Kilpatrick and Gleniffer Braes runs

This weekend I had planned a Saturday run on the Kilpatricks and a Sunday run on the Gleniffer Braes and they were very different in weather and conditions!

Saturday – Kilpatrick Run with Cammie

We had been invited out for lunch so to fit in our 18miles loop Cammie and I met at 7.30am ready to run. It was dark as we set off but within a few minutes it was light enough to see fine.

It was a cold but beautiful morning especially once the sun had come up. We decided to do my original 18 mile loop that Marco first showed me. The last time I ran with Marco he showed me a different second half of the loop so we will do that one next time.



We settled into a steady pace and we both really enjoyed the lovely morning. The cloud was hanging in the valley below and once the sun had come up it was fairly warm.

I’m impressed with Cammie’s preparation for his first West Highland Way race. In each long run he is trying out various food and drink. In this run he had some lovely homemade soup of sweet potato and red lentil. Even better he shared it with me! The other thing he tried was a tube of condensed milk but I’m glad he didn’t share that one!

As we approached the Whangie at the far end of our loop we were back into the mist and it was significantly cooler. Once we climbed back up and headed back to our cars it was clear again so we felt sorry for the family we saw walking up the Whangie as they were going to be in the cloud for their walk.

We made it back to the car in four hours which gave me enough time to get home, have a shower and make to our friends for lunch. We went for a walk in the afternoon which I think was really good for recovery.

These photos don’t quite do justice to the views but here they are.


Sun just starting to make its appearance and the moon still visible


The sun rising behind Cammie & I


Cammie practicing finishing the West Highland Way 


As we approached the Whangie the cloud was all over the valley


View towards Ben Lomond


Me with Ben Lomond poking above the clouds

We both really enjoyed the run and we are looking forward to our next Kilpatricks run in a few weeks time!

Sunday – Gleniffer Braes

The conditions were very different this morning when I set off in the dark at 7.30am. I was on my own for this run so decided to listen to a ‘Science of Ultra’ podcast. The one I listened to was an interview with American runner Mike Wardian.

As I listened I was amazed at how many races he ran last year and not just ran them but ran them really fast. For starters he set the record for the fastest cumulative time for the 6 marathon majors, ran three 100 mile races in 29 days plus loads and loads of other races.

Mike spoke a lot of sense about nutrition, training, recovery etc but I found it amazing just how many races he runs every year. I assumed he was a full time athlete but he said he has a full time job and a young family. Anyway well worth a listen!

I was expecting my legs to feel a bit heavy after yesterdays run and walk but I was really encouraged that I felt really strong. I set myself the goal of running all the way round and pretty well kept to it.

I was encouraged that my heart rate was 121 for the whole run which I was pleased with. There was a fine covering of snow all over the Braes and the visibility was zero so very different to yesterday’s sunshine!

It was also good to see so many others runners on the Braes this morning. I have been running regularly on the Braes for over 10 years and normally it is rare to see any other runners.

This morning I saw a girl with a back pack who looked to be out for a decent length run, 2 guys then 3 guys and then a mixed group of about 10 runners. Plus a mountain biker! Its getting busy up there which is good to see.

This run took me to just over 50 miles for the week and I’m looking forward to one more bigger week finishing with the West Highland Way training weekend before having an easier week.

  • Saturday – 17.94 miles (13:22 pace) HR 118
  • Sunday – 11.82 miles (10:19 pace) HR 121
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Highland Fling Stats

The Highland Fling in 2007 was my very first ultra race and has always been very special to me. I have ran the race 7 times out of the 11 it has been run. I wasn’t involved in the first one in 2006 and I have also marshalled in two others.

Ever since I started running ultras I have enjoyed keeping records both of my own running but also key races I have taken part in.

I have put together a spreadsheet which has all the 11 races and also a summary of personal bests and how many Highland Flings people have run. I must stress that it is unofficial but I’ve taken the stats from the race web site.

If you like looking at these sorts of things then please download it and have a look. If you see any mistakes please let me know. There are a few people who have the same name so I’m not completely sure on some of those.

Summary of all Highland Races 2006 – 2016

Here is a brief summary of how many have started and finished each race ….


For the 2017 race there are 1003 entries.  I thought it would be interesting to see how many have finished the race before.


So well over half have never finished the race before. I haven’t worked out how many of those have started but not finished before.

Here is the spreadsheet of all 2017 entries and their previous Highland Flings

2017 entries with pb’s





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Summary of midweek runs

This is my third week of running 5 times a week again and I feel I’ve settled into a good pattern. This week was the first time I was able to get to the club on a Monday night for our  Fartlek session which was actually a hill reps session.

