Weekend Runs

My plan for my weekend runs was an easier road run on Saturday as the final recovery run since last Saturday’s Hardmoors 55 race and then on Sunday to be back up on the Braes for at least 9miles but maybe 11.

Saturday – road run

I wore my Sketchers and set off with the idea that if my legs were feeling good I might do a tempo run for 4 miles after a warm up mile.  It didn’t take long to bin that idea as the wind and rain was pretty strong and wet.

So I decided to run nice and easy spending the time going over the Hardmoors 55 in my mind. Shirley, one of the race organisers, sent me the paper copy of the splits from Osmotherley so I entered them onto a spread sheet and worked out all the runners times.

I always find it interesting afterwards to see how I got on in relation to the rest of the field. I’ve picked out the top 3 runners then a few people who finished around me.

summary of splits

I was 41st at Osmotherley and finished 30th. I was 25th fastest from Osmotherley to the end which confirms what I was feeling on the day! But even better than my run was Mark Dalton who was 49th at Osmotherley and finished 29th! Impressive Mark.

I also merged the 2015 results into the all time list of runners for the Hardmoors 55.  I’m 61st out of 542 who have completed the race at least once.

Sunday – Gleniffer Braes Run with Cammie

My friend Cammie has entered the Devil O’ the Highlands race in August. It will be his first ultra having completed lots of other endurance challenges such as an Ironman and swimming the full length of Loch Lomond!

It was good to have a run together and I showed him my Gleniffer Braes loop. I also gave my new Hoka Mafate Speed shoes a first try out.

03-29 Mafate Speed

They feel a bit narrower around the toes so I could feel my bunion a bit but I reckon once I’ve run in them a few time they will expand a bit and be fine. The grip feels lot better with a more aggressive sole.

That is the first time I’ve run with Cammie even though I’ve know him since we came to Paisley. Cammie was in the church where I was Pastor.

03-29 with cammieWe had a great time chatting about lots of things. Cammie has used the Maffatone approach to his Ironman so well used to running to HR so we spent time chatting about that. he has enjoyed reading the various posts on this blog. There are more comments on my post from Thursday you may want to check out if you missed them.

Cammie was running very well and looks on course to having a great run in August at the Devils. We plan a few more runs together on Ben Lomond and the Kilpatricks in the next few months.

I have now completed the Jantastic Challenge. I finished on 100% without having to use a joker!

Janatstic 03-29Our Kilbarchan AAC team have done really well and I look forward to seeing whether we managed to stay near the top of the overall leader board.

The key thing is though that we are ahead of Giffnock North … what was the prize again Neal & Caroline????

Posted in Easy run, Gleniffer Braes, Jantastic Challenge | Leave a comment

In-depth responses from Robert and Stuart

Tonight Katrina decided to do her 22 mile run in her build up to the London marathon after work because the weather forecast for Saturday was for lots of wind. She set off at 4.40pm and planned to do 3 loops coming back to the house after each loop so she could take some Lucozade or water.

I decided to join her for one of the loops to give her some company. Katrina had already run 11 miles when I joined her. We ran just over 6 miles together then while I came in for a shower and some food Katrina was off again for her final 5miles.  This is her last long run before the London Marathon and she’s going well!

The Hardmoors 55 results have been published. I finished 30th out of 269 starters (244 finished). I was also 5th MV50.  Shirley has sent me the splits from Osmotherley so once I have sorted them out I will post those. I will also update the all time personal best sheet as well.

If you have read this blog over the past few days you will be aware of my experiment of running to HR and how that went. A number of fellow runners have left comments and it’s been very interesting to see various viewpoints.

I was wondering whether my good friend Stuart Mills might comment and he didn’t disappoint. Stuart has a totally different approach to ultras summed up by the phrase ‘run as hard as you can for as long as you can.’

So Robert, who has helped me with my run to a specific HR, and Stuart have very different approaches to running ultra races and I love the fact that they see thing from a different viewpoint.

They are able to take the same stats, in this case my Hardmoors race and come up with differing opinions. Debate is always good and I really want to thank both of them for taking the time to comment on my post from Tuesday.

I’m sure many will have missed their comments so I thought it would be worthwhile copy and pasting their comments in this blog. It will make it quite long but no-one is forcing anyone to read it!!  But I suspect many will as it’s fascinating!!

First of Robert left this comment ….

Another great article John.

The Strava HR zones charts shows how daft these “zones” can be when applying them to ultra races. From your description of your race it sounds like you spent very little time any where near lactate threshold, staying aerobic pretty well all the way – basically in the “Endurance zone” but the strava chart suggests you spent practically no time there. It pretty well proves that these charts are useless for Ultra analysis.

The max HR formula of 220-age is pretty useless as well. The only way to work out max HR is to go an testing in an a physical session. A progressive hill run is a good way of finding roughly where your max might be.

However, your max isn’t particularly important to performance anyway. Far more relevant is your HR at lactate threshold as this gives us the point when you are transitionally away from aerobic to anaerobic. Setting your race heart rates as a % of the LT HR is probably the best way.

For the table that I prepared that list average race HR to time of race, listed above in the article, I derived this table my fitting a exponential curve to actual race data from John and myself. I used the equation for the fitted curve to then estimate the average HR for a range of race times. It not only allows one to have an educated guess at average HR to races between the ones we had data for, but also extrapolate beyond where we had data. In both our cases we didn’t have any race data for 24+ so it was a useful guide.

These curves won’t be set in stone though. If your fitness changes significantly between years then the target HR might change. For my case, over the last year I’ve changed my approach to training and now train every day and have seen big changes in my HR for a given pace (around 10bpm lower for a given pace than last year.) My LT is a bit lower, but not by 10bpm, my guess is that my target HR will likely be reduced by around the same amount as my LT HR. Before my next big race – the Fling I’ll do some tempo runs to explore where my LT might now be. My resting HR is probably lower too, which again might shift the curve a bit.

Another factor in play, is that if I’m fitter then I’ll be finishing the races quicker. The quicker you finish the higher the average HR you’ll likely be able to manage. I saw this with my 2012 Fling race where I finished in 10:46 with an average HR of 152, while in 2014 finished in 9:43 with an average HR of 154. If you look at the table then this difference fits quite well.

I’m hoping for a sub 9hr Fling this year, and if I can pull it off the chart suggests that I could do it with an average HR of around 155, but as my HR/pace is so different now. With my training logs I have estimators for how my training runs would extrapolate to race finishing times, based on the last month of training these suggests that an average HR of 148 would be enough for me to do a 9hr Fling. Does this mean I’ve got some leeway? If LT HR and race HR has dropped more than this though 9hr’s could still be out of reach.

