An update from Olympian and #Run1000Miles ambassador Julia Bleasdale from the Swiss Alps at 1800m as she welcomes in the warmer weather.
It’s a fickle time of year up in the mountains. For a few days the warmth of the early spring tantalisingly reveals the lower sections of the trail network from its winter blanket only for a heavy overnight dump of snow to hide it away again for yet another day. However, I do love this time of year with the extended days stretched before you, the evening light lasting longer in the deep valleys and the morning chatter of birdsong gaining variety and intensity.
Springtime up at altitude is a time when the trail runner needs to maximise the opportunities that temperature and snow cover present. Adaptability is key with the consistent winter conditions fast becoming a distant memory! Ever so slowly the snow and ice retreat up the mountainside, fresh shoots gingerly reach for the sky and the firm ground materialises. Then, that ‘moment’ when suddenly there is a rekindled spring in my step and perhaps, just perhaps, the realisation that long slog through winter is over. All the effort has surely been worthwhile to emerge from those darkened days with some strength and miles in the legs to be finally rewarded with some dry ground underfoot and the warmth of the sun for a refreshing and novel companion.
I am always cautious not to get too carried away with this fresh and cheery enthusiasm; just as the seasons need time to fully transition so does the body. The running surface is changing, leg turnover is increasing and energy levels elevated. Throwing all of these elements into the mix at once could be asking for trouble. So, instead, I look to temper my pace and transition methodically step by step as the season slowly turns.
In the UK, there may not be the change from snow to firm ground but certainly from mud to firm ground! Here the same principle applies in order to stay strong, healthy and injury-free, running into the spring and summer with increasing tempo and confidence.
It is going to be rather lovely in the UK this week - enjoy the trails with (some) spring in your step to log more #Run1000Miles!