Monday – Club hill session

There was a good group of us running which always helps to keep the effort honest and working hard. The session was a bit different than our normal one. We ran a couple of miles to a hill which we call Brookfield Hill near the hospital.

The hill was about 0.15 miles which included a short downhill bit once we’d gone over the top. The road to the crest of the hill was fairly clear but once over the top it did get a bit muddy and slippery.

Some of the group stopped at the top but I decided to do the full run each time. In my mind I broke it down to 4 sets of 4.  I was happy that I kept working hard right to the end of the set.


Looking at the splits I got faster as the session progressed which is good news. We were all filthy by the end of the session so Donald joked that he wasn’t responsible for any washing machines packing in trying to clean our kit!!

Wednesday – Lunchtime Tempo Run

I was able to run at lunchtime which means a daylight run which is a bonus. I decided to do a mile warm up, 2 miles at Tempo pace aiming for around 7mins per mile, a recovery mile then another couple of miles at Tempo pace.

I was working hard on the Tempo efforts and happy with my run.


There are a few cheeky hills on this route so it was a solid workout.

Thursday – hill run

As we had done some hill reps on Monday I decided to do my off road loop around Pollok Park at lunchtime today but working hard on the hills as I ran round.

As I finished the run I realised my watch showed 5.98 miles but I have got over my OCD of having to run the extra 0.02 mile to round it up. I was proud of myself that I can live with 5.98 miles!!

So another good run in very mild conditions for this time of year.


  • Monday: Hill reps – 8.96 miles
  • Wednesday: Tempo Run – 6.18 miles
  • Thursday: Off road Hill run – 5.98 miles



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Weekend runs on the Gleniffer Braes

Saturday Run – with friends

Katrina, Cammie and Lesley joined me for my Saturday run. We left just after 8am in clear but cold conditions. There was a good layer of snow on the Braes which made it easier to run. Plus the sun was rising over the hills as we ran which made it very special.

I’m really enjoying running with friends for my longer runs. I spent the whole run chatting to Lesley or Cammie. They are both doing the West Highland Way race for the first time this year and it’s great to be able to chat to them about what its like.

Katrina is training for the Inverness Half and Stirling Marathon but is enjoying being on the trails so decided to join us.

I felt really good all the way round which was encouraging at this stage of my training. Katrina and Lesley headed back down after our large loop so they ran just under 12 miles.

Cammie and I did an extra loop and ended up running 15.86 miles which was the plan.

Here is the route and some photos ….








Sunday – solo run

My friend Steven decided on a longer road run this morning so I was on my own. I decided to do my loop the other way round for a change and I also listened to the latest podcast from TalkUltra.

All the snow from yesterday had completely gone which seemed strange just a day later. It made parts of the route a bit muddier.

I kept up a decent pace without pushing super hard. There is a long way to go to April then June so I’m happy to build up my stamina slowly.

I saw 3 mountain bikers on the route which is the first time for ages. It’s good to see people using the trails.


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Summary of runs

  • Saturday: 15.86 miles in 3:16:29 (12:22 pace)
  • Sunday: 11.65 miles in 2:03:35 (10:36 pace)
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Midweek Runs

I feel I’m back in the groove with my training and I’ve had a good start to the year.

Monday – Steady run

I had planned to go along to our club Fartlek session but Jo, Jono & Seth we’re calling in on the way from Wales to Inverness so I went out for a run at lunch time instead. My legs felt a bit heavy after my two weekend runs so maybe it was a good thing to have an easier run rather than a speed session!

Tuesday – no run but lots of running chat

Katrina, Cammie, Lesley and I drove over to Stirling to be part of the West Highland Way Inspiration night. It was a great evening with great speakers and lots of advice.



I recored the talks and have put them out as episodes 104 and 105 of the whwrace podcasts. If you want to listen to them go the West Highland Way Race website.

Wednesday – Tempo Run

I had a busy day at work so didn’t manage to get out at lunchtime so I set off in the dark at 5pm. I wanted to do some sort of Tempo run so opted for alternating easy/hard miles. I was feeling okay and this will give me a good bench mark for the next few months. Hopefully I will be able to run a little faster.


Thursday – Hill reps

I was able to run at lunchtime but the weather wasn’t great. To be fair I see off in the dry with some sunshine but half way through the snow started and I finished with the snow driving in my face as I ran back!

I wanted to recce a couple of options for future hill reps and found a couple of loops on the mountain bike trail which should be good.

I’m looking forward to trying them out properly over the next few weeks!

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Glee Club & other runs

I’ve had a good first week of 2017 with 50.02 miles run. Th is must be my biggest week for awhile and it feels good to be running 5 times a week again and feel it has set up for the year!