The only way to find out is to RACE :-)

In terms of racing vs pacing by HR. If you finish with your fastest possible time then you’ll likely be as far up the field as you can possibly be. The only difference would be whether your pacing alters the attitude to racing of others around you. A tactically burst of speed can break a competitors will to lay chase. Also passing someone in a positive fashion rather than inching past them can also break the will to attempt racing to the line. A failed move where you exhaust yourself and are only pass by a small margin and then not keep pulling away could be fatal though, your competitor could see that race is still within reach and they could dig deep and re-pass you.

One way to use HR pacing tactically is to use it for the first half to three quarters of the race to get you most of the way to finish in the best possible shape and still running strongly. For many competitors you face you don’t slow down but they do will mean your relative speed of passing is actually really positive even though you might not have altered your speed since the start. Passing someone when you are looking really fresh, happy and committed could be enough for them to not consider trying to up their pace to keep up.

For those that are still running competitively in the last quarter of the race, tactics of changing pace could still be utilized even when pacing by HR. If you feel you need to build some distance between you and someone chasing you then rather than thinking just for a short distance ahead, think in terms of the next 10 minutes of race you’ll up your tempo a little just to put them under pressure. For this spell you could raise your target HR range to up your pace, but stick with trying to stay within this range, so you are still running as efficiently as you can on the ups, flats and downs. It might be the they’ll try and stick with your pace on the ascents but then struggle on the flats and descents if you keep the pressure on. Once you’ve lost the chaser you could then let the HR range drop back to a safer region so you don’t do too much damage to your prospects of keep a good steady pace up.

Another thing you can do is listen to your body, if you are feeling fresh in the last half of race and feel that it’s safe to push on harder moving the target HR range higher. Upping it by just a few bpm for a while would be one way of just testing the waters. Listen to your body, if it’s happy then stick with the higher range, if you are struggling then dial things back.

Stuart gave a different opinion ….

Hi John, Firstly well done on a good run at the Hardmoors 55 last weekend, which setting a PB by nearly 35 minutes, quicker than your 2014 time, clearly demonstrates that you ran well. However, I’m sure you won’t be upset by my following comments as I know you that through your running and your analysis one of your aims is to gain a greater understanding of ultra trail running and performance and hence always keen to continue to learn.

Now, I know you made the clear statement in your post above “I would never say to others that they should run like I do ” and this is my approach as well. I have my opposite approach “Run as fast as you can, while you can”. But I don’t tell runners to adopt this approach. I simply put my thoughts, and my experiences ‘out there’ to help make runners aware that there are different approaches. The difficult thing is trying to interpret which approach is best. Or in fact is there a best?

So, let’s get to my point, which you asked within your post, but then didn’t answer: “I suppose the question is could I have gone faster by ‘racing’ like Dave did?” Now, although you didn’t answer this question, from some of your comments there is some indication that YES you could have gone faster if you raced. Your comment; “I definitely did not feel I was racing the Hardmoors 55. In fact there were times when I was deliberately holding myself back even after 30 or 40 miles. I felt in good shape and could easily have been 10-15mins faster to the half-way point.” clearly indicates that you could have run much faster to half-way. So why didn’t you? Perhaps explained by your comment; “Robert pointed out that by going over my target by a few beats per minute meant that I was going into debt which I would pay for.” But is this really the case?

As you know from my racing approach I clearly believe that this isn’t the case. But I don’t want to get into a ‘pub chat’ on who’s belief is right and who’s is wrong. Rather I would just like to provide some numerical data which might clarify things, and this is where you may get upset, in that I suspect that you ran at least 26 minutes slower than you could have. So to answer your question “Could I have gone faster by ‘racing’ like Dave did?” Yes, by at least 26 minutes! Now with that statement best I provide the data to justify it!

Now before people start criticising me that running a half marathon on the road is different to running a 55 mile trail ultra, yes I know that there is a difference, so performances aren’t going to exactly match. But there isn’t going to be that much difference between two similar aged runners, with similar training and racing backgrounds. It isn’t like we are trying to compare a 20 year old 5km racer moving up to the half marathon with a 55 year old 100 miler ultra runner moving down to the half marathon.

I believe that John you are 56 years old and Dave Troman is 47 years old. So he is nine years younger than you, but I don’t think this nine year age difference ‘ruins’ the data that follows. In fact one could conclude that perhaps with Dave being younger one would expect him to perform better than you at a half marathon and therefore the gap between the two of you should be less within a 55 mile race.

So finally the data. You recently ran the Inverness half marathon in 1:26:19 which is 86.3 minutes. You finished Hardmoors 55 in 9:35:40 which is 575.7 minutes. Dave finished Hardmoors 55 in 8:24:07 which is 504.1 minutes. He therefore ran 71.6 minutes faster than you, which when expressed as a percentage of your finish time, he ran 12.44% quicker than you.

Now if we assume that this percentage difference between the two of you EXACTLY translates to the same percentage difference in your finish times for a half marathon, then if Dave was to run a road half marathon and run it 12.44% quicker than you, his half marathon time would be 75:36. Now I don’t know what Dave would run for a road half marathon at the moment, but I would buy him a bottle of Scotch Whiskey if he is able to run 75:36. Taking a calculated guess at what I think he could achieve for a road half marathon, I would suggest a sub 80 minute time could be possible. To keep calculations simple, let’s say he can run four minute slower than the equivalent finish time, so assume that he could run 79:36.

John, perhaps you could ask Dave to provide details of his most recent half marathon finish time. Or if he doesn’t run half marathons, probably better to ask him for a ‘guess’ at what his absolute best finish time would be.

I am therefore suggesting that in fact there isn’t a 12.44% difference in performance level between the two of you. And the only reason your Hardmoors 55 finish times resulted in Dave running 12.44% faster than you was due to your even HR pacing strategy! Where does the “you ran at least 26 minutes slower than you could have” come from. This is based on your half marathon finish time of 86.3 minutes, so every minute equates to 1.159% of your finish time. Now as I am guessing that Dave can’t run the equivalent performance half marathon time of 75:36, I am suggesting that his performance level is four minutes slower, that equates to 4 x 1.159 = 4.64% So if my guess is right re Dave’s performance level, or you could interpret it as running ability, or physiological fitness, then Dave should have ran only 7.80% quicker than you (12.44 – 4.64). So have actually underperformed by 4.64% which equates to 26.7 minutes. Yes if you race to your true potential as demonstrated by your recent half marathon finish time, you should have broken nine hours ten minutes, over 26 minutes quicker. You would have been right on the heels of the Mens 50 category winner Neil Ridsdale who finished in a time of 9:09:08. Now wouldn’t that have been exciting, racing for a win in the Mens 50 category!

