Monday, December 21, 2009

Everybody Waves in Warsaw

The art of running on a holiday is a tough one because you don't want your running to impact on those around you. With that in mind I put absolutely no pressure on myself to run while I'm away. The way to do it I find is to go first thing in the morning just before everyone else is up. That way your run is out of the way and you don't have it hanging over you for the rest of the day. If I don't get out in the morning the decision is made that I won't run that day. The last situation you want to find yourself in on holiday is being out at lunch and everyone else drinking wine, you don't want to have to abstain because you have a jog lined up that evening. I also don't want to hold up everyone going out while I'm out running around like an eejit. Saying that, sometimes when you're away with a few girls there's a good 90 minute window in the evening when they're all getting ready to go out for the evening. The perfect opportunity to get your jog on.

My attempts at running on holidays have never really been perfect. In LA there were fires which meant the air quality was awful and outdoor sports were a no go, Mauritius had very, very narrow winding roads with no footpath, Seville was over 40 degrees Celsius, meaning that the runners never left my bag and while running in Rome someone fell/jumped off a bridge and landed about 300m in front of me. Yet I persevere, and on my recent jaunt to Poland my running gear came with me.

I didn't really know what to expect - would there be parks? I knew there was a river that I could run along. But would it be too cold? Temperatures in Warsaw can reach -30C. Snow and safety were my remaining concerns. As it turned out the weather was ideal for running. A few degrees colder than Ireland but crucially no wind. I got away with the same running gear I wear in Ireland and probably felt warmer when running around Warsaw than I would when being blown about the Phoenix Park. Running was absolutely effortless in the crisp cold conditions. I'm beginning to think that Ireland and England are the only two countries that suffer from wind year round!

As a location for running Warsaw turned out to be one of the best I've encountered. Besides the river, which was right beside where I was staying, there was also a small traffic free park a 15 minute jog along the river away. A loop of the park alongside a small canal was about 3 miles. Then off the park was a forest with trails absolutely ideal for running along. You could spend hours running about the forest taking different turns here and there. There's plenty of people out walking and jogging around the park, forest and river so safety was never a concern at all. Getting lost was a slight one especially considering my Polish speaking skills didn't go much further than saying hello, thank you and asking for a coffee!

With Christmas just around the corner my approach to running will be the same as it was on holiday. No pressure. If I make it out in the morning, great, if not I won't worry about it. Family and social obligations come first this Christmas, running a close second.
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