Back to work, back to routine and the challenges of Winter

America was incredible. I loved time spent in Yosemite National Park and San Francisco. I took lots of photos, which is something else I’ve been learning to do this year as well as running. I also got to visit Apple and have lunch at Cafe Macs with some friends from the ADE community.

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We are back home now and getting ready to go back to school. I’ve been running for 4 months now and achieving distances of 10K (6.2 miles). My pace has remained around the 8 minute mile mark too.

Back to work means back to routine and I’ve been used to a summer holiday of running more frequently, in good weather, at times convenient for me. Even though our holiday was active, I didn’t run much in San Francisco. I tried once or twice but the temperature and the hills in the city made it very difficult for me.

My first couple of weeks back at school are busy, as they always are, and there’s lots of time spent settling in a new class of Reception children. It’s a tough time to get a work-life balance in September. I always remember training to teach and being told that it takes until October to settle a class in to a good routine. It’s not until October half term that you really feel like you’ve started the year properly.

This was a new challenge for running and keeping to the progress I had made. I noticed that my weekly runs had dropped from 4 to 2, sometimes 3. It was also getting wetter and darker, something I hadn’t experienced before.

I spoke to some friends who are runners and they advised that I enter a competition so I had a goal in sight. I’m not a social runner though! That doesn’t feel comfortable for me yet. So I went back to those early days of becoming a runner. How did I get motivated to go out and do this in the first place?

I remembered the advice I had read about using your calendar to set dates and reminders, to stick to them. If you planned out when to run around your schedule, then you are more likely to stick to it. I took this advice again and looked at my diary dates for work up to Christmas. I found 3 days each week that I could accommodate a 30 minute run and I saved a 1 hour run for the weekend.

Weather continued to test me and I had to give in wearing shorts and t-shirt by October. This meant going to buy those dreaded leggings. As a new runner, leggings just don’t sound plausible. Really? Leggings!

I picked up a decent pair from Sports Direct for around £15 and a long sleeved top for less than £10. I then realised how well I had done with spending money on running compared to spending money on a gym. This was only my second purchase of sports kit in 6 months, a total of less than £100.

Even though I didn’t feel comfortable in leggings around the house, when I first stepped out in the rain in them, I felt the benefit! That’s when I remembered what all good early years teachers say:

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!”

I was struggling to keep up with my running because I wasn’t planning runs properly and I wasn’t wearing the right kit. With both of these in place now, I was seeing the same achievement on my Apple Watch data. I’d found a new route around the road that was well lit and not too busy with traffic too.

Winter, I am ready for you!