It would be good to get Dave’s comments on his half marathon guess, which may in fact be slower than 80 minutes. So this would indicate that you underperformed even more! Sorry about this John. I hope you aren’t too upset with my above logic. I hope my maths is correct. Because assuming the maths is correct, then how does one explain your under-performing. Maybe I have got it wrong, it wasn’t you under-performing, but Dave over-performing. Why did he over-perform? Perhaps he adopted a better pacing strategy and raced the Hardmoors. Simple really, racing is quicker than running!

Hopefully this lengthy comment will not exceed comment word limits and will submit okay, so best I stop this comment here. I welcome your response John and response from others, to help me understand why at first glance it appears your run was a good run, but yet you under-performed!

To conclude. John, you set out and achieved what you wanted to achieve at the Hardmoors 55 last weekend, as you state within your post “I definitely did achieve my objective of having a great day, running a time which far exceeded my expectations finishing strongly with a smile on my face”. I think the key word here is “EXPECTATIONS”. Were your expectations set far too low?

Keep up the thought provoking blog posts John. They are excellent in encouraging us to really think about many trail running aspects and how they relate to performance. Thanks, Stuart

Then Robert responded …..

Wow Stuart, an impressive ability to just make stuff up but put specific figures to it anyway.

The thing to compare is not two different runners against each other when you actually have one runner who’s done the same course two years on the trot. You can indeed look at whether there is correlation in half marathon times vs Hardmoors 55 time, but the most useful thing is to compare it based on John’s half marathon times in 2014 and 2015, and look at the Hardmoors ratio in 2014, 2015.

Unfortunately I don’t see a record of half in 2014 for John on his race page:


The closest relevant races was the were John’s 1:26:59 at the Aviemore half in October 2013, and the 1:27:36 in Inverness half in March 2013. These are pretty close % wise to John’s 1:26:19 at this years Inverness half. Clearly John’s basic aerobic fitness is better this year, but not by a significant margin over 2013, only 1.5% at most. In 2014 John had a really good year of training and racing too, so I believe it’s unlikely that the difference in aerobic fitness is more than a 1 or 2%.

Compare this to the two H55 times, 10:10:25 in 2014 vs 9:35:40, which is 6% faster.

2% fitter and 6% faster….

Last year John ran harder in the first half in the HM55, this year he ran harder in the second half.

So last year he ran closer to the “run as fast as you can as long as you can” model, which this year he took an approach of even HR and intensity.

We don’t have to make anything up, John has provided us with all the evidence, you can choose to ignore or accept that just perhaps part of John’s improvement could be the pacing strategy.

Not only did John go 6% faster he enjoyed the second half of the race when he was running so well more. Faster and more fun.

I have no doubt that John could go faster though. If John had been more focused on competing he may well of been able to go faster throughout the whole day, if John had pushed on just a little more, with a slightly high HR zone it would have been tougher for sure, but if he could have kept the pace up as he did then he could have gone faster. It’s a big gamble. For every extra BPM high of average HR in a 10hr race you can probably make around 6 minutes faster. For John to be able to go another 6 minutes faster still then he’d need to have run at an average HR of around 141.

We know from previous races that John’s average HR of 141 would equate to around a 7hr race. This is two hours lower than 9hr race so would be a big ask.

These figures do assume that John’s running economy wouldn’t go down with running harder. We do know that faster your run the greater your incur muscle damage and the greater your deplete glycogen, so have to burn more fat subsequently, which in turn requires more oxygen and higher heart rate, which all together makes your running economy worse as fatigue builds up through the race. The faster you race the faster your running economy goes down, so the HR for a given pace would fall, so to keep the required pace up John may to achieve a 9:10 HM55 would need an average HR above 141.

If you then deliberately go out faster, this debt in muscle damage and glycogen depletion just gets worse and the average running economy goes down and HR for a given pace goes up. So with a “run as fast as your can for as far as you can” would require John to reach an even higher average HR. How much higher? I don’t know as there isn’t enough science available yet to quantify. My guess is that it could well be several BPM.

So.. quite quickly we are requiring John to run harder than he’s ever been able to manage before but without blowing up.

I actually believe John could run a 9:10 H55, but not this year, and certainly not with altering approach to pacing. The way John would need to be make progress from here if he really really wants to go significantly faster is in improving fat burning further, and improving general aerobic fitness (which is already pretty stella :-)

If you do want to look at Dave as comparison, he will likely have a different fast fibre/slow fibre mix to John, he also has a different year on year training history, achieved different levels of performance. My guess that Dave’s best performances fall into a different set of race distances to John.

Well all excel at different distances. you can’t compare Linford Christie to Mo Farah at the 100m, or 10k, or Mo Farah against Yiannis Kouros at the 24hr. Different athletes have different strengths at different distances.

All really interesting stuff! I respect Robert and Stuart so much and again thank them for their help. I remember once chatting to Stuart for one of our whw podcasts and it was clear that Stuart gets a lot of buzz and energy from leading a big race, arriving at checkpoints when they are not quite ready etc.

I do feel I get my buzz or energy from running the second half of a race stronger than those around me. In 2011 and 2012 I had a couple of tough years when I had some death marches to finish races.

I decided in 2013 to change my approach and one of my key aims is to enjoy the race and finish strong with a smile on my face. It has really helped and maybe I could go a little faster but would I enjoy it as much??

I do wonder though for the sake of another experiment whether I should try Stuart’s approach for the Cateran 55 in 7 weeks time?????

Any comments on the above welcome but try not to criticise the person!

Posted in Heart Rate | 9 Comments

Questions about running to Heart Rate

A good indicator of how well an ultra-race has gone for me is how quickly I can recover.  I didn’t run Sunday or Monday but I did cycle to work yesterday and today. My legs are feeling better by the day so I went out for an easy run after work.

Katrina continues to build up to the London Marathon so we went out for an easy run together. We had a good chat as we ran round one of our regular loops.

Thank you to everyone who has left a comment about the Hardmoors 55 race. The thing that most people have commented on or asked about is my running to a certain heart rate.

