There are two types of runners. There are runners who park beside the start line and then there’s runners who park on Mars – to give themselves a bit more of a challenge by running 55 million kilometres as ‘warm up’.
I’m a runner who parks beside the start line. If I had a choice, I’d park on the start line. Warming up is just wasted energy after all. Why run before you need to run?!?
Now, some people – coaches, athletes and professionals – will tell you that warming up is an essential part of the whole running experience. If you don’t warm up then your muscles are cold and stiff and more likely to break. But those people – those experts – have clearly never had warm up in Scotland in January when it’s cold and wet and miserable and the thought of spending 30 seconds stretching each hamstring is as enticing as sharing a hot tub with Donald Trump.
Scotland is not a country for warming up. It’s a country for running as fast as you can out your front door until you run as fast as you can back in your front door and straight into a hot shower.
Which is what I wanted to do after Kirkintilloch 12.5K.
The Kirkintilloch 12.5 is a hilly circuit around the edge of Kirkintilloch on mostly old farm roads. It’s also one of the most exposed races with the top of every hill giving the freezing cold winds a good 50 mile standing start to breeze right through you.
It also doesn’t help that there’s very few car parking spaces near the start so, before the race, there was also a battle between the runners who like to park next to the start line to actually park next to the start line. Most failed.
We saw quite a few running a mile along the road from the centre of Kirkintilloch to the edge of the town, where the race started.
Luckily, we found a spot on a side street not far from the start as otherwise who knows what might have happened if we’d had to run before we ran. (We’d have probably run round faster as we were warmed up but that’s beside the point!)
The race itself featured a cold wind, some ice on the side of the road and a Penguin biscuit at the finish line. It also had a few sharp wee hills and a couple of longer drags. The good thing though is that the hill you race up at the start is also the hill you race down at the end. At which point we could see people cooling down.
Don’t get me started on cooling down. It’s Scotland. In Scotland, if you cool down any further you’ll turn into Frosty the Snowman.
Instead, don’t warm up, never cool, just park near the finish line, you know it makes sense.