Guess My Time – Hardmoors 55 have very kindly offered to provide prizes for my ‘Guess My Time’ Competitions this year and the prizes are amazing!  I’m thinking of putting in a guess myself!!

For my first ultra of the year the Hardmoors 55 Keith from the store has offered a brand new/hot off the shelf Inov-8 Race Ultra Shell Waterproof jacket which is worth £89.95

Prize - JacketTo win this excellent Jacket all you have to do is guess in hours, minutes and seconds how long it will take me to run the Hardmoors 55 ultra on Saturday 21st March.

To give you an idea of times I ran this race last year in 10hrs 10mins 24secs but this year I have purposely decided to start my specific ultra training later as my ‘A’ race is the Lakeland 100 in July.

So for January and February I have done a lot more speed and tempo runs as I build up to the Inverness Half Marathon on Sunday 8th March. Will that hinder or help my Hardmoors 55 race?

My goals for the race are:-

  • Bronze – sub 10hrs 30mins
  • Silver – sub 10hrs 15mins
  • Gold – sub 10hrs

So if you want to take part and have a chance to win this superb jacket and a limited edition John Kynaston key ring send your guess by leaving a comment ..

  • on my blog
  • on facebook jkynaston
  • on twitter @jkynaston
  • text 07905 218162
  • email

Please send your guess by 6pm Thursday 19th March 2015. No late entries will be accepted!!

One final rule …. There will only be one guess per time so if a second person guesses exactly the same time as someone else I will ask you to add on or take off a few seconds. I think I’ll be pushing it a bit to ask Keith to provide two jackets!!

Thanks to Keith at

Posted in guess my time competition | 34 Comments

Last Fartlek Session for awhile

Last night there were 6 of us for our club Fartlek session. It was snowing a bit but we thought the cycle track should be okay. It was for most of the way but fairly slippy for some of it. We turned earlier than planned just after Bridge of Weir because it was getting worse.

The session was a good one with Sunday’s Half Marathon in mind. I was keen to get one more faster session in this week before easy runs on Wednesday and Friday as a mini-taper!

We ran 5mins (with 2min recovery) then 2mins 30secs (2min) x 4. I was chasing Euan the whole time which helped me run a bit faster. I always aim for 5 miles for the 30mins ‘on’ time but I knew this would be harder with the conditions plus the fact that it was longer reps …fartlek 03-02So I was very happy to see when I’d downloaded my Suunto that I’d just made it. Interestingly my HR for the 2.30 sets was lower than for the 5min rep. Was I not pushing hard enough?

That will be my last Fartlek session for awhile as I’ll be concentrating on my ultra training which for me involves longer back to back runs at the weekend and my weekly trip up and down Ben Lomond.

Posted in Fartlek | 1 Comment

Weekend Runs

With the Inverness Half Marathon a week away I decided to do both my weekend runs on the road. Once next weekend is over my focus will fully be on the trails and the five ultra races I have planned for 2015.

Last night I attend the Kilbarchan AAC 40th Anniversary Meal. We had a great night. The food was superb and it was good to chat to lots of friends in the club. I spent some time chatting to Robert Hawkins who coaches his sons Derek (Marathon) and Callum (10k) and Bobby Quinn (a runner I and everyone in the club admire for this ability and work ethic).

I was asking both of them did they think that the speed work I’ve been doing will have a positive affect on my ultra training. Basically they both feel it will as long as I also work on the technical aspects of ultras, ie the long slow runs and the quad preparation.

I must admit I’m really looking forward to seeing how I get on in the Hardmoors 55 in March and the Cateran 55 in May. The first one will be on the back of my Half Marathon training so I think will be a bit of an unknown quantity as I’ve not been doing my ‘normal’ ultra build up but I will really be targeting the Cateran with lots of specific training.

I’m still thinking about whether I will continue with some ‘speed’ work whether that is a weekly Fartlek (more unlikely) or a Tempo session (makes more sense) over the next few months.

Saturday – 9 mile road run

I set off to run about 8 miles but slightly misjudged the distance as I ran out to Johnstone so ended up with over 9 miles.

I wanted a steady run rather than a tempo effort and so I didn’t look at my watch much. I just tried to gauge my effort by my breathing. If I was running with someone I could have had a conversation but I would have been asking the questions and allowing my partner to answer!

My legs felt good and once I’d finished and saw the pace was 7.39 I was quite happy with that. I didn’t wear my HR strap but reckon my hr was low 130’s.

Sunday – social run with Katrina and Tracey

I gate crashed Katrina and Tracey’s run. Katrina had 8 miles on her plan and Tracey 12 miles.  I took them on the run I did yesterday but forgot until it was too late that we added a mile or so on to meet up with Tracey and even though I shortened it around Johnstone we ended up running 10.58 miles!

The weather was a bit mixed with some hail and a little bit of sun. The wind was mainly against us on the was out but with us on the way back.

So another good solid week.  My plan for next week is a Fartlek session tomorrow night then easy runs Wednesday and Friday before the Inverness Half Marathon on Sunday.

A nice gap is opening up on my 2015 miles in 2015 graph.

