Winter Running | Just Getting Out Running | Ignore the Weather and Run

winter running afternoon logo

winter running in the afternoon landscape

Gazing out of the Window

I was sitting down gazing out of the window wondering whether the weather was about to break. Was it too cold out there? Was it too windy to go running? Would it start snowing? More’s the point I was wondering whether it was too cold, windy, or whether I would get snowed on.

Did I really want to go running or was I putting forward a multitude of excuses that would allow me to gaze out of the window. I had no training routine for any upcoming events or commitments that had to be ticked, and I wasn’t really looking for a personal best. I just wanted to go for a run.  But like a lot of people I was halfway into talking myself into not going running.

Making a Start

I thought I’d make a start. So I rinsed out my running bottle. If the cold water that I used for rinsing was any indicator it was certainly cold out there. Once rinsed out  I filled the bottle and left it on the table. It was staring at my. Daring me to ignore it. It was losing as I passed it on my way back to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. And what’s an afternoon cup of tea without biscuits? Or is that just a British thing?

While the kettle was boiling the water bottle stared me out and I went upstairs and started getting my running kit together. I find that if my running kit is laid out the night before if I want to go on an early morning run I tend to do the run. If I’m silly enough to think I can get my kit ready in the dark mornings while the rest of the house is sleeping then I tend to not make the early morning run. It’s like setting yourself up for failure. Deep down you know that you should have your kit ready but you’re looking for an excuse not to complete.

runner with bandana

Just got back after a cold run

Getting the kit Together

Once I got the kit together I was committed. The kettle turned itself off in a huff as I grabbed my water bottle. Complete with bottle, and my running gloves I was almost out the door. But of course there’s always something when you’re prevaricating. I had to find my running sling for my Iphone. How could I possibly venture out on a cold windy afternoon without being suitably distracted and soothed by my playlist. Of course I had to know organise my playlist.

What should I listen to on a cold afternoon? After scanning through my choices I found some music that seemed neglected. Almost ready and out the door. Was it raining like that earlier I wondered? Probably not. I rolled out my bandana ready for the rain and popped the headphones in and was off.

First few Miles are the Toughest

The first few miles are always the toughest. It was cold and wet. And the higher I ran the colder it got. But it was great. It was fantastic to be out. I didn’t do a long run. I didn’t try for any personal bests or try any different routes.

I just enjoyed the run, the cold, and the wind.  And let’s not forget a cup of tea and biscuits always tastes better after a run.


Deep Work and Deep Thinking While Running | Running from Christmas |

Angel tree decorations

Angel on Christmas Tree

It was time to put the Christmas decorations away

I know what we’re all thinking, wow, that went fast. You’re no sooner getting the ladder out to go to the loft or attic to find the Christmas decorations. Like most, I think, the hardest part about putting the Christmas decorations up is getting to beyond the stage of I’ll get the ladder out tomorrow and then I’ll go up to the loft or attic and bring them down. Of course once you’re suitably tooled up and kitted out with ladder and torch then the fun begins. You can then start looking for the Christmas decorations.

Holly Ivy Spin

Holly and the Ivy Spin

It should be easy

They should all be where you left them last January. All the Christmas decorations should be in nicely labelled boxes just calling out to be liberated and cheerfully festooned. Well, that is in some homes. In mine the Christmas decorations are never where they should be. I wouldn’t mind but it’s invariably me that puts the Christmas decorations away. I’m not going down the conspiracy route but on many a long run, and even more so in the period leading up to Christmas I do wonder about the Christmas decorations and there seemingly magical journeys. By November, when Christmas, is all but upon us I’m keyed up ready to tackle that loft and return triumphantly with the Christmas decorations.

Well this year was no different

I made it to the loft in early December, after much procrastinating, and spent a good while looking for the Christmas decorations. Eventually I remembered that someone was to label the boxes clearly to make location easier. Needless to say this year I am going to label the boxes in large luminous letters if possible.

After an early morning run this week

I realized that I couldn’t put off putting the decorations away. Still in running kit, lest I got sidetracked I got the ladder ready and waiting. No excuses for me about looking for ladders. No I was ready. Well and truly prepared. I would like to say that it was a task I was looking forward to but there’s something slightly sad about putting away Christmas decorations. It’s another year passed. Another year over. It’s like a marker. How many more Christmases will I have? Or mores to the point, how many more times will I have to climb up into a loft to find Christmas decorations that don’t wish to be found that will be returned all to begin again.

My Christmas playlist was playing on my headphones

I’d had quite a long run and I seemed to have dropped into another playlist while retrieving the ladder from where it had been dumped in pre-Christmas decorating euphoria. That was next on my job. Time to delete my Christmas running playlist. I usually create a playlist in early December, and listen to it a few times before familiarity settles in.  It often makes a return and final appearance on Christmas Eve morning  when I try to go running really early as to get ahead of the day and feel even more worthy than most. Who wouldn’t though? There’s a lot to be said to be running on a Christmas Eve morning while many are sleeping it off or dashing off to the shops.


