It’s amazing how quickly a three week stint of training can pass by. I’m now approaching my last few days in Doha, Qatar with another training camp on the horizon. First up, I have a 10k race early on Friday morning. And when I say early, I mean EARLY. It will be the earliest I’ve ever got up for a race in my twenty six years on this planet. The prospect of waking up at 4.30am isn’t particularly appealing but I am excited to get stuck into another 10k on the roads and to get 2017 underway.
Not only have I been lucky enough to miss the horribly bitter, winter months in the UK but it has been really special to spend some time with my family. It’s not very often that I get to spend more than a single day with my younger siblings and so having them all out here together, in Qatar, has created some fantastic memories. This sport can be difficult and even lonely at times and so to have (most) of the people I love, in one place, enjoying the festive weeks together is truly special. However, with twelve people all under one roof you can imagine how chaotic it has been. And although spending Christmas on the beach takes a little getting used to, I certainly wasn’t complaining. I only had one slight grudge – one thing missing from our Christmas celebrations, something I struggled to cope with at the dinner table – no pigs in blankets!
I have also been able to recruit the eldest, of my younger brothers, to start pacing me in sessions. He has run very sporadically in the past but over the last two months, he has taken up athletics training and is really enjoying his running. It’s been amazing to see the change in him and more worryingly for me… how much faster he’s become in such a short space of time. The McColgan genetics are certainly at play once again. I’m getting concerned that it won’t be long until I’m demoted further down the family record books!
Training in this warm middle-eastern climate has been a bit of a shock to the system. The first week here, I found training very, very difficult. Everyone was mocking me as 26-29 degrees Celsius are classed as cooler, winter temperatures but to a pale, Scottish lassie like me it’s certainly not the winter weather I’m accustomed to. It does however prepare me for my next training camp in Kenya. Pushing me out of my comfort zones and training in such high heat and humidity will mean that when I reach Kenya it shouldn’t be as arduous. Kenya does however have the added stress of altitude and that combined with the rocky, hilly terrain is the real killer.
Athletes across Scotland truly stepped up their game in 2016, resulting in the largest contingent making an Olympic squad. It looks like 2017 will be no different. Only a few days into the new year and Laura Muir, Callum Hawkins and many others have all shown World Class form. It’s been incredibly inspiring to watch the results flood in but at the same time it’s difficult to stay patient. I would love to be starting 2017 with some indoor races but unfortunately I have another month to bide my time.
Our plan for my training was always to do one more 10k road race and then to race indoors off a strength and endurance phase – ie. from my time in Kenya. I will be racing indoors but it will be quite limited. It’s a little frustrating as I do love running indoors. But as much as I would love to deviate from this plan, my coach does know best. Hopefully it will see me continue to make further improvements into the outdoor season and beyond.
For now though, I have a few more days left to enjoy the desert sun before the real grind begins. The blood orange, dirt trails and oxygen starved air of Iten, Kenya are calling me and they won’t wait around.