Seasons are an interesting thing, particularly in Scotland. Meteorologically speaking, “summer” began a week and a half ago with the spring equinox, and the changing of the clocks this weekend catapulted us all forward into British Summer Time. The mere mention of the word “summer” conjures up heady images of bounding along sun-dappled country roads and trails, clad simply in shorts and a singlet, working on the “runners’ tan” and smiling brightly at everyone we pass. This time last year I was definitely in shorts as the temperatures rose and the sun, with his obligatory hat on, came out to play. Not only that, but my winter kit had been rotated to the back of the wardrobe where it would remain for months to come. What a difference a year makes!
Last Sunday saw me head out for my first post-equinox long run and after a couple of weeks of daily snow showers and sub-zero temperatures, I was bundled up in what I tend to think of as “January kit”: long tights, base layer, long-sleeved top, jacket and gloves. As I braced myself against strong headwinds and battled through a bizarre precipitation phenomenon somewhere between snow and hail, I was glad of every layer. By the time I arrived home I think I had experienced all 4 seasons (including an all too brief glimpse of the sun as a snow cloud shifted) in the space of about an hour and a quarter. I also had much more “character” than when I left!
Today, as my calendar taunted me by insisting that summer had begun, I once more pondered my kit as Mother Nature clearly hadn’t got that memo. The weather seemed dry but cold so, in a nod to the alleged season, I decided I could jettison a layer and ventured out without my running jacket. Thankfully it remained dry but it was still rather chilly so I don’t think I’ll be looking out the summer kit just yet (although I did spot one or two more hardy souls with shorts on. They looked cold.)
Experienced runners will tell you that when it comes to running there’s no such thing as the wrong weather, just the wrong kit and I tend to agree. The problem is, when the weather can’t quite make up its mind what season it is, it’s rather difficult to identify the right kit for any given run and it’s all too easy to find yourself out in your shorts during a snow shower or bundled up for a blizzard in practically tropical conditions, a mistake I’ve fallen foul of before!
And that, dear reader, is one of the joys of running in Scotland! Yes, we have stunning scenery and in a matter of minutes you can feel a million miles away from civilisation, but the weather can change in a heartbeat. I enjoy running on crisp, cold, sunny days, but after a seemingly endless winter I long for some warmer weather and the chance to get my shorts on. Maybe next Sunday…!