MdS challenge 2017

A challenge of the self


June 2016

Preparing for the BIG one…

Hey hey kids. ‘Sup?

My week hasn’t been too bad at all. Hope yours has been too.

So, at the start of the week I made the conscious choice to take it easy as I’ve got my BIG race on Saturday 2nd July so I should be tapering.

My training was toned down a little…kind of.

21st I rode in and back and have now got the time down to, almost 20mins on the way in. Not so great going back. I WILL conquer that hill! 31:15 on way home. Got held up and roundabout and stuff but, still tough.

22nd I ran in and felt pretty strong. Legs feeling a little tired from the run up the Cleuch on the Sunday. On the way home, I took a detour out by the Fife Coastal path and ended up doing 14.3k. I was a lovely evening for it. So, almost 24k done. Avg pace 4:33 on way in and 5:06 on way back.

Yesterday was a little 10k bimble on the bike to stretch the legs and try out some newly laid Tarmac on a new cycle path. It was soooooo smooth. Pace was as fast as I can run, so as I say, a bimble. 

Today I met up with another runner who is signed up for the Devil o the Highlands in August and we ran to, and back across the Devils Staircase into Kinlochleven from Glen Coe car park. 7:54k pace for the first section, across the staircase with a 403m elevation gain. On way back, after a a stop at the Ice Factor (climbing centre in Kinlochleven) the uphill was longer, so the time was more. 757m elevation gain with an 8:56k pace.

So, an easy week. 30.5k on the bike and 57.2k on feet.

As soon as I got back from today’s excursion, I had a sports massage by Mr Magic Hands Tommy Lawrence. I now feel GREAT. Ask me again tomorrow or on Tuesday 😉

Feet up during the week now, apart from a quiet bike ride at some point but nothing major. Roll on Friday afternoon for the trip up to Inverness and relax for a few hours before getting the Ultra bus back to the start line for a 01:00 kick off on Saturday morning. Whistle blows, run 72miles! What could be simpler?

I’m strangely looking forward to this, the biggest run to date which is my first 100k (115k actually). I have a plan. Let’s see it all goes to plan come Saturday.

Hope you are all well, and your training is going good too.


Love em, or hate em… HILLS

Hey kids, hope you’re all well. And that your training has been good, and importantly, fun.

I’m now on a taper for my race in two weeks. It’ll be the longest I’ll have attempted to run, a whole 72 miles (ish) from Fort William to Inverness. I’m now questioning the sanity of it. However, it WILL get done! And, this will be my first 100k race since starting running 11 months ago. Continue reading “Love em, or hate em… HILLS”

Oops, it’s been a while

Hey gang. Apologies for the lack of post recently, I’ve been away on a wee holiday and things just got carried away.

So, what have I been up to since my last post?

Well, a fair bit really.

Previous week:

I have started my regime of cycle & running to and from work. All routes are as per usual which see me do approx 10k (9.2k to be precise). I’m now cycling three times to work and running twice and I must say, I’ve really got to get over the race with myself. I’m always trying to get in and back faster, regardless of mode of transport. This leads to fatigue and probably will increase chances of injury. Hopefully that won’t happen but just got a be cautious. 

Since stepping over the frame of the bike again, after a 20yr gap, I’m finding it quite enjoyable. Traffic isn’t too much of a concern as I’m pretty confident, especially as I was a motorbike rider for a lot of years. Obviously with a pushbike, it’s a different story. Speed up to, and leaving, any junctions and roundabouts has to be gauged pretty well so I don’t stop travel. However, this happens sometimes and you’ve just got a be in a position with the gears to be able to push away again. It’s all starting to come together.

As you may have read in a previous blog, I’m cycling to elliviate the continuous pressure on the joints, esp the knees. And, it helps build muscles in other places as well as keeps the heart rate going. All in all, cycling should assist my running. Just as long as I don’t do too much of it.

So, my running seems to be getting stronger. Reading my metrics of late, I seem to be getting a better cadence  wether up, or down hill.  There are times, I actually feel like I’m running ‘properly’. I’m starting to find my feet, literally. It’s only taken 10-11 months since taking up running.