So I thought it might be helpful to answer some of the questions here so others can contribute as well. Firstly let me say that I’m not an expert. I did some physiology at College when I trained as a PE teacher but that was 35 years ago! I’m coming more from a ‘what seems to be working for me’ position.  I don’t expect anyone to think this is the only way to run.

In fact Dave and I had a good chat after the Hardmoors race about this and Dave made the point that we both improved from last year but had very different tactics. Dave was very much racing especially when he was in 3rd place with the 4th placed runner only a couple of minutes behind him with 10miles to go. He was only focused on keeping that podium position. Time wasn’t a factor though obviously by running faster to stay ahead he ended up running a pb!

So here are my thoughts on a few questions that people have asked on Facebook or email. If this is not your thing then click away now. I know that this is only one way of running ultras.

There are many successful ways to approach to running long distances.  If you have read my friend Stuart Mill’s blog you will know that this is polar opposite to his ‘run as fast as you can for as long as you can’ strategy!

Question 1: How do you work out the best hr to run a race at? What % of max HR are the thresholds?

I suppose the key to getting the best performance is knowing what HR to aim for.  I’m 56 so my maximum HR is roughly 220-56 = 164 (+or-10). I did a max VO2 test 6 years ago and my maximum was 172. They reckon it drops by 1 beat per year but I’m working on 170 for now. So 137 is 80% of my maximum which seems high so maybe my maximum is higher than 170??

So here are my zones from the Hardmoors 55 (thanks to Strava!) …

hr zonesI didn’t just come up with 137. In fact it was nothing to do with me! My friend Robert Osfield sent me a spread sheet with target heart rates for races ranging from 3hrs to 48hrs. He based these on a variety of races I had already done that I had the HR for.

Maybe I should ask Robert to do a guest post and he can explain how he came up with these figures? Here is a copy of the list for me and for Robert  up to 23hrs ….

hr listRobert is younger than I am so his maximum HR will be higher.

Last year for the Hardmoors 110 Robert suggested a HR of 124 for a race lasting 28hrs which was my target so I trusted him and went with it. I wasn’t quite so disciplined at this last race but I did keep an eye on my HR especially over the first 5-6 hrs of the race. Sadly my Suunto didn’t save the data so I couldn’t review how I got on.

I finished strongly in that race which gave me the confidence to try it again for the Hardmoors 60 aiming for 135. In that race in September I was good for the first 10 miles to Salturn but then let my enthusiasm run away with me and for the next 12miles my average was 142 which I paid for during the final 10miles. Robert pointed out that by going over my target by a few beats  per minute meant that I was going into debt which I would pay for.

For this race I kept that in mind and made sure I didn’t let my HR go over 142.  It was quite hard at times especially when you are running with others and know you could easily keep running up the hill and stay with them.

I had to continually remind myself that this is a bigger picture strategy and if it works I’ll catch those who are ahead! But in the end it was all about my race and trying a different strategy than the one I normally use.

So if anyone is wanting to try this they will need to work out the HR to aim for based on the race length, their age and fitness.  I would be interested to hear how others work out their target HR?

Question 2: One thing I’m interested to find out is whether by running as you did by heart rate you think you ‘raced’ the Hardmoors?

You may say that by running by heart rate you didn’t have your ‘race hat’ on which meant there were times when you didn’t push it – perhaps to catch someone up or overtake someone – but that you still achieved your objective which was to finish in a good time and run strong.

I definitely did not feel I was racing the Hardmoors 55. In fact there were times when I was deliberately holding myself back even after 30 or 40 miles. I felt in good shape and could easily have been 10-15mins faster to the half-way point.

But I definitely did achieve my objective of having a great day, running a time which far exceeded my expectations finishing strongly with a smile on my face.  Shirley is going to send me the splits which I’m looking forward to sorting out as I’m interested to see how I compared to the rest of the field especially in my split from Osmotherley to Helmsley. A couple of runners went past me but I caught a good number.

I suppose the question is could I have gone faster by ‘racing’ like Dave did?  I do think there is a difference between those at the sharp end of the race where tactics come into it and the rest of us who are really competing against the clock and the course. I don’t know where I finished and it doesn’t really bother me because it all depends on who turns up on the day and how many are running. For me I would rather run 9:35:40 and come 100th than 10:35:40 and come 10th but that must be different at the top of the race.

Again I would be interested to hear from those who are at the sharp end. What motivates you: time or position?

Question 3: Should we all be running our races by heart rate?!?

Definitely not!  That would be so boring if we were all the same!! I love the fact that there are ultra-runners who run without a watch, have no idea of splits or times, listen to their body and run accordingly.  I accept that I’m at one extreme with my splits and planning but that suits who I am and for me is part of the fun.  I love all the build-up and working out my splits and strategy. I find it really funny when people enter a race a few days before as I see the race as the cherry on the cake with the cake the training and build up!

I would never say to others that they should run like I do.  But from the comments I’ve had over the past few days there are other runners who are thinking about it and I look forward to hearing how it works out for them. If anyone feels  I can help them please ask!

Posted in Easy run, Heart Rate | 7 Comments

Lessons learnt from Hardmoors 55

One of the many benefits of writing this blog for the last 8 years is I have learnt a lot of lessons from each and every ultra I have run. I like to make a list of these lessons and regularly before running an ultra I will reread what I learnt from last time. Generally I have found that I learn the most from the tough ones but I want to write down what worked well in this one as most things did!!

# Weight loss

At the beginning of the year I weighed 12st 13lbs and I set myself a goal of getting down to under 11st 5lbs by the Hardmoors 55. I didn’t go on a diet but basically ate smaller portions, cut out any snacks and avoided pudding during the week.  As the weight came off and my speed increased it motivated me to keep going.  I weigh myself each Friday morning and I was 11st 3 7/8lbs a day before the race.

weight 03-20# Speed work

I decided this year to change my training a bit. Last year when I did the Hardmoors Grand Slam my ultra-season started on 1st January and finished in September. As my main goal this year is the Lakeland 100 in July I decided to start my ultra-training later in the year.

So I thought it would be an interesting experiment to train for the Inverness Half Marathon in early March with weekly Fartlek and Tempo runs and see what effect that would have on running the Hardmoors 55. Initially I wasn’t going to do any runs over 15 miles but decided that maybe that was silly so did one 25 mile run 6 weeks before the Hardmoors 55.

So my build up to the race was ….

