello all. My running distance was down a bit this week after a biggy the week before and I didn't have a swim due to a lingering cold so I feel like I've missed out. I've been really enjoying getting out there recently as reported last week, however, on Saturday morning I had that feeling of standing on a drawing pin so did no weekend running. The dreaded Plantar Fasciitis is rearing it's ugly heel again so I am forcing myself off the road and will probably cross train this week. I think the PF is a result of longer distances in the cold and not stretching properly afterwards as my calves and hamstrings have been particularly tight.

    In positive news Mrs GJ and daughter have both finished week 4 of C25K and my LFF (little fat friend) did a 20k in training for our Anglesey HM adventure.

    Ruby GG, sorry to hear of your woes. Happy running, everyone who can..

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    1. Check out the video the running channel put together about post-run stretching. It's on you tube. The exercises are really good and have helped me a lot recently!

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    2. Thanks Pete, I didn't find the ones you were talking about but I did find running stretches on Yoga with Adriene and that has helped a lot. I'll dip back into the running channel to take another look as a good work-avoidance tactic. Today's run was pain free after a few days' rest, orthotic insoles and lots of stretching.

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  13. Well, I had a better running week than last week. A couple of good speed workouts after fighting off an early week cold, and finished the week at nearly 70k despite lots of travel.

    Can’t believe marathon season is so close... feels like it should be miles away still. Aargh!

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    1. Yes, I was surprised at the amount of people on my Strava feed who did runs over the weekend of 15-22miles. I found myself thinking the same as you.

      Hopefully, you'll be fighting fit from now to the big day!

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  14. As a hostage of the Polar Vortex, I found myself running a trail race on snow and ice on Saturday. I went out very, very conservatively because I didn't want to end up like Michael Schumacher. The snow was deep enough to cover some of the roots and rocks and sometimes you found yourself running on a frozen creek. It was an out-and-back so, being somewhat familiar with the trail, I picked up the pace on the way home but was still cautious. Ice is a great equalizer.

    I enjoyed the experience, telling myself along the way that this is winter and the trail couldn't have been more wintry. But I was frustrated by the conservative pace and wasn't willing to take stupid risks.

    And then Sunday it was 20+C and I was running outside in the mud in a t-shirt. A few days of this warm air and then back to a freeze - this seems to be the pattern now. Next weekend, I'm in Calgary where it promises to be -22C or worse. More treadmill, that means.

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