Midweek racing at the Beckenham relays

There’s something about a midweek race. There’s a certain pleasure, I feel, to finishing a day of work, then heading off, not simply to run, but to race. On my way to the Beckenham 2.6-mile relays, I mulled over the midweek races I’d taken part in: the Bugatti 10k over a couple of years in…

Post-Fellsman: checking my legs still work

My legs still work. I’ve just checked: a 45-minute trot on muddy trails and around playing fields in the London drizzle. I even managed to wander up a few minor hills with relative ease. Everything – joyously – is intact. For all its hardness, the Fellsman did not destroy me. The pleasure from being uninjured and…

Surviving the Fellsman

The Fellsman has redefined what I understand about running. I have run ‘properly’ since I was a teenager, from the middle distance races I ran as a schoolboy and the road half-marathons and marathons of my 20s, to the gradual transition to fell, hill, mountain and trail, and now, ultras. Over the years, I’ve often…

The psychology of the long-distance run

I ran 33 miles on Monday. I have never walked or ran further on a single day before. The run was three miles longer than my Winter Tanners in January, but – taking 5 hours and 20 minutes – lasted an hour longer. My transition to ultra-running hasn’t been seamless; it has required a whole…

Another Bob Graham recce: 11 hours, 13 summits, 35 miles

My body aches. It aches in a way that only two days of Bob Graham recce can induce. My quads ache. My thighs ache. Even my arms ache. But, to corrupt that hackneyed saying: 11 hours and 35 miles on the Lakeland fells will make me stronger. Apart from the inevitable ache, the consequences of…

Bob Graham: three months and counting…

I intend to give this Bob Graham round malarkey a crack in early-June. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend seems an appropriate juncture. That’s less than three months away. Time is ticking dangerously fast. I’m not ready. Of course, I’m not ready. I’ll never be truly ready. Just as ready as I can be. Having said…

‘Tough little buggers’

The Bob Graham round has dominated the outdoors news this week. First US ultra-runner Nick Clark ran through atrocious weather to Wasdale before calling it a day. Then two members of Cockermouth mountain rescue team got all the way round with minutes to spare. The challenge set by Rob and I seemed meagre in comparison:…

The world’s most beautiful silouette?

With a Bob Graham recce – utterly weather dependent, of course – scheduled for Friday, a yomp (with 500 metres of overall height gain) over Worcestershire Beacon was a sensible preparatory exercise. I ran from Malvern itself, climbing North Hill via a zigzagging path to a wind-blasted summit. It was beautiful. A retreating sun was…

Preparing to meet Bob

I am taking Askwithian advice when it comes to training for my Bob Graham round (pencilled in for spring 2012): ‘The only regimes that work are those that you can accommodate in your life.’ The question is, how much can I physically (and emotionally) accommodate? It is a gruelling undertaking training for a 70-mile run that involves thousands of…

Recovery…

Post-marathon recoveries are tricky things to get right. After London in April, I abandoned the sport for a fortnight, then ran 30 miles in the following three days. My body was all at sea. There was an illustration of how not to recover after a marathon. After the Lakeland Trails Marathon  in July, I was running sections of the…

Bob Graham musings

After emerging unscathed (and just a little bit weary) from the Lakeland Trails Marathon, I had the rest of the week to focus my athletic endeavours on the Bob Graham round. Not doing it, of course, but running the rule over various sections of the 60-odd mile route – and ultimately deciding whether such an undertaking is…

Bob Graham round recce – day 2

My right ankle began hurting in the Borrowdale Hotel as we recovered (and rehydrated) from our six-hour effort in the fells. By the following morning, the pain had magnified. Something felt badly damaged. We were all in a similarly sorry state, comparing sore ankles, feet, knees and quads. Sensibly, we took the day off running,…