2015 miles 03-01


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Review of February

My plan for February was to build up to 2 main races with an eye on a third. The two races were the National Cross Country on Sunday 22nd February and the Inverness Half Marathon on Sunday 8th March. The third race in the future is the Hardmoors 55 on Saturday 21st March.

I normally like to have one main focus but I’ve really enjoyed juggling my training a bit this month to try and prepare for different types of races. I also ran a 5k parkrun in the build up to the National Cross Country which gave me an idea of how my training has been going.

First of all some stats before the analysis.

A list of all my runs in February. I ran a total of 176.57 miles.

Feb list of runsI didn’t do as much cycling in February due to work commitments.

feb diary of runs & ridesAll my runs in a graph form. The one long run I did on 8th Feb stands out.

feb milage graphI also like to keep a track of the different types of runs I do throughout the year.

feb types of runsSo I had a variety of runs and at various paces as I prepared for various different races. Here are some key thoughts from February …


In February I ran 2 races.

  • parkrun – I decided almost at the last minute (well a couple of days before) to do a 5k parkrun the day before my long run. I was feeling strong and wanted to see whether the speed work I’d been doing would show itself in a shorter race. I was really pleased to run 19.23 which is my fastest parkrun since 2010 so that was very encouraging.
  • National Cross Country – I’d not run this since 2008 so again I was interested to see how I compared to then. It is difficult to gauge cross country on time alone as the conditions can vary so much. But basically I was very pleased with my run. I maintained a Heart Rate of 158 for the whole race which is high for me and shows I pushed as hard as I could for the 12k in the mud, rain and wind!

Speed work

I have really enjoyed the Fartlek and Tempo runs I have done in February. I’ve been over 5 miles for the 30mins ‘on’ a couple of times which is a good indication of effort for me. Plus my Tempo runs have been getting faster with my best pace of 6.32 for 7 miles the best for quite a few years.

Long Runs

I’ve not been completely ignoring the long off road runs and I’ve been up the Gleniffer Braes a few times and I had one longer, 25 miles around and up Ben Lomond, with Jonny just to make sure I gave myself some chance to ‘enjoy’ the Hardmoors 55 in March. I know this is not really enough but that was part of the plan and the experiment!


Another key factor to being able to faster is that I have lost 22lbs since the beginning of the year!  I started the year at 12st 13lbs and I’m now at 11st 4lbs. I can’t tell you the difference it makes in my running. It feels so much easier running and my times and hr reflect that.

weight 02-28Finally I’m glad to report I’m ahead of the schedule for 2015 miles in 2015 and I’m still on 100% for Jantastic with a month to go.

Posted in Monthly review | 3 Comments

Midweek runs

My normal pattern of 3 harder weeks followed by an easier week is out of the window at the moment as I’m doing a race every two weeks. So I’m playing with a bit more flexibility than I normally do. If I feel I’ve recovered from the race then I’ll do some harder sessions and if not then I’ll do some easier runs.

Wednesday – Tempo Run

After Sunday’s Cross Country I’d had an easy run on Monday and Tuesday off so was feeling pretty good when I set off at lunch time for my tempo run. I decided to do a 9mile run with a mile warm up, 7 mile tempo and a recovery mile.

The weather was fine as I set off with no wind. I was holding myself back on the first mile and had a feeling that this was going to be a decent run. I set off on the first tempo mile feeling strong and basically kept it going through the 7 miles.

I was wanting to use the run as a rehearsal for the Inverness Half Marathon so practiced my concentrating on my pace by counting 4 sets of 50 breathes before looking at my watch to see what the average pace for the mile I’m on. Normally I get to 0.75 of a mile or so. Then I count another 50 and it takes me around the mile mark.

Each time I looked I was around 6.30 pace so knew I was going well. I chose a road route which went all the way round Pollok Park but involved crossing a few roads. On one such crossing I thought the lights were red for the truck that was coming but it was on green and the driver wasn’t very impressed that I ran out in front of him!

At least I didn’t have to slow my pace! With 3 miles to go I felt I was having to work a bit harder but was pleased to see that I was able to keep the pace up.

tempo 02-25I reckon that was one of my best tempo runs for quite a few years!  My heart rate showed a consistent effort as well.

hr 02-25

I’ve been thinking what should be my Jantastic target for the Inverness Half Marathon. Two years ago I ran 1.27.32 but I do feel I’m going as well if not better than then.

At the moment I’m thing just under 1.27 seems a realistic target. This year it doesn’t matter if you go faster you still get the full points.

Thursday – steady run

It was quite windy tonight for my run after work so I decided to take it steady, not look at my watch and keep my breathing easy.  It was a fun run. I spent the time thinking about the questions I was going to ask Rhona, Rick and Lorna for the lastest whw race podcast I had planned for tonight.


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Scottish National Cross Country Race Report

I last ran in the National Cross Country in 2008 and I was looking forward to seeing how I got on this year. The weather forecast wasn’t very promising and as I drove to Falkirk with friends Steven and David it looked like the forecast was correct!

We arrived just before 1pm so had plenty of time to have a warm up and get ready for the 2.30pm start. I met up with Neal Gibson and we headed off for a warm up together just as the women’s race was starting.