  • Parkrun (Sat) and 25mile off road hilly run (Sun) – 6 weeks before HM 55
  • National Cross Country (12k) – 4 weeks before HM 55
  • Inverness Half Marathon – 2 weeks before HM 55

All three races went really well and I ran faster than I have done for 3-4 years so I knew I was in decent shape. The question I had was whether my lack of long runs would have an effect. I was relying on the fact that I have been running ultras for 8 years now and my legs and cardio systems are well conditioned. Basically they know what to do!

# Heart Rate / Pacing

My normal approach to an ultra is to have specific mini-splits for the whole race. These are based on recce runs or previous races. I like to break the race down into bite size pieces. I have found this has helped me to focus on the next small section (3-4 miles) and let the overall distance take care of itself.  Over the past year I have been trying a different approach and working on running to heart rate but for this race I took it to another level!!

With help from Robert Osfield I had a target HR of 137 for the race. This is based on previous races I have done and my maximum HR (170 bpm). Robert has devised a spread sheet which gives me a target HR for any race from 3hrs to 48hrs. For the Hardmoors 110 last May it was 124 and that worked well. For a race lasting 10hrs it was 137.  So I decided to trust that and aim for that.

One week before the race I went up on the Gleniffer Braes and tried to practise running at 137 and found I was fluctuating widely from 125 to 150. I asked on my blog whether that was okay as long as the average is about right. Robert replied that no it’s not okay!  I need to keep the range as narrow as possible and don’t let your HR go over 142. Rick Williams also sent a link to a very helpful post written by March Laithwaite (Lakeland 100 organiser) who said the same thing.

So I decided I was going to be really disciplined and keep my HR between 132-142 (5 beats either side of my 137 target).  I thought it might be difficult but to be honest I really enjoyed it and gave me a focus for the day which really helped. I kept my Suunto watch screen on HR and every time it went over 142 I slowed down and every time it dropped to 132 I went faster! I had my splits from last year and after each mini-split I had a look and compared where I was.

Here is a comparison between 2014 when I finished in 10:11:36 and this year’s 9:35:37 (times on my watch slightly different to official times) ….

HM55 comparisonAt Lord’s Stones (23 miles) I was only 1min 47 secs up on last year. By Osmotherley (31 miles) I was 6mins 25 secs up but from then on I took bigger chunks of time so by the end I was 35mins 59 secs faster.

Another interesting thing is that my average HR for the whole race is very similar but achieved differently! In 2014 the second section my HR was 143 and for the last section 123 because I was walking more and couldn’t get it any higher. Whereas this year that second section was 138 and the last section 132. So I couldn’t quite keep the effort up at 138 (maybe due to the lack of long runs??) but it was 10 bmp higher than last year and I ran that last section from White Horse 12 mins 42 secs faster!

Throughout the race I tried to visualise keeping my HR graph as straight as possible.  I couldn’t wait to get home, download the data from my watch and see what it looked like (sad I know!!). I was chuffed to see this  ….

HR 03-21As a comparison here is my HR graph from 2014 ….

hr HM 55 2014There are a lot more fluctuations and a general dropping away at the end showing that I was getting fatigued and not able to keep up the same intensity.

Strava do some good analysis so I used some of my birthday money (thanks Mum) to upgrade to a Premier member.

race analysis 03-21HR analysis 03-21pace distribution 03-21One of the side benefits of running to HR was that I was so focused on it that I didn’t have time to worry about or think of much else! So my mind didn’t have time to tell me how tired I was or how far to go.  Win win!!

The thing I did find was though that I had to be very selfish and zone everyone else out. I was here to run my own race and I wasn’t going to stay with people if it meant raising or lowering HR. I still greeted everyone I saw and I did run with quite a few people chatting away but only when it worked with my plan. I don’t think I consciously blanked anyone but if I did I apologise.

My next ultra is the Cateran 55 in 8 weeks and I can’t wait to try this again!!

# Gear

I don’t change much from race to race now as I’m really happy with all my gear as it’s tried and tested and works. The only decision I had was on which top to wear. Jo & Hollie bought me a new Ron Hill Top (well I saw it on the Run-4-it stall at Inverness but they paid for it!) and I thought about wearing it for the race without ever running in it. Katrina pointed out in the car as we drove down on the Friday that if that was her I would advise not to wear it so I took her/my advice and wore my green top which is my favourite!

Phill Turton commented on Facebook that my green top is more famous than the late Brian Clough’s!!

# Nutrition

This is another key area and one that I have refined over the years. I feel I have, through trial and error and great input from Cara Sloss, worked out what works for me.

So here is a list of what I drank and ate during the race …

  • 4 x 600ml of Matrix Energy Boost Drink (Orange Flavour
  • 1 x 600ml of Coke (picked up at the final check point at White Horse)
  • 2 slices of brown bread with peanut butter and jam (eaten between Guisborough Woods and Cooks Monument)
  • Large handful of Youghat covered Peanuts (eaten between Cooks Monument and Kildale)
  • 2 cubes of flapjack (eaten on the climb out of Kildale checkpoint)
  • Portion of Mashed sweet potato and cheese (eaten up the hill after Clay Bank)
  • Large Handful of chocolate covered almonds (eaten after Lord’s Stones)
  • Chia bar (eaten by TV tower self-clip)
  • Half a small tin of baked beans (at Osmotherley check point)
  • 1 pot of Greek Style Strawberry Youghat (at Osmotherley check point)
  • 3 small cubs of Clif Bloc (eaten between Cold Kirkby and Helmsley)
  • 8-10 small Haribo sweets taken at various checkpoints and from Jack

The only things I didn’t manage to eat was 2 small pieces of Soreen with jam and a handful of Yoghourt covered cranberries but I ate them the next day so nothing was wasted!!

# Mental approach

The saying goes that an ultra is 90% mental and the other 10% is in your head!  While the physical training is obviously important there is no denying that lots of people struggle in ultras who are fit enough to do better.

I treat every race as very important and prepare the best I can. I think this really helps me to be as positive as possible. I feel that if I have prepared well then there is no reason why I can’t do my very best on the day. It doesn’t always work out and I’ve had some real shockers but I’ve always finished and always start expecting the best.

For this race everything did come together and I only had one mini struggle with about 5 miles to go. For the vast majority of the race I was loving it. As mentioned earlier because I was focusing so much on my HR I didn’t need to use my motivational mantras I normally use.  I did count my breathes a few times but that was to help keep a steady pace going up and not push too hard.

I was completely in my own little world running my own race so nothing seemed to bother me.

