Unfortunately so is the dog.
Hence this morning I’m straight up and out of the door at 6am, even though it’s a Saturday and I’d normally have a little more leisurely start.
We avoided any awkward encounters with potential canine love interests, and got to enjoy the first still moments of a perfect spring day.
Most of us are drawn to bodies of water; ponds, lakes, rivers or seas. My grandparents in land-locked Northamptonshire used to drive every weekend to the local reservoir, to walk the dog or sometimes just to sit and watch the water.
Water for me now makes the perfect focal point for a running route. In Cornwall I’ll head for the beach at dawn and there’s nothing like it. In Dubai, I joined other expats for a couple of laps (three if I could manage it) around the Springs lake. My Hampstead Heath routes always pass by the ponds.
Water at dawn holds a special attraction. It’s both calming and stimulating; never the same. And the reflection of sunrise on still water makes the most amazing photos. Another dawn runner kindly sent me this incredible shot of his morning running route in Colwick Country Park near Nottingham.
Colwick Country Park, courtesy of @Darren0310
Last week I smugly ran in 30 degree warmth in Dubai; this morning it was a fairly brutal -6 in London! But, as exclaimed by a rosy-faced early-morning bird watcher who emerged from the trees and made me jump out of my skin, “what a morning!”.
I’m always looking about me for a nice photo when I’m running, but this morning my surroundings were totally absorbing. Everywhere you look is a perfect view.
On a technical note, enjoying a morning like this, and not missing out on a nice, long weekend run because of the ice and snow, means knowing how to run safely in winter conditions. Interestingly, I think it means adopting some of the techniques that I’ve been trying to learn in order to adopt a more minimalist style, in particular taking quick, short, light steps.
This is a pretty impressive example of running on ice! http://completerunning.com/archives/2006/09/30/pose-method-running-on-ice/ The focus here is on ball-of-the-foot-landing and pulling the leg back with the hamstring on each stride, which is exactly what the marvellous Tom Craggs at Perfect Fit Training has been teaching me. What better morning to put it into practice. (And with such cold temperatures first thing, there are less people around to watch!)
Wrap up warm and enjoy your run!
Okay, so after a while perhaps I’d miss Hampstead Heath’s rugged hills and woodlands, and if I was here in the Summer I’d have to become a 4am jogger to beat the 45+ degree daytime heat, but right now this feels very easy to get used to!
Early morning running, Dubai-style
- Early morning running route, Dubai
A perfect, clear winter morning with an unbroken blue sky, and very fitting for the start of a new year. Not unpleasantly or bitingly cold, but just fresh enough to feel almost as though you’re getting a cleansing shower as you run along. It’s difficult not to feel that the cool wind is sloughing off the heavy, sleepy, lazy layers and preparing you for a new start.
I stood at the top of Parliament Hill to catch my breath and looked over at the City for a while, thinking ‘Eugh… I have to be back in that tomorrow!’, but that’s a day away…
- A quiet Christmas moment
A very good friend of mine took up my little challenge to submit a photo from a Christmas morning run. This is her early morning moment of quiet escape. Whatever might be going on in our lives, she and I both agree that nothing beats running for solitary, reflective, mood-changing, contemplative time to ourselves, and a much-needed breath of fresh air.