We stopped a few times to cheer on Caroline and anyone else we recognised.  As we ran round Neal was saying he has struggled to shake off a cold. I thought it was another of his excuses and said so! He replied that his legs were feeling great so I didn’t expect to see him in the race.

The wind and rain weren’t letting up much so I sheltered in the Kilbarchan Team Tent and got ready for the race.  It was a priviledge to share it with Callum Hawkins who won the race last year. We did have a funny moment about 10mins before the start as Callum couldn’t find his number. We looked around the tent and found it just in time!!

The course has changed a bit since I did in 2008 with the start going at 90 degrees to the original way. There was a good buzz just before the start then everyone setting off on the hooter.

route 02-22I was keen to set off steady and by starting down the field it forced me to do that as it was hard to overtake people on the first 10mins or so. After that the field spread out and I was able to run as fast as I wanted and could!

I used the first lap to try and work out the best line. I tended to go quite a bit wider than most as I found the grassy parts had more grip than the mud which was very thick for the majority of the route.

Friends Ken and Sue were marshalling around the Lake so it great to see them and their friendly cheer was welcome. The next big cheer was going past the Kilbarchan tent on one of the short hills and Caroline, Susan and children gave me a cheer at the end of each lap.

I heard my name being cheered but to be honest I had my head down and I was working as hard as I could. Kenneth Philips took this photo …

xc 02-22 phillips 2As I came round to complete lap 1 I could Neal not too far ahead. I reasoned that I must be catching him as I’d not seen him earlier so that gave me a target to aim for. I slowly caught him up and went past on the hill at the Kilbarchan tent.

Donald Petrie took this one …

xc 02-22 donald 1Once I was past Neal I tried to keep the pace up and I slowly caught other runners and maybe 1 or 2 went past me but I felt I was moving as well as anyone around me.

There is a really tricky muddy hill near the end of the lap and I struggled to get up it each time. The first lap I went to the left and that was useless but on the 2nd and 3rd laps I went to the right and that was slightly easier. At least I didn’t have to walk.

Donald took another photo as I finished lap 2 ….xc 02-22 donald 3Sandra McDougall took this photo at the start of lap 3 (or it might be lap 2?) which shows just how muddy it was.

XC 02-22On the third lap I tried to push as hard as I could and went past another runner or two as we ran alongside the Lake. I suspected Neal wasn’t too far behind and sure enough he wasn’t.  Kenneth took a photo of Neal chasing me!

xc 02-22 philips 1A few times I could hear people shouting ‘Come on Giffnock’ so I knew he was close! I tried to push as hard as I could but knew that if Neal was anywhere near me on the final run in then I could expect him to push past me.

Once we got to the final push I ran as hard as I could but suddenly Neal went past. Donald took a photo just before Neal went past but I like this one as I’m ahead! In fact I’m using it as my Facebook profile photo!!

xc 02-22 donald 4Neal went past with less than 50 yards to go but didn’t get too far ahead so I decided to have one more go and pushed as hard as I could. I came alongside and the pair of us sprinted to the line as if an Olympic Gold Medal was at stake!!

I couldn’t quite get past him. We finished in 52mins 56secs for 360th and 361st place. 02-22 xc resultsI was really pleased with my run and felt I couldn’t have gone any faster! My HR graph shows a steady rate of 158 for the whole race. I’m not quite sure what was going on for the first few minutes!

hr 02-22 xc raceMy next race is the Inverness Half Marathon in 2 weeks. I went for a recovery run tonight after work. It was very windy and wet but my legs felt fine which was encouraging!

Posted in Cross Country | 3 Comments

Midweek runs

This week I wanted to keep working hard but also keep one eye on Sunday’s Scottish National Cross Country Race at Falkirk. I’ve only run the National Cross Country once in 2008 so I’m really looking forward to seeing how I get on. The venue is the same but the course is different this year.

route National XC 15

According to the Scottish Athletics Web site there are 883 Senior Men entered. When I did it in 2008 there were just under 400.

So this week I’ve run Wednesday and Thursday …

Wednesday – Easy Road Run

I ran at lunch time and felt good. I do find having Tuesday as a rest day after Monday’s Fartlek is working well as my legs are rested and ready to go again.

Thursday – Cross Country Rehearsal

I always like to have a rehearsal before a race so decided to have a run around Bellahouston Park with the shoes, socks and shorts I’ll be wearing on Sunday. I’m wearing my Inov-8 Talons but they are falling apart! I’ve run less than 200 miles and already the uppers are split at the sides.

So I put some tape around them to see if that would help hold them together. It sort of worked and I’m confident the shoes will last the race … but probably not much longer after Sunday.

route 02-19At one point it was hailing so maybe that will be good practice for Sunday you never know. I’m planning to have a very easy run on Saturday before Sunday’s race.

Our Kilbarchan AAC Jantastice team got a mention on this week’s Marathon Talk Podcast.  We are leading all the 1,941 teams after 6 weeks !! ….

Jantastic 02-19I wonder if we can stay there for the next 6 weeks!!

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