I’m sure there will be other things I will think of but that is the main lesson learnt from my 2015 Hardmoors 55.  Next year the race will be probably be held on my birthday so it would be rude not to come back!!

Posted in Hardmoors 55, Lessons learnt | 2 Comments

Hardmoors 55 Race Report

Saturday 21st March 2015

I love it when a plan comes together and wow did my plan for this race come together. I was hoping that I might be able to run under 10hrs but to finish in 9:35:40 was beyond even my optimistic visualising!

Katrina and I travelled down to Yarm on Friday after work. Dave and Tracey had kindly offered us accommodation with their friends Jeremy, Bev and their daughter Imogen since we didn’t have the van. We had fish and chips while the rest of them tucked into a Chinese.

Dave and I spent an hour planning out recce runs for the Lakeland 100 then we headed to bed at 11pm. I was up at 6am, ate my porridge, got changed and filled my water bottles ready for the race.

We left at 7.25am arrived at the Sea Cadet hall at 7.50am. We were kit checked and received numbers very efficiently and had 40mins before the race briefing. It was good to lots of familiar faces and have a chat we various folk including Nikki Carr who would join the 1000 miles club after this race. It was also great to see Andy Cole.

start with Dave start with katrinaAfter Jon gave his race briefing we headed outside for the start of the race. I made a last minute decision not to run with my camera. So there will not be any video of this race I’m afraid! I was feeling good and thought I had enough to think about for this race without doing video clips.

Route and profile

route 03-21profile 03-21Guisborough to Kildale (11.19 miles)

If you have read my blog over the last couple of weeks you will now that I had a very clear plan for this race. My friend Robert Osfield has been helping me think about being the best way to run to heart rate.

So my plan was to run to a HR of 137 but importantly I wanted to try and keep it within a few beats either side so no higher than 142 and no lower than 132. I knew this was going to take a lot of discipline but I was really looking forward to the challenge. I carried with me last year’s splits when I finished in 10:10 but they were secondary. I was hoping that the first half would be very similar to last year but over the second half I might be able to run a little quicker.

The results are not published yet but I reckon there were almost 300 running.

start - ann brown(Photo thanks to Ann Brown)

start 2 (Photo thanks to Katrina!)

After a few hundred yards we climbed up onto the railway line so it took a little bit of time but it was no problem. There was a long way to go. I ran with Peter Wilkie for the first mile or so before he skipped past a group and was away.

start queue (Photo thanks to John Allison)

Jon Vernon was making sure everyone turned right and up onto the Cleveland way route. Quite quickly the field spread out. As I climbed I was watching my HR closely and as soon as it went over 140 I walked and when it dropped to 134 I ran. This pattern was repeated for the next several hours!!

I found it really interesting as I wasn’t bothered at all with what anyone else was doing. I was running my own race with a very definite plan and if my pace meant I had some company then that was a bonus.

I went past Martin Dietrich who seemed to be finding it fairly hard going. I then caught up with Nikki Carr and we ran together for a few miles before I pushed on.

My mini-split was at the end of the woods and I was pleased to see that it was very close to last year. I was with a group of 3 or 4 runners as we made our way over to Roseberry Topping. I was pleased to see that I was able to keep my HR around 137 on the downhill run.

I went through the gate and headed down and then up Roseberry Topping. I tried to greet as many runners so I could. I saw Dave sooner than I had last year which meant that he was running faster. I didn’t count how many were in front of him but he looked relaxed and running smoothly.

As I climbed up the hill my HR went over 150 so I eased off a bit and tried to concentrate on walking up with a steady pace rather my normal style of pushing it. I thought about the comments Robert had said about not using my glycogen stores. I wanted to keep that tank as topped up as possible for as long as possible.

It was very windy on the top which I reached in 1:06:46 which 35secs slower than last year but we had run 0.13 mile further due to the different start position! I headed down the hill on the path to the left as it means you don’t get in the way of those coming up. Nikki went flying past me showing great skill and nerve bounding down. I on the other hand took it easy!

Again I tried to greet as they made their way to the top. The wind was right in our faces for this bit so again I eased of a little to keep the HR in the zone. Photo from SportSunday …

roseberry toppingOnce we were through the gate and running down the path I ate my peanut butter and jam sandwich. Cara had commented that my food plan looked good but it would only help me if I actually ate it!

On the climb up to Cooks moment I was catching some runners when I was running then being caught when I was walking but I was really settling into my plan now and fully committed to keeping my HR with a few peaks and troughs as possible.

It’s a lovely run down through the trees to Kildale and I was feeling really good. I ate my yoghurt  covered peanuts and finished off my energy drink by the time I arrived at the checked point which was a few hundred yards up the road from the hall we used last year.

It had taken my 1:50 last year and as I passed the hall my time was 1:50 but I was hoping that I was in better shape. I certainly felt good and feeling as though I was holding myself back.

As I refilled my water bottle I asked where the drop bags were. I was told there was a technical problem and that they were would be at Clay bank 10 miles further on. It obviously wasn’t their fault but they must have had to explain the same thing to every runner.

I took a couple of pieces of flap jack and set off for the next leg of the journey.

splits 1aKildale to Osmotherley (20.11 miles overall 31.30 miles)

As I climbed the hill I wasn’t too worried about the lack of a drop bag. I had my energy drink which I knew would be enough for the next 90 minds or so to Clay Bank. Plus I had eaten all my planned food since the start so all was good.

There was a line of runners ahead and I wondered how many I might catch! I could see Nikki going well. I ran the next few miles with a guy Steve. We chatted inevitability about HR among other things.

ss photo

(photo thanks to SundaySport)

I didn’t have my mini- split cards as they were in the drop bag but I thought I had a split of 3.5 miles to the path junction then another 3 miles or so to Bloworth crossing and then down to Clay bank. It is a very runnable path for this section and I settled into a steady run.

One of the screens on my Suunto shows my HR as a graph for the last 30 mins or so and I took great pride in seeing that I was keeping it on a fairly straight line. I thought Robert would be proud of me!!

Soon enough I was clipping my number with the self clip and heading down to Clay Bank and my drop bag. I had a quick stop for a wee but I have perfected the art of walking as I wee so didn’t lose too much time!

The path was so dry throughout the day so I didn’t have any feet issues at all really. By the end my little toes were a bit bashed but that tends to happen on most longer runs and races. As I headed down to Clay bank I saw Tony Holland sitting down. He had hurt his foot and was trying to decide whether it was bad enough to have to stop. It turns out he had broken a metatarsal so did have to pull out at the checkpoint.

