Injury free year

On Sunday I’m joining Marco and friends for a 18mile run from Rowardennan.  We ran this route last year so I’m looking forward to it. So I decided to not run yesterday and run today instead. I was able to go out at lunchtime. I decided to wear my Hokas and do a slower off road route around Pollok Park.

As I ran I was thinking about a question that Robert Osfield left on a recent post ….

You’ve had your years blighted by injury, so what do you think has enabled you to run so consistently this year?

I’m not sure if I’ve had ‘years blighted by injury’ but yes I have had my share of injuries.  Only the last couple of years I’ve not really had any big injuries that have kept me out of action.

So here are some reasons why I think I’ve been able to stay injury free ….

# Off Road

At least half of my mileage is off road including most runs over 10 miles.  I’m sure this really helps. I reckon if I averaged 45miles a week on road I would pick up more injuries and my legs would take longer to recover.  This year I’ve often ran 20-25 miles over the weekend but because they have been off road I’ve been able to run on Monday as well.

# Rest Days

This year I have run between 4-5 times a week which means I have at least 2 non-running days a week. Again I think that really helps keep injury at bay.  I’m aware that at 55 I need to respect the fact that my body needs these rest days.

# Cross Training

On my non-running days I try and cycle to and from work.  It is a 6mile one way journey so about 12 miles each day so not a massive amount but I think it helps with my recovery.

# Blocks of Training

One of things I have enjoyed about the Hardmoors Grand Slam was peaking for four races throughout the year. I decided to work on blocks of training before the race, followed by 10-14 days of easy running before another block of training to the next race. I also work on having an easy week after three weeks of harder training. So these blocks of training with easy weeks built in again has helped keep injury at bay.

# Deal with issues

Over the year I’ve had two issues. I started the year with a tight hamstring and then after the Hardmoors 110 I had a sore calf when I tried to do some speed work too soon. Both times I eased off and it cleared up before it got too bad.

I do think I have been very fortunate and long may it continue.  I do enjoy being able to run pain free.

I enjoyed interviewing Andy Cole last night for the latest West Highland Way Race Podcast. It will be available very soon on iTunes and the race web site. Talking of the West Highland Way Race entries for the 2015 race are now at 331. The entries close on 30th November and then we will have to do a ballot for the 265 places available.  Sadly there are going to be some disappointed people.

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Tempo Run

I was able to go out at lunchtime today for my tempo run. I’m enjoying getting a run in the daylight as most of my runs are in the dark either early or late when it is dark.

I was feeling good so after my warm up mile pushed the pace for 5miles. I have bought a new heart rate strap for my Suunto so it’s good to get some data to see how hard my heart is working again!

tempo 24 nov

Tomorrow night I’m interviewing Andy Cole for the next West Highland Way Podcast.  I was looking up the races that Andy has done on the excellent Ultra Marathon Statistics and really liked the comparison tab they have.

Andy’s comparison table is impressive … especially when you consider he didn’t start running ultras until he was 55!

Andy ColeI liked the table so decided to look at mine as well. It only puts the races where you have run at least twice.  So I added in the races where I have only run once.

So here is a summary by year/race of the 29 ultras I have run since 2007 ….

comparison of ultra races


Next year I’m running the Hardmoors 55, Cateran 55 and Lakeland 100 again so I wonder whether I’ll be able to get a personal best in each of them?


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Completed my 2014 miles challenge

Last night during our club Fartlek session I completed one of my goals for the year …. namely to run at least 2014 miles in 2014.  I have done it with 5 weeks to spare which is good.

Right from 1st Jan when I ran the Hardmoors 30 I’ve been ahead of the game but one of the key things is being able to run every week with no injuries. I think I’ve only missed maybe 1 or 2 planned runs due to a slight niggle throughout the whole year.

Last night there was 6 of us for the session. Catherine suggested 3 times 5mins (2min recovery), 3mins (90sec) and 2mins (2min).  I was chasing Haley Haining for the first two sets before she headed back.  Well I say chasing …. Hayley would go past me, having started a bit behind, after a min or two and then smoothly accelerate away as I tried my best to stay within view.

I asked Hayley what she things about when she is running hard in a session like this and she said, ‘relax.’ I normally have the thought ‘smooth’ so that’s about right! I was working as hard as I could and tried to finish as strong as I started.

Here are my stats ….fartlek 24 nov

I was pleased with that as each set was run faster than the set before.  I almost reached the 5miles but considering there was 3 x 5mins within the session that was good for me!

I could really feel my calves today. It just goes to show how specific running is. For the majority of the year I’ve been running lots of slow miles and my hardest runs have been up and down Ben Lomond.  Now I’m doing more faster shorter runs I’m working different muscles.


