Saturday, June 05, 2010

Training in Cambridge: Pros and Cons

A couple of weeks ago I had a bit of a moan about training in Cambridge. I missed the harbour. I missed the hills. I missed Wellington's bright mornings and glorious sunrises. I even missed Auckland's dastardly red fence. Then Phil gave me a metaphorical slap, and things are better, so it's time to write a balanced report on our new training home.

But I'm still doing Cons first...

The DARK. The all pervading constant mother-freakin dark. If we want to run around our perfectly ordinary suburb after about 5:30pm or before 7:00am, we don't just need hi-vis gear, we need rear lights and HEADLAMPS. HEADLAMPS people- for footpath running! (Auckland and Welly are both so delightfully light polluted that running in the early morning or late evening just wasn't even an issue)

...which brings me to FOOTPATHS. Or lack thereof. Most of Leamington isn't too bad, and I'm not expecting there to be footpaths in the proper country or anything, but the problem is that the footpaths MOVE, and more to the point, that it's so dark you can't see them, and they're all totally shielded from the few streetlights there are.

The FOG. The other night I was running, in the dark, with my headlamp, and all of a sudden, I couldn't see a thing, only my headlamp reflecting back at me. It was eerie and creepy and weird.

The humidity. In summer, when it was bright enough to run before and after work, it was painfully humid. But now that I'm a mature grown up who can accept running mazillion minute ks without throwing an I'm so fat and unfit tantrum, I know that humidity, like wind and heat, is just something that will make me more awesome one day.

The non-hills. Wellington and Auckland are predominantly hilly. Duh. But they both have 10+ ks of pretty much perfectly flat coast for those times when you care about measuring pace. Cambridge and Hamilton are pretty much flat. But pretty much flat is still annoying when a couple of wee hills or a false flat messes with your pace for the whole run. And it's next to impossible to map a decent and safe flat run, so the track with the teenage stoners it is!

In the weekend (and when it's light) we can drive to the country (see previous post) for some sweet, sweet running.

The cycling is pretty fantastic, apart from the dark and fog. 15 minutes of riding in pretty much whichever direction we choose and we're out in the middle of nowhere, with some fantastic climbs, roller coaster rides and some gorgeous countryside.

There are no traffic lights. When we go out for a 3 hour ride, it takes 3 hours, not 3:30! This is definitely making me fitter and stronger- my steady runs are steady runs, rather that moderate semi intervals!

So there you go.

Our strategy for making our workouts funner and more effective is to:
  • do our workouts in the morning where possible- since I'm working fewer hours we've lost this habit a little
  • do some of our run workouts in Hamilton, where it's not quite as dark!
  • celebrate the weekends, by making our weekend runs a real treat- going offroad, driving out to ride somewhere nicerm etc.
What about you? What are the best and worst bits about your training home?


Rachel Harris said...

I'm very happy with Christchurch as a training ground, or at least where we live in Chch. We're at the foot of the hills so can go up, or along the flat. We're on the doorstep of all the country riding, close to rivers and sea, mountains... The weather can be fickle, but no worse than anywhere else I reckon.

If it makes you feel better, I take my headlamp for running around Chch streets - too many potholes, dog poos and the like to rely on the street lights!

Oh yes, the eerie feeling of running with a headlamp in fog - I liken it to running with fogged up swimming goggles on!

Jen said...

Hi Kate. Thanks for your comment on my blog. I love yours too! You've done so many races. I'm inspired :)

I've never run in the fog, but it sounds frightening. I also try to squeeze my runs in during the morning hours b/c I cannot take the heat!

Tri Saint said...

What about that lovely wind in Wellington. Do you miss it ?

Tauranga is great for training.Got some great hills not far away & great TT up & down the Mount.

I don't care much for the things that live in the sea over summer. Give a lake anytime.

Lisa (bakebikeblog) said...

Argh I know what you mean about needing 'head lamps' to run in the evening! It is so frustrating! I too have shifted a run to the weekend so that I can do it in the daylight and try out some nice paths!