Clay Bank(Photo taken by Ann Brown – thanks)

I was given my drop bag and I quickly sorted it out. Someone very kindly filled my water bottle as I packed away my chia bar, chocolate coated almond and stuffed my sweet potato mash in my pocket.

Lydia was there waiting for Martin and gave me lots of encouragement as I headed up the steps. I looked at my splits and I reckoned I was about a minute or so head of last year so all was going to plan. The big question was whether I would be able to run faster over the send half.

I ate my sweet potato and cheese as I climbed the first hill. It tasted good and I managed to eat over half of the portion. The plastic spoon I had was pretty useless though and broke in half!

Once on the top I was able to have a run along the slabs to the Wainstones. I caught up another runner and just as I did I took a tumble. I wasn’t going too fast so no damage done. I was relieved to see my watch was okay! What would I have done without my HR readings!!??

As we descended a runner in blue with white compression socks went hurdling past. This was repeated on each hill for the next 3! I would catch him on the up and he would fly past on the down. After the third time I said we would make a great relay. I’ll do the up and you do the down.

I was concentrating hard on my HR on the hills as it very quickly went over 140. I had to ease off and keep it under that 140 line. On the downs I found it hard to raise it to 137 but I tried my best.

Jon Vernon and Flip Owen were checking numbers at Kirby Bank. All the marshals were superb and they certainly had an exposed post for the day. The last time I had run this section was for Jon and Shirley’s wedding last May a week after the Hardmoors 110. We had all run in wedding garb and it was great fun.

Lord’s Stones checkpoint is almost 24 miles into the route so not quite half way but fairly close. I noted my time and was interested to see that I was now 1min 47secs up on last year and feeling good. I know when things are going well by the fact that I don’t have a count to 10 before I start running. As soon as my HR dropped to 134 I was ready to run.

Steve Walker with others was manning the checkpoint. I didn’t stop as I had all I needed. I take a hand full of haribo though. I also started eating my almonds coated in chocolate over the next hour or so. They tasted great but needed a drink to swallow.

I left the checkpoint on my own but could see a few runners ahead. I felt I was climbing well and really enjoyed the run down. There is so much of this route that is runnable and it felt great to be running strongly. I was still holding myself back at times which was a bit of novelty almost 30 miles into a race.

There are a few more ups and down before the path reaches a road. I knew the turn off from the road can be tricky so for the for the first time I switched on the navigational guide on my watch. I probably didn’t need it as I remembered the path but it was good to have as a back up and reassurance.

Last year on the open field it was raining and I had to put my jacket on. This year it was dry and I didn’t have to get my jacket out once. The only thing I changed was sometimes I took off my gloves or buff.

Lydia was again waiting for Martin at the road crossing. I asked her how he was doing. So so was the reply.

cattle grid before osm(Photo taken by Ann Brown – thanks)

For the first time for ages I could see Nikki ahead. I was really impressed that she was running so well. I reckoned she was about 30secs ahead of me.

Just before the self clip at the TV tower I saw a runner lying down sleeping. I asked if he was okay. There was no reply but from his position he looked okay. The runner behind me said he’d replied to him saying he was needing a rest.

As I headed down to Osmotherley I looked at my splits from last year and saw I was there in 5:44. I reckoned I was going to be under than by 5mins or so which would mean I would need to gain another 5 mins for the final 22 miles to get under 10hrs.

osmotherley 2(Photo thanks to Mark Brodie)

Initially Katrina and Tracey were going to see us at Osmotherley but the race instructions said no support was allowed. Jon had said that there was nothing to stop support walking into Osmotherley as it was the car parking that was the problem.

I gather it was just as well they went as there had been a problem getting the key and they helped to set up the hall organising the drop bags and helping runners when they arrived.

I wasn’t sure if they were going to be there so it was great to hear Katrina shouting my name as I approached the hall. Nikki was just leaving as I arrived so I wondered whether I would be able to catch her over the final 22 miles.

There was a kit check here. I had to show them my jacket. One of the marshals commended me for my drop bag and said I should give lessons on how to prepare a drop bag to all the other runners Dave did copy mine but he still has some work to do!!

osmotherley drop bagsKatrina and Tracey helped sort out my drop bag. I sat down and ate half a small tin of baked beans and my youghat. They told me that Dave was in 3rd place. Superb.

I was keen to get going so after 3mins 43secs I waved them good bye and gave Katrina a kiss on the cheek (too sweaty for a kiss on the lips I was told!) and set off for the final section to Helmsley.

splits 2aOsmotherley to Helmsley (21.80 miles overall 53.10 miles)

I looked at my stats from last year and I was at this point in 5:49:49 so I was 5mins up.  If I wanted to break 10hrs I would need to run this final 22 miles at least 6mins faster than last year. I was feeling really good and knew that I had found things hard at times last year so felt my gold medal goal of sub 10hrs was definitely on.

There was still a long way to go so switched my watch back to HR and concentrated as I had for the whole of the race on keeping my HR as close to 137 as I could.  I also wondered whether I might catch Nikki!

After a mile or so I was caught by a runner who I found out was Simon. The first he said was he had added an extra couple of miles onto the route! He had missed the turn off the road where I had switched on my gps trace.

He seemed okay about it but I knew he must be going well if he has run an extra two miles. This was his second ultra and longest so keen to finish. Another runner in red (Frank Murphy) caught us and the three of us headed up to Osmotherley Square. I encouraged them both to go for sub 10hr as that was my aim!

I chatted to Simon on the way up the hill but once we reached the top he was away and within 10mins was a dot in the distance. I wasn’t expecting to see him again. I could see the familiar shape of Nikki though in her black top and leggins with white sleeves.

When I reached my mini-marker 4.03 miles from Osmotherley I looked at my splits from last year and saw that it had taken me 55:50. When I looked at my watch and realised I had done it in 49:51, 6mins faster, I started to really believe that this plan of consistent effort over the whole race was going to pay off big time.

There was a line of 5 runners or so including Nikki, Simon and the guy in red ahead of me so I settled into my pattern of running until I went over 140. I was pleased to see that I ran for a long way and it felt comfortable.

Once I caught Frank we worked together and caught up with quite a few of them. Nikki was running with Rich Buckle so the three of us ran together for the next couple of miles.

Nikki was starting to find it hard but was still moving well. Rich said he had dnf the have two years so was determined to finish this one. He too was moving well so there didn’t look any danger of him missing out on that medal this year.

