The weather here over the past few weeks has been pretty atrocious. We’ve had snow, hail, rain, more snow, and then some more rain. But the days are getting gradually longer and the sun has finally started to make an appearance. And I’ve realised that, with one thing and another, I’ve only been running once since Christmas.
Following the advice of professional coach and all-round running legend Bruce Tulloh in his excellent book ‘Running is easy’, I’d gradually built up to running forty minutes or so and covering about four miles, so I was making good progress. But with the weather being as it was, and the evenings being so dark, I hadn’t been able to gather the motivation to get my trainers on and get out there.
This is clearly not a positive state of affairs. Sitting at my desk all day working may be good for my bank balance, but it’s definitely not good for my health or my waistline. I decided that I need a little incentive to get myself up and running, as it were. So I decided to enter a race. I thought something about 10km would probably be about right. And if I could find something in May or June, this would give me time to get back in shape.
Two local races fit the bill. First, there’s the Bristol 10k on 5th May. This is a popular and well-known race, bringing together about 12,000 runners of all abilities on a reasonably flat course around the city’s harbourside. There’s tons of support available in terms of training tips and events, and if you finish the race you get a T-shirt and even a medal. And secondly, there’s the Tyntesfield Ten on the 23rd. This is an off road race around the grounds of a local stately home and attracts a field of about 400. No T-shirt, no medal – nobody’s even really sure how long the course is.
Despite the two races being almost polar opposites, I couldn’t decide which one I wanted to try. So I have (perhaps rather rashly) entered both. Which means that I am going to have to get a little bit fitter, a little bit faster and a whole lot more organised. I’m going to have to develop a training plan to get me from here (tired bloke slumped over a desk) to there (muscular athletic bloke gliding effortlessly across the countryside). And I am most definitely going to have to stop getting put off by a little bit of rain.