I spend quite a lot of time running

And quite a lot more time thinking about running, and even more time thinking about why I’m not running more. Of that time while I’m running I’ve often tried to optimize that time. How many times can I listen to the same piece of music? Although there’s something to be said about a familiar inspiring piece of music in the early dark hours as your feet are plodding along trying to find a pace, as you wonder why you don’t just get on the treadmill and sleep more. I’ve tried listening to all types of music, various podcasts, plays, and even mixes from my video production work. Sometimes I just run with no music or distractions. I tend to do this particularly when I’m going on a trail, muddy footpath, or cross country. I listen out for all the country sounds and silence that early morning promises.

Holly Berry Knocker

Holly and Berries with brass knocker

I wouldn’t like to say how much time I spend running

But this year I’m going to try make the best of that time. I’m going to try to use it to work. Well to work on problems and workflows while I’m running.  I read Cal Newport’s Deep Work last year.  Cal Newport is an associate  professor at Georgetown University. He has written several books including “So Good They Can’t Ignore You”, and “How to Become a Straight A Student”.  Cal seems incredibly busy and yet seems to get a lot done. Deep Work promotes the idea of focusing and not be distracted. Perhaps, a breath of air in this world of multi tasking.

Plans, Ideas, Concepts,

Cal talks about using your mind while running or walking to work over ideas, plans, and concepts. But not in an ad hoc fashion. Cal Newport explores the idea of deep focus and not allowing your mind to trick you into easy answers so you can move on to the next problem or idea. The brain can throw you a quick solution just to shut you up. The trick is to keep going and not let your brain sideline you or , indeed, fool you into an easy solution.  Deep Work is well worth a read and is also available on audible books. , and for Kindle .Of course if your listening to Deep Works while your running how are you thinking through your problems or solutions? I tend to listen to audible books periodically when running and more so if I’m short of time.  And who is to say that you can’t listen to some music, some podcasts, some plays, some audible books, and have some time for your own problem solving?

knitted teddy tree

Small Teddy on Christmas Tree


of what you listen to or don’t listen to as long as you make it out there for a run you’re doing something right.

Breakfast for Runners: Running on Empty

runners' breakfast

mixed breakfast after a run

As runners we all run differently as we all choose different running shoes, shorts, leggings, bandanas, hats,  or even post running exercises (if at all…) . When it comes to breakfast it’s no different. I tend to try not to run on a full stomach but I also don’t like to run on an empty stomach (awkward sod that I am).

Sun and phatrunner

So what do  I do if  I want to go on an early morning run? “Get up earlier”, I hear your say. Well if I were to get up earlier then I’d feel obliged to go running even earlier as the old trusty saying says. Well the saying doesn’t quite say that but it says something like that. Wait, for it: The early bird catches the worm. And back to breakfast again in a round about route.

coming back from run to breakfast

On way back to breakfast from early morning run

Well I’ve tried coffee with sugar as a good pick me up after a hard night’s sleep but it doesn’t quite work. I’ve tried replacing the sugar with honey. Of course only the finest New Zealand Manuka honey will do. Well it was nice in a honey sort of way but I’ve never really been a fan of honey so I just felt cheated that it had ruined my fresh brewed coffee.  In fact it was not only fresh brewed but also freshly ground. I’m very popular in the early hours when I get going with the old coffee grinder.

custard creams and coffee beans

time for coffee beans and custard creams

I tried a little bit of yogurt just to line the stomach but when mixed with the coffee it does not make a good companion. A couple of custard creams with a cup of tea not only seems rather indulgent for the early hours but also rather defeating the healthy benefits of an early morning run.

After years of indecision I’ve decided to stick with freshly ground and brewed coffee with a dash of milk as my early morning start.  Of course I could always eat later…


And once I return and if I’ve enough time I generally like to have a lovely muesli mix which included almonds, sunflower seeds, bananas, strawberries, walnuts, chai seeds, flax seed, and oatbran. All these ingredients are not strictly necessary or may not even be good for you but a combination of them certainly keeps my morning ticking along. With such a mix I always make sure I drink a fair bit of water to re hydrate. And if I’ve timed it right I’ve just got enough time for a decent cup of coffee before I have to crack on with work.


Running Around to Stay Still

rain expected imminently

runner looking up for rain

I’ve spent the last few months caught up with various projects. Or should I say the last few months have been various projects with me somehow involved.
But it’s not too different to most people’s lives. You plan to do something and then something happens and you’re no longer following the plan. I always try to stick to some semblance of the plan if I can. Even if it’s just a few moments of following the plan I still feel like I’m sticking to some kind of plan.
But regardless I’ve always managed to go running even when I’ve been really limited for time or even energy after or before a busy day.
It’s not always comforting when you’re really tired to lace those running shoes up but you certainly feel better when you come back through the door, and unlace those running shoes.

ready for that run, almost

almost ready for that run