I explained to them that my friend Cara was hoping to come out to see me and sure enough there she was running towards us. It was great to see her and I really appreciated that she took the time to find me.

Cara was keen to know how it was going especially regarding my nutrition. It was good to be able to tell her I was eating and drinking well and felt I lots of energy left for the final 15 miles or so.

I asked her to take a photo and post on Facebook if she could with an update which she kindly did!

high paradiseI checked in with the marshals at High Paradise Farm and noted that I was now 16mins up on last year. Cara said goodbye and wished me all the best for the rest of the race. Thanks again Cara!

As we crossed the road there was a guy, Wayne and his son, Jack, waiting (I learnt later) for Frank. I had a high five from Jack and took a few of their sweets. I saw them about 3 more times over the next couple of hours and it they cheered me on each time. Thanks guys!

Nikki and Rich had dropped back a bit but I had caught Simon. He said he was battling a bit so was happy to let me lead. Once more I was running and walking depending on HR. Simon said, “I love this. I walk when you walk and run when you run!”

I explained to him what I was doing and why and we spent the next 45mins or so chatting about training and running ultras. It helped pass the time.

We saw Wayne and Jack again as we crossed the road and headed down to White Horse. We saw a few runners coming the other way including Kim and Shelley who were running together looking very strong.

Just as we left the path and headed down I saw Peter Wilkie coming. He said, “oh no I’ll be looking over my shoulder now!” It takes about 20mins to do the loop so wasn’t expecting to see him until the end!

Simon ran ahead down through the woods but I almost caught him again by the time we reached the checkpoint. Someone was taking photos …..

White HorseI think my smile says it all. I knew by now I was going to smash my sub 10hr goal as I was now 2omins up on last year and going stronger.

I filled my water bottle with Coke for the final leg to Helmsley and set off with Simon up the steps. We went past one runner who was finding the steps tough.

Simon and I continued our chat about running and life in general. I found out he owns a deli and started running because he was drinking too much. We also discovered that we both have the same birthday … 20th March as Simon said he couldn’t have a drink because it was the day before the race!

We reached Cold Kirkby and I was now 32mins up on last year. This was getting better and better. A little later we were caught by another runner who was going well. The new guy and Simon were chatting together and I fell back a little bit.

For the couple of miles I went through my only real struggle. It was more mental than physical as the job was only almost done and I my focus was on the finish. I was determined to finish well so regrouped and got going again.

I could see Simon not too far ahead but not quite in reach.  I went past my final mini-split which is the stone bridge on the road. I was now almost 30mins up so a sub 9:45 was new target.

It was still light and I knew I would be able to reach the finish without having to get my head torch out which was a bonus. I climbed out of the woods and could see the left hand turn which I knew meant it wasn’t far to go.

Suddenly a runner came past me! It was Mark Dalton who I had run with before. He looked so fresh and strong. I asked him whether he was in race! He said yes and that he had had a superb second half. His time last year was 11:11 so he was 90mins up … a superb run.

We chatted for a few minutes but I told him to push on as he was going so well. I took a final drink and then decided I was running the final half mile or so. I caught a runner just as we reached Helmsley. He was walking but started running as I went past so I made a final push to the finish.

I felt quite emotional as I turned the corner and heard Katrina cheering me on to the finish at the Town Hall. Shirley wrote down my number and time …. 9:35:40.  To say I was pleased would be an understatement!! I really thought sub 10hr would be a challenge so to smash it by 25mins was incredible.

splits 3aKatrina helped me took off my Hokas and we headed upstairs to get my medal and congratulate Dave and other runners who had finished.

finish johnIt was great to chat to Dave and find he finished 3rd in 8:24. What a great effort. We had both improved by over 30mins from last year but I need to point out I improved more!!

I checked my ‘Guess My Time’ sheet and discovered that Robert Osfield was closest with his guess of 9:36:00 just beating Karen Nash who guessed 9:35:00.  I must admit I was really pleased Robert won as he has helped me so much in preparing for this race and over the last year or two.

Thanks to Katrina and Tracey for your support and a massive thanks to Jon and Shirley for organising another superb race. They just keep getting better and better and I will be back. I’ve now run 475 race miles and I’m keen to reach 1,000 miles to join the 1,000 mile club.

Finally here is my heart rate graph which I’m very proud of …

HR 03-21

Posted in Hardmoors 55 race report | 7 Comments

Guess My Time Entries

I often like to have a run round Brodie Park as my last run before an ultra race so I set off after work to run 3 loops which would be just over 4miles.  I wore my pack just as a final practice run.John 03-19My Guess My Time Competition is now closed. I received 128 guesses which must be one of my largest ever! So thank you to everyone who sent in a guess. I tried to keep track of them all but if I have missed yours for some reason please let me know!

I have decided that is there is a tie (ie same number of seconds away from my official time) then I’m going to go with the quickest time.

The breakdown is as follows …

  • Gold medal goal sub 10hrs – 51 guesses
  • Silver medal goal 10hr to 10hrs 15mins – 43 guesses
  • Bronze medal goal 10hr 15mins 10hrs 30mins – 20 guesses
  • Over 10hrs 30mins – 14 guesses

Here is the full list …GMT 1gmt 2gmt 3gmt 4I will try and update my time as soon as I can after the race.  Thanks again I look forward to seeing who is the closest guess.


Posted in guess my time competition | 2 Comments

Food plan for Hardmoors 55

I had a nice gentle run after work today. I spent most of it thinking about Saturday’s race and visualising finishing in under 10hrs!! Isn’t believing it half the battle?

I’ve sorted out my food plan for the race. It’s very similar to last year’s race which seemed to work pretty well.

2015 HM 55 foodThere will be some food at the check points so if anything takes my fancy I might swap something or add to my plan.

The race numbers were published the other day. I’m #185 so I’ve prepared my bags ready to put my food in.

2015 HM 55 drop bagsAccording to my spread sheet of entries there are 18 people who have ran the race faster than me. Plus who knows how many who haven’t done it before who will go faster so I wonder what position I’ll finish.

My finishing time is far more important to me than position as you can’t control who turns up on the day but you can control how well you run. I would rather finish 100th in under 10hrs than 10th in 10hrs 30mins.

If you want to enter my ‘Guess My Time’ Competition you have until 6pm tomorrow (Thursday) night. It is a strict cut-off! I have 123 guesses so far. I’ll post the full list after 6pm tomorrow.

Posted in Easy run, Hardmoors 55 | 4 Comments