Weeks 1 – 4: Snow, ice & a monster cold

  • Hours on the run: Not enough!
  • Kilometres: Still not enough!
  • Calories burned: 15 lemsips?!
  • Tissues sneezed into: 300
  • Snow: Yes!
  • Soundrack: Dog days are over – Florence + The Machine

The first of January 2019 should have marked the start of my 17-week training, kicking off with a 30-minute run. Instead, I was coughing and spluttering on the sofa, amidst a sea of tissues. No worries – in a few days I’ll kick this and will be back out there getting stuck in to that plan…

Longest cold of my life! Week 2 started and still no improvement. I forced myself out for a few 30 minute slow jogs (breathing very laboured), but it wasn’t until Week 3 that I was able to start following the schedule properly (and even then still spluttering!).

Week 4 brought us many beautiful scenes like this (crunch crunch):


This freshly-fallen snow is actually fine for running on, you still have a good grip, and it makes a really satisfying sound. It’s usually the following day after a night of frost that it becomes slippery and not so fun for running.

Thankfully, the Dutch authorities are fantastic at keeping the country on their bikes in wintery weather, so all of the major bike paths get cleared regularly after any snowfall – much to the gratitude of winter runners.

Week 4 culminated in a 1.5 hour run on English soil as I was over there for the weekend. I almost quit after 45 minutes! I’m not sure whether it was a lack of fuel before the run, or simply the hills that took it out of me…. but it was exhausting!

Each time I run in the UK I find it so much tougher than in the Netherlands. In Holland, I’m actually running below sea level (check the graphs below!). In the UK, the hills just feel brutal, and I often feel like I’m running through treacle, using so much energy and still moving at a snail’s pace. I much prefer running with the fishes!

UK Running Stats
UK Running Stats
Netherlands Running Stats
NL Running Stats

This is why I feel this London Marathon is going to be so tough. I’m due to run a half marathon in the UK in a few weeks’ time, so that will be a really good test of how slow and sticky things are likely to be!

Still, I’m happy now I finally seem to be on track with the schedule and I know I’m building strength with every step. Just no more colds please (or hills!)!

The soundtrack for these build-up weeks is a good reflection of my progress: starting out slow but definitely building! Dog days are over by Florence + The Machine. Yeah!

Please consider sponsoring me for the London Marathon. I’m running for Chance for Childhood, a charity that protects children from the devastating consequences of extreme poverty, conflict and disability.

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