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Two more runs

On Thursday night I went for an easy run after work. I had been on my feet all day at my cross country event so was quite pleased with how my legs felt.

This morning I was up and out by 6.45am for my Saturday longer run. I decided on a different route this morning compared to the last few Saturday runs.

run route 22 nov

I’m trying not to look at my watch at all on these Saturday runs and running as fast (or slow) as I feel I can maintain for the 10miles. I looked at my watch at 8miles and was quite happy to see I was averaging 7.42 pace. I must have slowed a bit over the last two and a bit miles as I averaged 7:45 overall but again happy with that.

Our big family news is we are going to be grandparents for the first time! Our daughter Emma and her husband Yonas are expecting in May 2015. They live in Malang, Indonesia but we were planning to visit next summer so the timing is great for us.

Emma finally put the good news on Facebook which meant I could as well.  So far I have 236 likes and 42 comments which shows people like a bit of good news!

fb post


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Tempo Run at lunchtime

It was a lovely day today in Glasgow so I was glad that I was able to get at lunchtime for a run.  I decided to do a tempo run and see how my legs would respond!

I ran my normal loop which starts in Bellahouston Park and then goes round Pollok Park. I ran the first mile easy and then tried to push the pace for the next 5 miles before an easy mile or so to finish with.

I felt pretty strong for the first 4 miles of the Tempo but struggled a bit with the final mile … which is mainly uphill but I suspect even if it was downhill I would have found it hard to keep the pace up.

tempo 19 nov

So I was happy with that! I was 7secs per mile faster than 2 weeks ago!!

I enjoyed interviewing Robbie Britton last night for the latest West Highland Way Race Podcast.  It is now available on iTunes (whwrace) or the race web site.  Robbie has done a lot of races and is not yet 28.  It will be interesting to follow his career in the next few years as no doubt he will get faster.

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Recovery Run with David Mac

When I woke up on Monday morning I decided that doing the Fartlek session with the club wouldn’t be the best idea after Sunday’s cross country. So I pleased to read on our Kilbarchan Road Runners page on Facebook that David was keen to do a 8-9mile recovery run.

David had a route in mind so we set off and ran together.  We chatted the whole way round which made it so much easier. I was actually quite pleased with how my legs felt but was glad that I hadn’t opted for the Fartlek session as I don’t think my legs would have responded too well to running any faster.

route route 17 nov

We were both quite surprised when we realised we had run at 7:40 pace … so not quite an easy recovery run … well not for me anyway!  Thanks for your company David.  It would have felt a lot longer and harder on my own.

Tonight (Tuesday) I’m really looking forward to interviewing Robbie Britton for the latest West Highland Way Race Podcast.  We had arranged 7pm so I was thinking I would be able to get it done then watch the Scotland v England game at 8pm but Robbie asked to put it back an hour as he is going climbing with his girl friend!! The sacrifices I have to make!! BTW my prediction is a 1-2 win for England!!

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Renfrewshire Cross Country Race

It’s been quite a while since I ran a proper cross country race and I was looking forward to it! I dropped Katrina off at home after church and drive the few miles to Shanks Park, Johnstone.

I met up with David Mac and we went for a warm up lap around the course. It was pretty dry underfoot with a few hills to make it an interesting course.

xc 12

It was very mild so most people ran in vests.  Neal G was running as well so it was good to catch up with him before the start.

We had to run 5 laps of the course to make the 6 miles. I asked David what he was aiming for in comparison to a road 10k and we both thought maybe 5mins slower so I thought anything under 45mins would be good.

xc courseMy plan was to try and run the first lap as comfortably as possible and keep it going. I settled into a pace with a few runners around me.  After the first lap my breathing was hard so I tried to ease off a little to get my breathing under control.

4-5 runners went past me on lap 2 but from then on I held my place with maybe a couple went past.  I was working pretty hard to maintain my pace.  At the end of lap 4 I saw Donald K not too far ahead and I caught him on the hill. He stayed with me and then pushed away on lap 5 to finish a few places ahead.

I finished 48th (out of 64) in 39mins 48secs which was a fair bit faster than I had aimed for.  A few people had said this must be easy for you after running ultras but to be honest it is totally different. This is an eye balls out run for 40mins with my heart rate as near to max as I can manage so it hurts in a different way!

My splits ….

xc splits 16 nov

Results are on the Kilbarchan web site

It was great having friends around the course cheering us on and taking some photos.

Here are some of them ….

Photos from Steven Hill  ….

xc 9 xc 10 xc 11Photos from Donald Petrie …

xc 7 xc 6 xc 5 XC 3 XC 1


Photos from Caroline Gibson …

xc cg 3 xc cg1 xc cg2

xc 8


Posted in Renfrewshire Cross Country | 1 Comment