A refreshing New Year run under an unbroken blue sky

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…

Early morning flat white

The bleakest autumn mornings have their own artistic beauty.  The early light has been flat and white every day recently, and today was a perfect example.  Wreathed in mist, the trees took on a feathery quality and the landscape was as shades of black ink on a grey wash.

The barest outline of the sun is visible above the trees through morning cloud.

A mosaic of green and gold in an otherwise monochrome scene.  I liked the contrast between the stark, black branches set against a white sky and the dapple of autumn colour.

Making sense of modern life

I’m writing this on an early morning train from London to Birmingham.  The train is passing the misty Buckinghamshire greenbelt and, just a moment ago, a man standing in the middle of a field.

He isn’t running, and neither am I, so technically he doesn’t belong in my early morning running blog.  It would have made an amazing photo though, and the image struck me for the same reason that I’m inspired by early morning running.

The field is a very ordinary, flat, featureless, open expanse.  At a distance, in all directions, are housing estates and small communities, and he might have walked early this morning from any one of them. 

Within his house, wherever it is and whatever his life is, there are dramas and crises and challenges and stresses and elations and disappointments and relationships and hopes and fears and dreams, and there will be a whole set more at his office.

But just for a moment, there’s open space and sky and grass and fresh morning air and November mist and silence (shattered briefly by the passing 07.43 to Birmingham).

The above with thanks to Rich Gibbs Photography http://www.richgibbs.co.uk/index.html because I don’t have my camera and anyway couldn’t take a photo from a speeding train, but I found this image of a misty morning field and it’s very nice 🙂

Early one Sunday…

Okay, not that early.  Not 6am anyway, more like twenty past seven, but most of London was not yet awake.  Or in the case of the man trying fervently to scale a lamppost in Primrose Hill, maybe not yet gone to bed!

I used to be a champion sleeper at the weekends, frequently still fast asleep at 9, 10 or sometimes even 11am.  That was until I started running, and until the person who inspired me to start also showed me how important it is to stick to a good routine at the weekends.

It makes sense.  Our bodies don’t understand that we ascribe five days out of seven to “work”, and then come the other two, throw our regimen out the window.

If you change your routine dramatically at the weekend (stay up late, get up late, stop moving), it’s very difficult to start the new week well.  6am Monday becomes very painful!

That’s not to say that it isn’t important to rest.  (Or occasionally to go crazy, stay up til dawn and try and climb a lamppost in the park.)  Most training and exercise schedules advocate a weekly rest day.  But if you build activity and rest into a good sustainable routine during the week, there’s no need to slump at the weekend.  In fact, I find now that if I “treat” myself to a lazy day and a late start (I tried this yesterday, for the purposes of research!), I feel rubbish!

Plus, if you love early morning running, and I do, then why would you want to stop?