Quick update

Here’s a link to a quick vlog I made.


So I’ve been training since 23rd February and it’s been pretty tough for many reasons, mostly not because of the running itself. Much of my difficulty lies in managing the balancing act between work, family life and attempting to train for an ultra. Now that’s no different to other people’s challenges, but there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s a serious challenge and everyone’s situation is different.

Essentially, where I am is that I can happily run about 3 times further than I could at the beginning of my training. I was struggling to run a 5k, now I’m happy running up to 9 miles. Nowhere near enough for an ultra of course, so my plan is to walk as much as I need to during the event itself and not worry about it. Knowing that the experience will add value for next time!

The fact I am now happy to run that distance is important to me, finding the time to do so is still a challenge, so I’m just being kind to myself and running whenever I can and trying to stick to my plan as much as I can.

Ok, so take care all, happy running!



Well that hurt

Well, yesterday I ran along The Ridgeway, was aiming for 2 hours in power zone 2, did not achieve that!

I am learning to respect The Ridgeway.

My training plan was to run 2:45 on Sunday, this was never on the cards as I had missed some training due to ‘reasons out of my control” such as a 1-year-old, and work, insomnia, physical pain related to my cancer surgery etc. So I had planned for a 2-hour run, which was my longest this year, at that, I only managed 9 miles and even then, not in zone 2. The hills pushed me up into zone 5 at times and predominantly zones 3 and 4, despite being slow!

Aside from power zones and pace, I was running in my Vibram trail shoes, which to be honest, I might have as well been running barefoot and it felt like I was running the whole 9 miles on cobblestones. It. Really. Hurt!

I mean. Really.

By mile 5, I was suffering big-time, like no other run.

I had run a 10k the day before so my legs were a little tired anyhow but nothing dramatic. I had also had a bad nights sleep and was not feeling it but went anyway, after some mocking from my ever-loving wife when I was trying to chicken out of the ‘long run’, she rightly said, if you can’t run 2 hours now, how can you expect to run the ultra in 2 months? She was right and I knew it, so my stubborn side kicked in and took control.

Bloody idiot!

I ran, it hurt and it was slow and it was not pretty, but I slogged through a painful 9 miles at a ridiculously slow pace and I cared not a jot!

I ran up a huge hill, chatting to cyclists as I overtook them and then they overtook me and we switched places a couple of times, I stopped for photos I convinced myself that I would carry on, limping while running and then I discovered a new mantra for myself that kept me going.


I had no choice, either give up and sit or just keep going, so I repeatedly told myself to suck it up buttercup.

This worked!

I swore at myself. I mocked myself. Then I ended up telling myself that I am better than I thought I was. Particularly when I got within 30 minutes of my finish point. 

So my lesson of the day is that I must respect The Ridgeway. It is beautiful but unforgiving, in its way.


Big Bloke Running Ultra. 

Moving over to Vlogging!!

So…. I’m trying out Vlogging 

Here is the link to my first video

Not sure how this is going to play out, it’s maybe my technology geek coming through! I know I don’t have the right lighting yet or maybe background etc, but I’m playing with it and having fun.


Let me know what you think if you have a few minutes to spare 🙂



Well, it just gets better…

So Boris has cancelled Christmas, Brexit ‘no deal’ looks most likely and we have a new strain of COVID-19 which has led to countries closing their doors to people from the UK.

Merry Christmas!!

Looks like we are all heading for some fun times ahead, with around 21 million people having been put into tier 4 and thousands of them ‘making a run for it’ just before the deadline, I am guessing that this new strain which is apparently 70% more virulent that the standard strain, that we will see a nationwide viral explosion.

None of this of course has anything to do with running!

So let’s get back to that and step away from the politics shall we. I have been focussing much more on my running and have managed to meet my weekly goals most weeks now despite the growing pressures from work. I have been running to make myself happy, focussing on enjoying it rather than anything else. My ultra plan starts again in February, so just keeping a certain level of health (I won’t say fitness!!).

I am really looking forward to starting my training plan now and bringing a bit of structure to my runs, to be honest, a regular 5k, along the same route is starting to get monotonous, the trouble is that sticking with 5ks means that its really not worth travelling to anywhere for a run. The longer runs required in the plan will make it more worthwhile to drive to the Ridgeway for a run. The last time I ran there, it nearly killed me 🙂 so I think I had better make sure I run plenty there, specificity is key to training.

I plan to start using my GoPro to Vlog my runs, it will be a bit of an experiment, so when you see those, be kind! But I will appreciate feedback on how to improve them.

Talk soon, and have a wonderful Christmas all.

Time to pick it up!

It’s been a strange time hasn’t it!

Races cancelled or delayed, goals shifting, social distancing, no ParkRun, exercise limitations and the list goes on and that’s even before we start talking about pay cuts, furloughs and so on. If you add to that a new baby in the house, which, don’t get me wrong, is wonderful, but oh my, it’s difficult to keep running with the combination of being demotivated, working harder for less while getting slowly more and more tired every day from broken sleep.

Now though, now, it is time to start picking things back up, stop, well, let’s say reduce the alcohol and focus on improving my health. Now, I’m not a fast runner and never have been, never will be, I’m a big bloke, not built for speed! But, I am determined when I decide to do something, this particular something being to run an ultra, specifically, The Race to the Stones which has been delayed to next year. I won’t complete it fast, but I will complete it, so in order to do that I now need to start upping my weekly mileage which has recently been less than 20 miles a week every week.

