Latest Thoughts

16/03/23 - Training Others and Being Myself

I've always run alone - if you only count humans, dogs are special. But I can literally count the number of times (excluding races) I have run with other people on two fingers of one hand. Twice in over seven years. it's not that I'm anti-social although I prefer my own company and that of close friends and I'm very happy with that. But I find that I like to do what I do when I want to do it, if I want to run I will. If I want to run and then instead of a 5 mile run turn it into a 20 mile run then I will.  Having other people around constrains that. If it sounds selfish thats because it probably is but I will tell you what - It means your training isn't limited by others. If I want to spend a day running an ultra for no other reason than pleasure I can. I don't have to conform to being somewhere at a certain time, I don't have to consider other peoples feelings that they may want to do something different. 

I'm probably on the autism spectrum somewhere, I get told that in work because they deal with kids with it a lot these days and reckon I exhibit lots of traits.  To be honest I couldn't care less because the key to all this is that I'm happy. And as far as I'm concerned is that you can't really ask for more than that in life. How many other people out there surrounding themselves with people either physically or digitally are truly happy?  These days I have the deep rooted sense of happiness, the one you feel all the time, not just when something nice happens. I love my life, I'm grateful for it. 

Now others might not see that because they tend to see the side of me that has little time for strangers or small talk. They see the agitated me that feels forced to socially interact. Time is a commodity, I don't like to waste it now - perhaps that's a function  of the aging process.  If i'm lying on the sofa and Murph isn't requiring a cuddle then within minutes i'll feel like I could be doing something else, more productive, stretching, reading, researching. I can't simply watch a screen. Improve, rinse repeat.

And so with all that said - I have become entangled in training other people to run a half marathon in October. A group consisting of friends, acquaintances and complete strangers. This means I have to run with people, this means I have to socially interact with people while running and possibly the most difficult part I'm dealing with is having to be at a certain time and a certain place to take the training sessions. It's terrifying - I feel like I've lost control of my ability to do what I want, when i want. At the moment we have only done a few runs on a sunday and each time i'm itching to be somewhere else, free and just running where and how I feel.  And this is without having to run on the roads with them (although they will be on the trails whether they like it or not once the ground improves)

But as with all my other projects I'm going to do this. I'm going to give it the best of my ability. I'm going to get these people around that half marathon course as long as they put in the effort on their side. I will be patient and understand that not everyone has the drive that I do.  It occurred to me that is is my project for Equinox one. Three months to get this training group off the ground and headed in the right direction. Put the focus I put into my own training into training others as well. I suspect I will get as much out of it in the end as they will. Already Murph is gaining confidence in running with strangers. He isn't 100% happy about it but he is coping - and he can do it so can I.

I just messaged the group to say its 9.30 on sunday as it was last week - this is horrendously late for me, i'll have been up since 6 and so its likely to be my second run of the day, Instead of just thinking about what else I could be doing instead of a 2.75 mile loop around the roads I'm going to focus on what i can bring to the table for these people. There's a lot they don't know, theres a lot I could tell them, i just need to work out how.  You gotta love a challenge right?

28/02/23 - Preseli Training & Poles

Read the full story and watch the video in the new Ultrarunning section

17/02/23 - Measuring Progress

Always be prepared to change and adapt. When I first started running I was in love with all the metrics and statistics that first my phone app told, then I gravitated to a running watch. At first progress is fast and provides that dopamine hit of "I'm doing well, look at  how far/fast I can go compared to this time last month or whenever" but progress inevitably slows until the runs start to merge into each other. And so the metrics simply become a way to keep score - mileage mainly.  At that point I realised I was starting to lose the initial joy of running, it was starting to become work. I remember writing a post about it at the time. It's the exercise verison of the 7 year itch I guess. It's no longer new, shiny and exciting.  And so I cut myself off the metrics, I stopped logging miles or wearing a watch, I knew where I ran well enough to gauge miles if I needed to - and I didn't. And I just started running and training by feel - Purely to enjoy it and feel no pressure. Purists and trainers might at this point throw their hands up in horror, after all how could I judge if I was progressing or ready for ultras apart from some nebulous feeling that I couldn't quantify.  And I'm sure it did have drawbacks as I only ran when i felt like running. But that was the point, by running only when i wanted to I rekindled my love of it. Running no longer felt like a job, I was just enjoying the feeling of movement and being alive in nature. I even ran ultras with no watch and judged my efforts by perceived time (this wasn't a great success in outcome but was liberating to not care for a long race about time) I trained like this for some years - I say trained but is it training when you're just out enjoying yourself?

But lately i've swung back to measurements and metrics. I've thought about why this is and I think it's because now I have set in stone goals - Ultras and strength - I need a basis by which to measure progress again. I have a Coros smartwatch which I must admit is fantastic and does everything I need runningwise - which to be honest isn't much as I still run a lot by feel.  Heartrate is something I take note of more now though as I know that to complete the longer distances I need to keep it low and preferably below 135 to remain aerobic. I know from experience that when running long too much time spent working anaerobically is burning matches at a rate I can't sustain and will scupper my chances of a finish or at least a good finish.  Heartrate is something I'll touch on again in a future post.

