Training when ill

It always seems to be the way, you get to the weekend, with big plans for back-to-back long runs, or something similarly ambitious that you can’t do during the week, and then you wake up on Saturday morning with what is clearly the beginning of a cold. It’s not that bad, but we all know we shouldn’t overtrain when ill: running, especially in cold air, can worsen problems in the nasal passages and respiratory tract, while elevating your heart rate when you have a fever can cause your temperature to rise dangerously high.    So, hopefully you will wisely park … Continue reading Training when ill

Winter Training Essentials

This week has been that week where everyone in Britain starts going “oooh, it’s starting to feel like winter, isn’t it?” To be honest, it’s not that cold yet and we’ll probably have another mild spell before winter really hits, but it’s definitely been a reminder that I can’t necessarily just count on being able to go running in my usual shorts and tshirt at any time of day without really worrying. I’m a big fan of the principle of ‘no excuses’ – in other words, being so ready to run under any conditions that there is never an excuse not … Continue reading Winter Training Essentials

Mission Creep

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person who has just done their first marathon will soon be signing up for another one. Or an ultra. Or an Ironman. Or something similarly batshit crazy. Hell, almost every marathon expo I’ve been to has had tables and tables of other marathons offering you special discounts if you sign up there. It’s a struggle not to leave one marathon having signed up for half a dozen more. But yes, everyone knows that. What I was musing on, as I sat on the train today wondering why getting an Ironman tattoo no … Continue reading Mission Creep

Blog round-up

Anyone taking on something like the Marathon des Sables in the 21st century ends up reading a loooot of blogs and online resources about it. Here’s a round up of some of the best I’ve found so far. Fellow MDS 2016-ers (If you have a blog not listed below, do leave a comment and I will gladly add you). Paul Davies Elinor Evans Colin Harper Useful kit lists by previous runners ‘Reluctant Runner’ (MDS 2010) ‘Paul in the long run’ (MDS 2013) ‘Salt water cures everything’ (MDS 2014) Other hints and tips by previous runners Alastair Humphreys Brave Dave (includes some good … Continue reading Blog round-up

Monthly Summary – September

A pretty decent month all things considered, with some reasonable training volume, one half-marathon, and a fair variety of different runs. Speed is down quite a bit, which, looking at my activities, I think is due almost entirely to the Nuts Challenge which was obviously quite slow. It’s not overly important at this point though as I’m more concerned about just steadily increasing mileage. I’m not doing any seriously long runs yet, so the overall mileage is still quite low, and elevation unsurprisingly dipped down given that I’m no longer in the Pyrenees, but not as far as it might have, … Continue reading Monthly Summary – September

Race Report – Windsor Half Marathon

Last week, just as I was about to leave the flat for two weeks away, a very nice letter arrived. It contained my race number for the Windsor Half Marathon, a race I have done twice before and consider one of my favourite events of the year. I was pleased, then, but also surprised since I had no recollection of ever signing up, indeed I had expected to be out of the country on race day. As luck would have it, though, not only was I no longer out of the country but I *had* signed up, and then removed … Continue reading Race Report – Windsor Half Marathon

Necessity is the mother of achievement 

Probably the race/fitness achievement I’m proudest of is the swim stage of my Ironman. Not because it was objectively tougher than a marathon or, say, the rest of the bloody Ironman, but because I very nearly couldn’t do it at all.  Just under a year before the Ironman I did my first triathlon, an Olympic distance, and swam such a slow breaststroke/doggy paddle round the course that my poor mother, who was kindly transporting and supporting me, began to worry that I’d drowned. Quite apart from the fact I was slow, I hated it. It felt like clawing my way … Continue reading Necessity is the mother of achievement 

Packing for a day trail run

You don’t need much for a one-day run, even a long one, but if you’re doing a trail run out somewhere a bit more ‘wilderness-y’, even if only for a few hours, then there are a few things you’ll need. Here’s what I take. Bag: OMM Ultra 15 – a beautifully light bag that’s got plenty of space for a one day run, hooks and channels for a camelbak, and side and belt pouches for easy access to snacks and gadgets. It also has a whistle in the chest strap which isn’t exactly a must-have but probably a worthwhile safety … Continue reading Packing for a day trail run

Monthly summary – August

This is the first of what I intend to be a regular monthly post summarising my progress. More than anything else, I hope that exposing my training volume will act as an incentive to increase it a bit! August has not been a particularly big month for training – I’m still easing back into running after the San Francisco Marathon, and have been traveling a lot, but the aim is to increase the volume a bit for the rest of the year. So: (Full) months left to MDS: 7 Miles run: 35.58 miles Elevation gain: 1,611 m Average speed: 6.2mph Continue reading Monthly summary – August

Hot weather running in Massachusetts 

   I’m currently in Cambridge, MA – not specifically to train, but since it’s hitting 30+ degrees every day it seems like I should take advantage and do some hot-weather training. I’m not actually sure how much of a difference this sort of thing makes; my understanding is that acclimatisation to hot weather is lost pretty quickly, so this training now, 7 months before the event, might be a bit irrelevant. Still, given how hard it’s going to be to find anywhere to run in temperatures much warmer than about 15 degrees between now and April, it can’t hurt to … Continue reading Hot weather running in Massachusetts