My running over the last few weeks has been a challenge, I used to get up early, follow my plan and get it done but the passed few weeks, I wake up tired and demotivated then go back to sleep more often than I should, sometimes I get out but because I overslept I only have time for a short run. This past week, I have made the decision to start making time for my running again, if I get up early, I will run in the morning, if not, I will use my lunch break to run, even if for a shorter time, either way, I will run, I will increase my resilience. So this week, I have run every day, even when I did not feel like it, even when my legs were hurting, even when I wasn’t feeling it, so this week is the first time since lockdown that I have run over 20 miles.

That makes me proud.

It’s not easy, but it’s worth it, just getting out there freeing your mind for some time every day, this is where I’m really starting to find the value. Now I love running, have done for a few years now, but the difference I am finding since lockdown, is that it is definitely helping my state of mind. Here we are, coming out (slowly) from lockdown, we have a young baby (our beautiful little girl, bless her) and I have just been promoted at work while I can’t even go there to make an impact and with previously reduced running hours, all things add up to higher than normal stress. I found my reactions to situations have been off balance sometimes, when I reflect on this, I feel worse, but what is interesting is that as I have run more this week, my reactions level back out. This is cause and effect and I love it, it’s simple, relax and exercise, get fresh air, life gets easier.

For anyone who may be struggling, put on a pair of trainers and get out there.

2 social soulless sociopaths bound together in a friendless world

So this post is nothing about 2 social soulless sociopaths bound together in a friendless world, I just heard that phrase recently and it made me laugh, thought maybe it would share a smile!

Today was a rest day so I am feeling fat and heavy, hold on, I am fat and heavy(!), well, more than normal! I have been sat at my computer fathoming out spreadsheets for work all day and cajoling people into doing what they are paid to do, but hey ho, I’m paid too!

The rest day is an odd beast, the night before, I look forward to not having to get up early and going out in the rain. Then I wake up early, get up and look out the window, wanting to run! I then proceed to slouch around all day and hardly move.

Normally I take about 13000 steps a day, on a rest day, it’s more like 3000 steps and I really feel the difference.

Anyway, Just a short note tonight to have a grumble about inactivity, looking forward to my run with a friend in the morning!

My Stryd wind pod says I’m balancing my running stress and recovery and my TrainingPeaks PMC says I’m getting fitter (blue shaded area), in fact, fitter than I have been for over a year now so I will trust the data!

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The Secret to Successful Running

So many people run these days, it’s awesome. I love being out on a run and seeing others out there.

While out running today, I was pondering the ‘secrets of successful running’.

It’s an interesting thing to think about and because my planned run today was 90 minutes long, I decided I would give it some thought.

To me, I am successful as a runner if I enjoy myself and I achieve the goals I have set myself (such as complete a certain run etc) but for others, they might not consider themselves successful unless they achieve a certain time over a set distance. For example, I saw a post on Strava by another runner saying his run was ‘worst ever’ (or words to that effect) and I thought, WOW, if only I could run like that and be dissapointed! Granted, this guy is a lot younger than me so his targets are completely different, but I wondered how that made him feel to have run a distance and to think it was so bad. Did it inspire him to work harder next time or did it make him unhappy. Either way, it’s a shame he sees his running that way don’t you think?

Today I ran a little over 7.6 miles in my 90 minute run, I ran in power zone X for 60 minutes of that, with a 15 minute warm up and 15 minute cool down, an average of 253 watts, which is about right compared to my plan. Great, by that measure todays run was a success!

I also completed my weekly mileage plan, boom!

I matched the training plan (pretty much) with the power bands I was supposed to run in.

Lastly, I enjoyed it!

That, to me was a success every way I looked at it!

So, thinking about the ‘secret to successful running’ I think, the key is to really prioritise what is important to you, accept that you will not always achieve that and when you fail, treat it as learning, it all becomes a win-win then.

Of course the running elite will have different views, that makes sense, I expect they are not running to enjoy themselves (anymore?), they probably run for different reasons, such as money, pride, honour etc, but for the rest of us, maybe cut yourself some slack and learn to enjoy running again. When I was running today, a young boy of maybe 7 years old came racing towards me with his dad in ‘close support’ and I saw the joy on this lads face and remembered my joy of running when I was a kid. I am finding that joy again, less exuberant, sure, but it’s there and I love it. I’ve never been the most athletic, but I certainly used to enjoy running, I remember a kid in my junior school named Ian Butt (yeah, I know!), he was a fast runner and at that time, I thought of him as a good friend. He told me that the secret of running fast was to have your hands flat and pointy then showed me how he cut through the air, sadly, for me, this didn’t work, I didn’t run any faster, but I still loved running! These days, after having a coach support me on my running dynamics, sometimes I think that maybe Ian wasn’t that far off the mark! 

Ultimately, I think that the real secret comes down to you, define your own success measures, set yourself targets and work towards them, enjoy running, when you’re out there, focus outwards and relax. Maybe that sounds a little lame and you were hoping I would give some magical answer, sorry, flat and pointy doesn’t actually work! Set your goals and enjoy it, take all the help you can get (good advice, good kit, good data, great weather if you can!) and give yourself the time.

The secret is simple. Go do it.
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