The measurements are principally coming to the fore in my weightlifting though. I am religiously journaling each session as it's become crystal clear to me that I cant strength train as I do run - by feel.  I have developed a training plan which relies on the feedback from previous sessions to create a number of cycles that should promote performance gains. if I don't log the numbers I can't plan for the future. It's become an invaluable record of what i've done and so when i begin each session I know exactly what I need to do. In fact the polar opposite of what i do running wise. I've developed my own code and shorthand so I have a complete reference point at a glance.  If you start to strength train I'd highly advise doing this from day one.  A series of numbers will tell you all you need to know as you build the foundations.

Each day contains the number of pressups, pullups, core, mobility and 50 movement challenges. Then the lifts for that day complete with the weight, reps and sets. 

Each day contains the number of pressups, pullups, core, mobility and 50 movement challenges. Then the lifts for that day complete with the weight, reps and sets. 

03/02/23 - Thoughts on rest

I have a problem and it might be one that others would love to have. I now can't stop. Whereas others might have problems starting something new like a fitness regime I have now found I can't stop.  Something I've become better at over the years is learning to listen to my body and stop it breaking down before it hits injury rather than having to rehab afterwards.   And at the moment it's saying I need a bit of a break. So I've decided to take a few weeks off running completely, heal up the niggles and let things just take a break. I'm fine with that although generally I'd rather be out running at least I get to be outside with the dog and it's kind of nice to just chill with him instead of moving with purpose.  I've also reached the end of the third cycle of weightlifting and so I'm taking the 4 day break from that too as part of the cycle as a whole. 

But doing both at the same time is so odd. It feels like I lack purpose, no running, no lifting.  And I know that should feel great - I can relax, kick back, do nothing, really take a break, like it's a holiday.  I'm sure it's what normal people do, relax and stuff. But something internal still drives me to do my mobility, stretching, push and pullups.  I said i'd do them every day, I guess I really did mean every day and that's the difference now, I don't just say i'll do it, I do it. And I know only I care and that's part of the point. If I can motivate myself to do these things with no external pressure or reward - Then I really am getting somewhere in the mental strength stakes.

So while the body recovers and gets ready to go again - because I know it's what it needs - I can still tick it over and tick my mental boxes too with the small stuff.


I realised while doing the daily 50 squats as part of the years challenge that i had completed one month of it. Every day 50 squats, add to that the 20 I do for my mobility plus the 30 or so I do most nights while letting Murph out before bed. So most days in January i've done 100 squats - not bad going. Tomorrow 50 of something else - I haven't decided yet. 

In fact January has gone very well, I've done what i needed to do when i needed to do it and you can't ask for more than that.  I've got off my ass and run two races. I've progressed my weightlifting and this cycle is bringing new personal bests though lets face it everything is a pb in the early days.  This site has begun to slowly take shape and I've updated a little.  So the journeys have begun and so far the sailing is good.


There is a chapter in the Discworld book Thud! (I believe) in which Sam Vimes - Commander of the Watch is home to read to his son at 6PM every night. On this particular day he doesn't notice time passing and is nearly late - and so he and his staff brings the entire city to a standstill as traffic is stopped to get him home by 6. Why do I mention this and why did it pop into my head as relevant today?  Once he gets back to read to his son it is explained thus. If he was to be 5 minutes late would it really matter?  It's just 5 minutes.  But he knows thats where the slide begins. If he can be 5 minutes late, he can be 10. And if he can be 10 then maybe 30. And then if 30 an hour is fine. And then surely it's ok to miss a day. And so inevitably the end of the reading to his son.   

And the reason this is relevant to me and hopefully to others is that if you're going to do something - you do it without fail. Not half- heartedly or sometimes.   So every day I do my mobility exercises, my core, my 50 challenge movement for that month. if its not a (rare) rest day I do my weights, I run.  Every day no matter the weather Murph gets his walks. No missing them. Every day I eat healthily. I get to bed on time for sleep.   Because it would (and has been in the past) easy to miss one day, one session and just like Sam Vimes I know that can slip into 2 days and then the excuses flow. 

So I'm accountable to myself every day. No matter what  since the first of September I get it done. I've gone as far as getting out of my warm bed to do press-ups as I've realised I'm 20 short.

It sounds like madness but to me now it's anything but. 

23/1/23 - Kymin Fell Race

16/1/23 - Craig Yr Allt Fell race


I am receiving a daily email from a site/supplier with advice on how to run ultras - more specifically I think your first. At the end of the day I may pick up some useful advice from people who know more than I do. As usual I'll sift the information for that which I need. And it's all been well and good and some of it has made me think - which is never a bad thing. And then on this particular email the very last piece of advice is this "Enjoy the challenge. Soon enough you’ll be too old to run ultras and a bit longer after that you’ll be dead, so enjoy it. "

What a crock of shit - well the age thing at least - and I won't name the author. There are loads of inspirational people running ultras in later life. Admittedly we all die so they have that bit spot on.  Perhaps it's all tongue in cheek and probably is but statements like that fire me up because they add to the illusion that people are too old to achieve things like ultras. Tongue in cheek or not it still propagates that myth and if it discourages one person from trying it's one too many.

So no you wont be too old to run ultras soon enough. if you want to do it get out there and make it happen. In fact use this very sentence as fuel - I know I will.