Monday – Steady run

As I was still off work I was able to have a leisurely breakfast and set off at 9am. I was keen to run it nice and easy so listened to a Marathon Talk podcast which I mainly enjoyed. The discussion about possible drug cheating in cycling didn’t inspire me too much. I wish they would keep to running!

Wednesday – Steady run

I had to get some new tyres and a new battery for my car so I decided to go for a run while it was being done so felt it was a good use of time!

Thursday – hill reps

I was back in work but able to get out at lunch time. I ran to Pollok Park and did 4 reps of the hill in front of Pollok House. Each run was up, down, up, down and took me around 4mins. I had a 2 min recovery.

I pushed fairly hard but not flat out as I wanted to make this my bench mark which hopefully I’ll improve on as the year goes on.

My 4 laps were 4:05, 4:02, 3.55 and 3:44

Saturday – Glee Club Run

I’ve never run with the official Glee Club but Lesley and Katrina were keen to go so I thought it would be fun to join them. Plus Cammie was keen to join us so Lesley drove us all there.

We arrived at the car in time to join the group who were running up the 2miles up the road to top car park where the run officially started.

I really enjoyed the run, chatting with lots of folks over the four and a half hours. I was an excellent route which we all really enjoyed.

Here is the route and some photos …











Sunday – Run on the Braes

Last night my good friend Steven Hill sent me a text asking whether I would like some company for my run on the Braes. I replied straight away, ‘Yes please!’.

We set off just after 7.30am in the dark and we both really enjoyed the run and the chat. I’ve not run with Steven for a while and I thought he looked very comfortable all the way round. He is running really well at the moment. He ran 19:55 with Isla in the buggy yesterday which is a cracking time.

It was a bit muddy in places. Infact at one point I my shoes got stuck in the mud and I had to pull it out!


I have ran 50.02 miles this week which I’m pleased with. I want to build up slowly over the next few weeks and months but it feels good to get a solid start to the year.



Posted in Glee Club, Gleniffer Braes, hill session, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Training Plan for Highland Fling

Now the new year is under way I like to plan out my training for my ultras. For 2017 I have entered three races so far and hopefully I’ll get a place in two others. The details are on the 2017 Ultras page.

I have worked out a rough plan for the first four months of the year which will take me to The Highland Fling on Saturday 29th April 2017.

This will be my 11th year of running ultras and I have worked out a pattern that seems to suit me. In some ways I wonder whether I should radically change what I do in the hope that it may help but on reflection I feel that I would rather stick with I know works for me!

There are certain key things in my training which I try and incorporate.

  • Variety – each week I try and do a speed session, a tempo run, a hill session and a couple of longer runs on the trail.
  • Specific purpose – if possible I like to have a definite aim for the run. There are times when I will just go out an do an easy run but they tend to be in my taper and recovery weeks.
  • Rest days – I aim to run 5 days out of 7. If possible I try and cycle to and from work on my non-running days. For me it is really important to have a couple of days a week when I don’t run. I’m sure this is one of the reasons I don’t get injured too often.
  • Monthly routine – The other aspect of rest is I plan to have a easy week once a month. So I will build up my mileage for 3 weeks normally with a longer (30 miles plus) at the end of the month. Then I’ll have an easy week to recover before building up again.
  • Long Runs – these are the key sessions of my training plan and I like to get them in the diary and keep to them. I aim to run with the gear I’ll be carrying for the race I’m training for. So if it’s the Lakeland 100 or Hardmoors 110 I will carry all the mandatory gear. For this year I’m running the Fling and West Highland Way so I won’t need to carry as much gear.
  • Back to back – I introduced these sessions a few years ago and I feel they definitely help. These sessions will be even more important this year as one of my key races is the 3 day Ring of Fire around Anglesey. So I want to practice running  consequentially for 2-3 days.
  • Ben Lomond Runs – I started doing weekly runs up and down Ben Lomond a few years ago and they have really helped me to strengthen my quads. The key part of the run for me is the downhill run.  I find to run for 40mins or so downhill really does thrash the quads and they are sore the next day. But they repair stronger and by doing it week by week my quads are strong enough to cope with the downhill running late on in an ultra.
  • Speed sessions – I still like to do a weekly Fartlek session with Kilbarchan AAC and a tempo run. Even though I’m training to run for a long time if my basic speed is faster then I will be able to run for longer more comfortably. Plus I really enjoy trying to run a bit faster and at the end of the day I run because I enjoy it!

I think that will do for now! So with that in mind here is my provisional training plan for January to April. I say provisional as I’m sure they will be changes due to a variety of reasons.

I have entered the National Cross Country and Inverness Half Marathon so I have taken out my long monthly run for February but I’m hoping the speed training I will do for those races will help.




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