Going running

In terms of the weather, it has been one of the worst winters I can remember. We’re approaching mid-April and it’s still cold and wet and it’s starting to feel like it’s been this way since records began, as the weather forecasters on television like to say. There was the excitement of the snow in early December, and the novelty of surprise snow in early March, but the rest of the winter has seemed relentlessly dark and cold. I can’t remember such a sustained spell of unbroken greyness. Usually winter is punctuated by occasional bright, dry days and by now we’ve had at least one warm spell.

The weather, and the grey skies in particular, undoubtedly affect my mood. It’s not that I crave blazing sunshine and warmth all year round, because I do think there’s something pleasing about the changing seasons, but there has been a distinct lack of signs that brighter days are round the corner.

My cycling has suffered too. I had a couple of bursts of activity on the turbo trainer, using the computer game Zwift as a motivator, but I’ve been out for only a handful of bike rides since the start of the year and the occasional 90-minute ride, though enjoyable, isn’t improving my overall fitness. With eight weeks on the road looming this summer, which involves a lot of sitting in a car and eating late, it’s time for drastic measures.

So, I put my trainers on and went for a run round the common. Or to be more accurate, a run-walk-run.

Knowing I’ve got 20 days on the road at the Giro d’Italia coming up, I want to be able to do some kind of activity while I’m away. Taking a bike isn’t an option at the Giro so it’ll have to be running, and so the goal is to get fit enough to be able to go for a short morning run every couple of days. I’m not setting the bar terribly high there because I’m not a natural runner. I overpronate and have glass ankles. Hopefully that will enable me to come home from Italy with a reasonable level of fitness so I can spend June cycling.

Daniel was talking recently about paying to offset the carbon footprint he leaves covering the three grand tours and if he explains how to do it I’ll do the same. This is a similar sort of idea. Going for a run will my way of off-setting my preferred meal choice of antipasto, primo piatto and secondo piatto.

The finalists for the British Podcast Awards were announced today and for the second year in a row The Cycling Podcast has made the shortlist of five in the best sports podcast category.

We’re in some very fine company because the other finalists are:

Brian Moore’s Full Contact by the former England rugby international

Fight Disciples (which won last year)

Quickly Kevin, Will He Score? by comedian Josh Widdecombe and friends, which is a delightful slice of 1990s football nostalgia

Who Are Ya? A football podcast that focuses on a different football club in each episode. I’ve not heard it before but will check out

In the other categories there are a couple of podcasts that leapt out at me. They were the excellent Reasons to be Cheerful by Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd and The Butterfly Effect by Jon Ronson, which was a stunning example of storytelling and a study of unintended consquences. Just to be included in the same breath as them (which we might be if someone with a huge lung capacity was to read out the full list of finalists) is fantastic.