Injury check: Only standard aches.
I planned a lovely route out yesterday. It would take us along a riverside footpath that's also part of the national cycle network - therefore off-road but still ok for a bike - and would be a nice 7.5 miles out and back to complete my planned 15 miles.
Then the snow happened.
Remember when I thought running in the snow was fun? Yeah, it's less fun when the marathon is only a month away and you really need to be racking up the miles regardless of the weather. Besides which, if I wasn't training I could be properly enjoying the snow by, say, making snowmen.
Anyway, I re-mapped my route and plotted out a 5.3 mile loop from my doorstep, with a plan to complete it three times. I picked a route that meant I'd never be more than about 1 mile (direct) from my flat, so if it all got too much I could cut the run short at any point and just make a break for home.
Unfortunately my support crew couldn't join me today. Road bike + road tyres do not go well with 2 inches of snow! But I am (currently) a runner, therefore I must run. So, in the snow and the ice, and the sub-zero temperatures, I set out. Well wrapped up, of course:
1. Hat. Nice, neon-bright yellow running hat. Essential in these temperatures.
2. Neck warmer. Originally purchased for a snowboarding holiday, I never imagined I'd be re-purposing it for running in the snow.
3. Top layer: lightweight jacket, very useful in keeping the wind off. Under layer: long-sleeved running top.
4. Phone holder. With a £10 note tucked inside, just in case I needed a ride home.
5. Gloves. Also great for taking the worst of the chill out of the biting wind. These are smart gloves, with clever tips in the index fingers so I can still use a smartphone screen when I'm wearing them.
6. Watch. For timekeeping.
7. Map. Don't judge me. I planned this route meticulously and a paper scribble wrapped around my forearm is much easier to look at than a phone screen strapped to my bicep.
8. Pace band. Fairly academic today, really.
9. Belt to carry my energy gels in.
10. Jogging bottoms, over the top of my running tights. I usually don't run in trousers but layers was the key word of the day.
I was under no illusions that I'd be able to keep to a pace today - hence the achingly slow time. I ran on the roads where I could, and in the slightly deeper snow when it was there, but I was jogging fairly slowly over a large amount of the route, and walking some portions of it, just because the footing wasn't particularly good. I was more than willing to sacrifice a good time today in preference for not injuring myself, especially as I began to tire. I walked the final half mile of the last loop because the snow and slush underfoot was starting to get icy.
But, even though I had the option of cutting today short each time I returned to my flat, I covered the whole 15 miles. I am over the moon with that, especially as I actually feel ok right now.
My body is definitely getting more used to putting in this amount of exercise without demanding that I suffer too much afterwards. To be fair, I'm also getting much more used to how I'll feel after this amount of exercise and what I should be doing to recover: in my case, this includes cold drinks, hot drinks, chocolate, crisps and then decent food.
I've also completely given up on the idea of cold/ice baths, because I just can't sit in one for more than a few minutes and I haven't seen that produce any benefits! A hot bath is calling me tonight. And I have totally earned it.