Another training session, saw me again enjoying myself on the local trails of The Ochil Hills. With the Scottish winter weather well and truly underway, there’s not much choice when it comes to running conditions but of late but when I’ve had the opportunity of ‘choice’, I’ve found myself timing my sessions deliberately to coincide with some of Mother Nature’s raw elements!!! Yesterday was no different, a simple run, where I planned to enjoy the hills and simply follow my nose, choosing where and when to tackle the various ascents and descents of the Ochil’s nooks ‘n’ crannies.
With the latest addition to my ‘gadgets’, my Leki poles, I’m beginning to find a steady rhythm and enjoy the support they offer to my quads when pumping up steep slopes. This I have found allows me more opportunity for spurts of speed, up hill and more importantly slightly fresher legs when summiting, allowing me then to kick off and run to my next target.
The main point of this post is to focus on one unexpected discovery. With gale force winds of up to 35mph yesterday, it was pretty rough at times – even I struggled to take a ‘good’ panoramic photo! 😉 Whilst running over the top of the hills, I found myself exposed and wide open, to the extreme power of the winds that day. It was, in certain areas, quite enjoyable, as I ran alongside a fence line that had canes as part of its structure, I noticed that the wind played a tune – I’ll kid myself, I thought and pretend it’s panpipes of the Ochils! 😉 Anyway, as my route brought me more into hitting the wind head on, I became aware of a significant lack of breath, due to the guts battering most of the air through you and not necessarily into your lungs. As I ran on, I felt a very familiar yet ‘comfortable’ feeling and this was, that my air intake was manageable and under control. At first, the penny never really dropped, but then as I got into a rhythm, I realized that I was running the familiar rhythm and suppression as I do when wearing my training mask! A smug little smile came to my face, as I skipped on and knew that I could handle this situation, as the wind and oxygen violently thrashed past me. Was this beneficial for my altitude training? No, but having ran with the training mask, I’ve surprisingly managed to condition myself for another aspects of ‘wild’ Scottish trail running!
This may not be a massive step forward for my intended altitude training goals, for 2014 but it is a success and added bonus, that I’ve literally stumbled across and can benefit from, for future any trail running adventures to come…