Friday, October 6, 2017

Easy Running: Beamsley Beacon and Round Hill - Inov-8 Race Ultra 290's

I hadn't realised how much I had been missing this type of running 13.5miles easy running up Beamsley Beacon and Round Hill... then back to Otley. Bit of a recce for this Saturdays ultra #PunkPanther High Life 65miles... proper boggy in parts! New shoes = get muddy. Last year I had a good few months of this type of running, just getting up on the moors, building some elevation and enjoying the vista and terrain... not taking the pace to seriously, but just putting in some miles.
I need to do more of this with Spine Challenger training high on the agenda as well as #UGB200 #RaceAcrossScotland next year, that's 108 and 212 miles respectively of real trails!

Inov-8 Race Ultra 290's - brief review

Tested out my new Inov-8 Race Ultra 290's, on some bog, trail and road - a good mixed terrain run, the new shoes seem to fit well with a good size toe box. The grip is not a 'fell' shoe but adequate for such a mixed terrain run with enough cushion for a good few miles on the road later on, not as much as the Trail Talon 275's but still a good buy. This version of the 290's seem to have better protection around the sides of the front foot for wear and tear- so I am initially hopeful they will not wear here quickly or tear.

I wanted to give my ankle a tester after last weeks trail marathon, it went well. I used an ankle support but my ankle felt better and stronger as the run went on.

Running should just be about getting out and enjoying it.


Pointing to Round Hill

Heading to Timble Ings
Heading up the 'bog' line to Lippersley Edge

Lippersley Edge Cairn - nice shleter


Sunday, October 1, 2017

From First Ultra to First 200 Buckle: A year of ultra-running

A year ago I ran my first ultra-marathon 34miles along the North York coastline (1st October 2016), this was a big moment for me as I had been training and building up for this over the previous year, this now seems like a short race. I seem to have made the jump from first ultra to first 200mile buckle in less than a year! 10 and a half months in fact!


My transition from marathon distance to ultra, was gradual as training runs were consistently 20+miles, graduating to 26.5miles; then 27.5 prior to my first ultra distance. Then during the following few weeks I did 3 marathon distance runs and ran with Brendan Rendall who was running JOGLE at the time having just run across the length of Malawi, a place where I used to live. It was great to connect with Brendan and be inspired by what he was doing both the running and the attitude to raising funds for FOMO. I advise caution when running with such inspirational folk, you never know where it will end up!! He was one of the reasons I signed up for the UGB200. This inspiration along with my fascination with the Spine Race meant I just got out and did a 42mile run along the Pennine Way on a day off a week later. I was well and truly hooked and having just got out to give it ago on my own, I knew I could do it. The mental block was removed and the legs followed. This was the case with running my first 50 mile race, I just went out alone and did my own 50 miler as a training run; I left the rest for the #UGB200 mile race. Getting my head down and doing the training is a major reason why I have been able to improve, I'm not an expert at ultra-running, but I'm willing to learn. Next race will be the Punk Panther 'High Life' 65miles /105km on 7th October.

  • CTS NorthYork Moors - 34miles - 8th Place
  • Tour De Helvellyn - 38miles - this was my first mountain ultra and I was focused on just getting round and enjoying the day.
  • Punk Panther 'A Bridge too Far' - 38miles - 4th
  • Lakes Mountain 42 - 42 miles - a real disappointing DNF; massive cramp and learnt a lot.
  • Pennine Barrier 50 - 50miles - 10th overall
  • Ultra Great Britain 200- 200 miles - 9th overall -joint -8th men's. 

A few lessons learnt:

  • Training doesn't do it self 
  • Train specifically for races, don't just run.
  • Fuel/nutrition - is vital so practice eating on the as much real food as possible and start early in longer races.
  • Hydration and use of electrolytes/mixed energy drinks needs to be planned well for longer races.
  • Test your kit
  • Recovery is as important as training
  • Get your head in the game
  • Focus on your 'A' races and a have a race plan.
  • Mojo is overrated and lack of it might just be a calorie deficit
  • Enjoy the running