I've decided to adopt the training philosophy of 'three weeks hard, one week easy' in an attempt to keep injuries at bay. Because I've increased my mileage and speed over the past three weeks, this was meant to have been an easy week of running that should have let my body rest and recover. The weather gods had something else in mind.
I managed okay on Monday and Wednesday. The wind was blowing at about 15-20mph but, as the runs were meant to be a slow and relaxed pace anyway, I didn't push myself to maintain any particular speed. However, the effort of running into the wind quickly tired my legs on both days and I even felt the first twinges in weeks of my Achilles tendon.
Today, I flew to Shetland, Land of the Perpetual Gale Force Winds. Our department Christmas night out is tonight and, as I would have been coming up for work on Sunday anyway, it seemed like a good idea to arrive early so that I could partake of the festivities. It's been blowing a gale here (of course) for the past week, and ferries and flights were cancelled on the worst days. The winds dropped enough for my flight to get through today, although 50mph cross-winds still made for an interesting landing. I've had plenty of bumpy flights to Shetland, but this is the first time that I thought that the pilot was going to attempt a barrel roll. The right side of the plane dipped by 45 degrees, giving a close-up view of the swell of the sea beneath us. No one screamed (not out loud, anyway).
By the time I got to Lerwick and unpacked, stopped by work to catch up on gossip and finalise plans for transport for tonight, and nipped into Tesco for some groceries, the wind was less severe and the rain had stopped. There even was blue sky to the east. Tomorrow and Sunday are meant to be even windier and rainier than today, and I really didn't want to miss out my long run, so I bundled up and headed out for what was supposed to be an easy five or six mile run.
Except, a mile in, it started to rain. And then the wind picked up. And then it sleeted. And then the sleet turned into very heavy rain. And then the temperature dropped. It wasn't too bad for the first half of the run because the wind was at my back, but when I turned the corner to start the run around Westerloch (which I had planned to do twice), I was running into driving, sleety rain. I couldn't really see because I had to keep my eyes scrunched shut to keep out the needles of sleet, so I kept running through instead of around puddles. My shoes were so wet that their squelchiness sounded like a pair of heaving, gasping lungs. This was so NOT FUN.
I only did one loop of Westerloch and slushed my way back to the flat. My achilles tendon was aching by the end. I was annoyed that I only managed about four miles. I'm exhausted. And I'm worried that I'm really going to struggle with this winter training. I did have a look online to see what other runners have to say about training in the wind and the rain and the snow and the cold, hoping that the consensus would be 'it's okay to stay inside in the warm.' Imagine my dismay to find that the advice is 'stop whingeing and just get out there.'
I'll bet that they don't have to run in Shetland.