Having finally managed to shake off the flu that has dogged me for some weeks now, I thought that I had better get out there today and check to see if my legs still work.
So I wrapped up in a couple of layers, plus gloves and Buff, and headed out for a very cautious 6 miler along the beach, the better to avoid slipping on any icy patches.
While it was cold enough to freeze the wossnames off a brass monkey, after a couple of weeks of watching the entire Friends canon on DVD from the safety of the sofa, it was still pretty good to be out in the open with the three dimensional people. Or it would have been, had there been anyone else around.
But I was stunned, despite the freezing conditions, at just how few other people I saw out running, and at how packed the running machine wall of the JJB Fitness Club that overlooks the beach was. Can I really be the only runner in town who keeps on running out in the fresh air when it’s, well, a bit fresh?
It certainly felt like that today, and while I can appreciate that freezing cold air in the lungs isn’t everybody’s idea of a good time, I simply can’t believe how many people would rather spend the entire British Winter (which starts in September and finishes in March around here, in case any of our non-UK readers are wondering) running in the entirely artificial environment afforded by a heated gym and those dreadful running machine things.
Admittedly, I’ve used them myself in the past, mainly when I’ve been getting over an injury and needed to avoid any impact at all. But if using a running machine taught me anything, it’s that when you’re on a treadmill, you’re not really running, as the belt beneath you is propelling your feet backwards with every step, significantly reducing the work done by your legs and abs.
So I really can’t see the point of retreating to the gym for the winter. Far better, IMHO to invest in some running tights, gloves and a Buff and to keep on braving the elements.