10 Weeks to go: Winter is Coming.

My wife went on a 50 mile bike ride on Saturday morning – the Perthshire Highland Challenge, I think.  It wasn’t that hilly, so highland might be a bit of a stretch, but it’s always challenging riding around the lumpy bits of Perthshire.  She had a lovely morning for it – sunny, dry, not much wind, and warm too.   We met a friend in TESCO today: “You’re a keen cyclist, aren’t you?” she asked; “I’m fair-weather keen” was the response.

I think we can all sympathise with the fair-weather approach to training.  It’s lovely to be out riding a bike up cols in Provence, running along the beach in St Tropez, swimming laps in an open air pool in Brisbane; but when the weather becomes a little more…. Scottish, sometimes anything seems like a better idea than going out for a run.

Monday this week was the day after the Forfar 10k, so a recovery day.  So much so I didn’t even run – missing out on my usual highlight run with son #1, round Rossie Priory.  He was out with his pals anyway, so I was able to sit on the turbo in the Man Cave, and spin out my legs for 30 minutes.  Seems a shame to not go out in the Summer, but it was raining, I can watch Netflix while I sit on the turbo, and miles is miles.  Then 30 mins of Sqwaaaaaaaaats.

Tuesday.  On call, didn’t leave work until nearly 7, late home, tea with the family (cooked by child #2, what is the world coming to?) and then out for an easy 7k, or so.  Got out at 8:15pm.  Getting dark.  Straight back in to get the head torch.  First head torch run of the year – it’s August, and I’ve got the head torch out.  Winter.  Is.  Coming.

Wednesday.  The key session for improving pace, recovery from changes in pace, ability to cope with, and clear, lactate, is intervals.  Hilly intervals are probably best.  My weekly interval session this week was a pickup pyramid: 2x 30secs sprints with 30 sec recovery; 2x 45secs, 45 secs recovery; 2x 60 secs, 60 secs recovery; 1x 90 secs, 90 secs recovery; then back down the pyramid again, to reach the 30 second intervals.  Bookend with 20 minutes warm up and cool down, and it’s nearly 12k of this:

Thursday, day off.  Got to have the odd day off.  I think overtraining is something I’ve been guilty of in the past.  The body has to recover at some point.  And I’ve been on call all week, so a day off from training was most welcome.

Friday- early morning turbo.  Just 30 minutes of easy spin.  Watched a bit of Preacher or Amazon Prime – that show is bonkers.  The training plan suggested a second 30 minute spin in the evening.  Dominos came out the victor in that dilemma.

Saturday is parkrun day, every week, so matter where we are.  This week I was run director, so no actual parkrun for me.  Rather, I did the recce run round the course, then extended the run for another 5k by running round Camperdown park.  I’ve not run round the whole park many times before – it’s a bit of a slog up the right side, up to Muirhead, but the run down Gourdie Brae is grand.  Strange how one gets used to seeing one version of a run – doing some of the parkrun route backward was like being in a completely different park.

The plan for today was to do the Perth 10k.  It’s flat, much flatter than Forfar, so should afford the chance to do some speedy running.  But the weather.  Today was not fair weather.  Rain, mainly, and a bit of wind.  But mostly rain.  I have to admit to standing at my window this morning at 08:30 thinking: “I did a decent time at Forfar, I don’t need to prove anything to anyone, I’ve got that Silver standard, I could just go back to bed, have a recovery snooze, get up later, go for a longer run  that’s good marathon prep….”.  I got in the car and went to the race.  We are, after all, waterproof.

The course at Perth is round he North Inch (Grass), along the river (path), around a bit of housing estate (pavement, bit of road), back to the river (grass), and back to the start (path, then grass).  It was pretty wet, but once you’re running, you’re sweaty, wet, and warm, so off we went.

I forgot to stop my watch as I went over the line – my chip time was 38:46 for the 10k, 27 seconds quicker than my official time from Forfar 7 days ago.  I was 12th overall, 6th MV40, and first Dundee Road Runner (Although there were only 4 of us doing it, as many were up in Aberdeen doing the Great Aberdeen Run Half Marathon).

It’s nice to run in the warm, but it’s not essential, and we can do great times, and get a lot out of our running when it’s cold, wet and miserable.  There’s 10 weeks to go until the New York Marathon.  I doubt there’ll be a lot of lovely sunny days to train in; I suspect there’ll be a lot of wet cold runs to do between now and race day.  But we’re waterproof.  And there’s no such thing as adverse weather conditions, only poor clothing choices, it has been said.

So far this year:


139 runs

94 hours

10, 693m elevation gain

Next week: when to get new running shoes, and what to get????