The pic shows a recent run (last night) where my cadence seems to be pretty steady, regardless of the ups and downs. I’m happy with the result. 

As I’m training for something ‘much bigger’ than a 10k, speed isn’t really my concern. However, on that particular run, I was very happy with a sustained 4:25 per k and at times, I was running steady at 4:12 per k.

On another note, we have recently been blessed with a good spell of hot weather. Hot for Scotland (23degrees C), not Sahara hot but hot enough to make the usual running an interesting test. To ‘test’ myself, I’ve been out in the middle of the weekend days to take advantage of these hot spells.

During these hot runs, I’ve also been testing some of my chosen gear. Mainly, X-bionic wearables and using my hydration nutrition powder, Tailwind, although I’m pretty confident in Tailwind already. The X-bionic gear has stood up pretty well on the hot runs and has kept me cool. It’s lightweight and at times I forget I’m wearing it.

I would say however, you need to be reasonably confident to wear the Marathon shorts on their own. Having taken them out of the pack, I actually didn’t think they’d be large enough. However, they are reasonably stretchy and fit really well and are longer than expected when worn.


Me in my gear running in the heat along the old railway line between Dunfermline and Clackmannan. It was a HOT day and I was making sure I could run at ‘race pace’ in the heat for the out, a half marathon distance. Things went ok and I reached the distance in 1Hr 40min. I did have to find my way a couple of times coming into the village but overall, happy with my time. The return was pleasant and a more relaxed affair. I decide to enjoy it and walked a few sections to take in the views, as this was my first time running this route.

I think we forget to take in the scenery whilst we run through it. I know I’m always checking where I am on a path, making sure I’m in the right place when nearing others on the same route and sometimes, I’m just getting the mileage done, I don’t actually take in the scenery. So, I was more conscious on the return and wanted to enjoy it. Having said that, I didn’t walk too much and before long I was running back, albeit, at a slower pace.

Holiday time: I have been away to Cornwall for the last week as well. Obviously, it would be sacrilegious of me not to take my running gear. Staying near the intended attraction (The Eden Project) I found a nice little 5.7k route on the map. 

Heading out on the first night for a recon, I found out that it wasn’t as straightforward as first thought on the map. It was hillier than expected. I should’ve known better, what with driving down, the roads were up and down, a LOT.

No matter, I decide that I’d do a run round the route everyday, on top of all the walking I’d be doing too, to see the sights.

 The 50m rise towards the end of the run was ‘interesting’. I seem to find a hill and put it in my running regardless of where I am. It’s all good though. Good for all sorts of reasons. And, I can feel the benefits of the hill reps, sprints and routes. I did manage to get my name on the local leaderboard on Strava lol. 

It’s nice to know a route is being used by others, after you’ve run it. And, did that mean I tried to get faster… Well… Yup, I couldn’t resist trying to get a better position on the segment list on Strava so much so, I went on to be top of the leaderboard by 4 seconds for the year but, 2nd overall. There was no way I could make up the other 20seconds that the 1st place chap had stuck on the list. My legs were giving everything they could the last time I tried it. I was happy with my performance and again, happy that my paced seems to be levelling out regardless of the ups and downs.

During my stay down in Cornwall, I planned to go and see Perranporth as I have old family ties to the area, my great grandad came from there.

I was happy to sit on Perranporth sands and watch the local surfers catch the waves. I did take my running gear too and decided to try out the Mudclaws on the sand. I wasn’t disappointed. They did great.

I ran a short 2.1k route to the top of a hill and back taking in a very large sand dune. I was knackered going up but the shoes worked well in the loose stuff. They are really grippy on the wetter stuff too. Very happy with my choice and they fit well too.

So… All in all, I’ve done a fair bit and throw in interval sessions and a couple of hill sessions things seem to be paying off. 

LOTS & LOTS more miles to do and not forgetting some of the LONG runs I’ve got planned, I’m gonna be a busy boy for sometime to come.

Are you noticing the results you want from your training? What’s your next race?

Keep on keeping on. K

Blog at

Up ↑