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Neil Featherby: My tips on how you can beat the Beast of the East and keep your training on track

Neil Featherby out with his dogs on a training run. Picture: Neil Featherby

Neil Featherby out with his dogs on a training run. Picture: Neil Featherby

Archant

What a week and when the weather forecasters forewarned us that there was a Beast from the East making his way towards us, I wonder how many of us were really prepared?

Neil Featherby out with his dogs and his running group. Picture: Neil FeatherbyNeil Featherby out with his dogs and his running group. Picture: Neil Featherby

For those who can remember January 1987, they are comparing this current arctic like cold spell to then.

I can most certainly recall it.

I was preparing for the Hong Kong International Marathon at the time and it was an absolute nightmare trying to get the much needed training sessions in whilst sticking to what was a very disciplined schedule which had been put together very carefully with my then training advisor Ian Fowlie and agent Pete Duhig.

Pete kept telling me to drive over to his neck of the woods where the weather wasn’t quite as severe as it was around my home in Hellesdon and Ian kept telling me to relax as I was more than fit enough.

Neil Featherby out with his dogs and his running group. Picture: Neil FeatherbyNeil Featherby out with his dogs and his running group. Picture: Neil Featherby

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However, back then my mindset was one of needing to stick to a plan and if I didn’t it would affect my way of thinking going into the race.

Despite my frustrations, I did my very best to get the miles in whilst trying to do intervals and reps in track spikes. I was climbing over cars that had ground to a halt in ten foot snow drifts.

When I took a call from one of the EDP’s writers earlier this week asking me for advice and tips for those who are training hard for one of the many marathons and half marathons which are due to take place during the next month or two, it most certainly took me back to that crazy cold spell.

Nevertheless and after filling him in with all the above details, I then went on to calmly say, providing you wear the right equipment i.e. grippy shoes and just layer up with the appropriate clothing, then all should be fine and it really should be no big deal.

Neil Featherby has been out with his running group this week. Picture: Neil FeatherbyNeil Featherby has been out with his running group this week. Picture: Neil Featherby

I also went on to say, if in the “unlikely event” of it being as bad as back in January 87, then runners will have to be just as determined and pragmatic as I had to be 31 years ago.

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Needless to say not necessarily going out for 15 mile road runs in track spikes, but look to find trails which are perhaps not as treacherous as what the roads and pavements can become and at least they now have the opportunity to use a treadmill if they can get to one.

Since that call, the so called Beast from the East has very much left his mark and I wonder what I would have said if I had of taken that call all those years ago asking me the same questions.

As for getting out there running in this weather, well I have to say I am loving it.

I live in the village of Felthorpe and I have the luxury of lots of woodland all around me as well as having five, four-legged training partners who are naturals when it comes to running in such conditions.

On this occasion I am making the very most of it as are some of my training group who have been popping round to borrow them!

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