The snow has melted and daffodils are beginning to sprout in my garden. My running outfits this week have involved a vest and sunglasses and this pleases me greatly. Winter running has been officially been giving me the hump. For my last few runs it has been warm enough to walk to where I want to start running, avoiding awkward lumpy pavements and obstructive pedestrians. I haven’t had to set off running too fast just to get the blood into my fingertips. It may sound like a little detail, but I have been investing so much time and energy into this that anything that makes it a little easier makes my life a whole lot better. Soon it will be warm enough for me to get on a train and do my long runs away from Walthamstow, and I can’t wait. A big part of the enjoyment of running for me is exploring new places and enjoying the outdoors. My usual route of Tottenham Marshes – Walthamstow Marshes – Hackney Marshes – Olympic Park – 158 bus (or some variation on that theme) is lovely, but there is only so many times you can run the same route without going nuts. The last two summers I have run along the Thames Park, in Richmond Path, along the Thames estuary from Shoeburyness to Leigh-on-Sea and from Brighton to Worthing, amongst others, and I will be revisiting some of these and some new places as soon as it’s warm enough.
My other exciting news is that I have new running shoes! They are Altra Provisions and they are quite strange, as they have a zero drop but are also designed for stability and are quite supportive. They are a bit bigger and heavier than I am used to but very comfortable and springy and from a highly scientific test of running across the Wetlands and back in them and doing some intervals in Higham Hill Park I have concluded that I definitely run faster in them than in my old shoes. I nearly did not have these shoes as the highly professional DPD delivery person decided to leave them in my “front porch” despite the fact that a) I live in a block of flats, so there is no “porch”, just a communal hallway b) this is the arse end of Walthamstow so said hallway is full of marauding scrotes and anything left unattended will disappear like a hot potato. However, there was a happy ending, as several hours after my shoes were delivered to the “porch”, they appeared outside my door in their box, missing the outer wrapping. I suspect someone had nicked them, not been impressed with my fashion sense, and decided to put them back where they belonged.
The final thing that I have to write about today is that I have decided to change my target time for the Brighton Marathon from 5:30 to 6 hours (or, from 7:50 per km to 8:30). (Ideally, 5:59!) From my recent long run times, I think 5:30 is too fast for me, and that I will enjoy the marathon more if I allow myself to walk some of it. A six hour finish means walking less than a quarter of it and running the rest at a middling pace, and I think this is far more achievable for an overworked old crock like me. This decision has been quite a weight off my mind.