LOVEultras 003 Thoughts on Training

For episode 003 of my series LOVEultras I have shared my thoughts on training. It lasts for 15mins 28secs. I hope you enjoy it!

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Plans for the Highland Fling

My first ultra of the year is just 5 days away as I type this on Monday evening. So that’s 5 sleeps or more likely 4 and a half! The race starts at 6am so I plan to get up just before 4am for breakfast (porridge with fruit & honey) before driving to Milngavie picking up Lesley on the way.

Katrina has very kindly offered to take us to the start before heading to Tyndrum to help John Duncan and his team with the finish.

I must admit I really like the early starts as I’m very much a morning person so it’s not a problem to be up and out early.

I thought I would write down some of my plans for the race.


I normally just have a one week taper for the Fling but I decided after my run with Ryan to give myself two weeks. My knee was slightly sore after that run so I thought at extra day of rest would be more beneficial.

The knee is fine now but today when I went for an easy run my right calf was really tight and it is a little sore now. I’ve had this before and it normally eases off after a couple of days so I’m not too concerned but would prefer it not to be sore!

I have one more easy run planned for Wednesday but I’m going to see how my calf is. If it is still sore I will not bother with that run.


I’ll be wearing my tried and tested kit.

  • Shoes – Skechers Ultra 2
  • Socks – Drymax
  • Under shorts – thigh length skins
  • Shorts – Reebox long shorts with pockets
  • Top – favourite green long sleeved (if it is warm I may switch to a short sleeved)
  • Suunto watch

I’ll be carrying my North Face Enduro pack with the following

  • Emergency blanket (compulsory)
  • Mobile Phone (compulsory)
  • Camera as I plan to do a video diary of the day
  • Water bottle
  • Light weight windproof top (if it looks like there might be rain I will take my OMM top instead)
  • Light weight gloves and buff

Food & Drink

I will be aiming to drink 600ml of Tailwind every couple of hours and I will put the following in my drop bags to eat on the way.

  • Start – 2 slices of fruit bread with peanut butter and jam
  • Balmaha – mashed sweet potato
  • Rowardennan – baked beans
  • Inversnaid – Greek style youghat
  • Beinglas Farm – Milk Shake

I will also have a selection of energy bars, youghat covered nut & raisins, shot bloks and liquorice to keep me going.

I have my bags ready … just need to fill them up!

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 17.23.52

Pacing Plan

I like to have a plan to aim for but the priority for this race is going to be my heart rate. I’m aiming to try and keep my HR around 135 for the whole race. This means early on making sure that I don’t run too fast as that would push my HR well above the 135.

From past experience I know this takes a lot of discipline and means I will have to be a little bit antisocial as I will need to slow down if my HR goes too high! But if it works out right I will hopefully see the runners who leave me in the first 10 miles or so later on!!

I’m going to carry my splits for a 10:15 finish and I’m looking forward to seeing whether I will be near them or not.  But as I’ve said the priority is keeping to my HR of 135 so I’m expecting to be slower to Drymen that the 1:53 I have down. These times are based on previous Flings when I didn’t use my HR to pace myself.

For anyone interested here are my planned splits for the 2017 Highland Fling …

plan 1plan 2plan 3


I feel ready for the race but I have a few niggling doubts in the back of my mind which is not like me! My training has generally gone well but there have been a few runs when I have felt pretty sluggish so I’m not sure which legs will turn up on the day.

I’m going into the race with a positive frame of mind and aiming to do the best I can and enjoy it as much as possible!

Guess My Time Competition

I have 74 guesses so far. Remember you have until 5pm on Friday 28th April to send in your guess. More details


Let me wish everyone who is a running a great race whether it is your 8th race like me or your very first Highland Fling or somewhere it between.

Also a massive thank you to John and his team of volunteers who will be giving up their weekend to help us runners be safe on the trail. Thank you so much.

I will try and say thank you as I see you on the run!

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LOVEultras 002 Highland Fling

For episode 002 of my series LOVEultras I have reflected on the seven Highland Fling races I have run. Enjoy …

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Guess My Time Competition – Highland Fling

My first ultra of the year is coming up on Saturday 29th April 2017 so it’s time to open up my traditional ‘Guess My Time’ competition. This will be my 40th ultra since my very first one which was also the Highland Fling in 2007.

For each and every ultra I’ve run this fun competition. It started off as a fun way of getting friends and family involved and has now become part of my ultra build up!

The good people at have once again offered to provide prizes for the competitions this year. There are some superb prizes especially for my two longest races the West Highland Way race in June and the Ring O’ Fire race in September so watch out for those!

For the Highland Fling ‘Guess My Time’ the store are offering two prizes of a bottle of the excellent S-Cap tablets worth £16.99.

Screen Shot 2017-04-18 at 06.42.05Plus the person with the closest guess will receive a limited edition key ring

Screen Shot 2017-04-18 at 06.43.43

and have their name on my wall of fame as a winner of my ‘Guess My Time’ competition!!

Screen Shot 2017-04-18 at 06.43.32

If you want to take part all you have to do is guess how long it will take me to run the 53 miles from Milngavie to Tyndrum along the West Highland Way. The race starts at 6am.

To give you an idea I’ve run the race 7 times and here is a summary of my times …

  • 2007 – 10:36:10
  • 2008 – 9:44:10
  • 2009 – 9:49:11
  • 2010 – 10:14:09
  • 2011 – 10:22:12
  • 2012 – 12:25:21 (with Katrina)
  • 2013 -10:05:59

As you can see the last time was four years ago so can I get near that time again?  My goals for the race are as follows:-

  •  Bronze – sub 11hrs
  • Silver – sub 10hrs 30mins
  • Gold – sub 10hrs 15mins

To enter please send your guess by 5pm on Friday 28th April 2017 by:-

  • Comment this blog
  • Facebook – jkynaston
  • Twitter – @jkynaston
  • Email –
  • Text – 07905 218162
  • Whatsapp
  • In person

Any other suitable medium!

There will be only guess per time accepted so if you want a particular time send your guess in early! If your time has been taken I will let you know so you can send in another one!

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Video of Training Run

Very short video of my run on Saturday with Ryan Mckenzie which included Fyrish Monument.

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Weekend Runs from Alness

With two weeks to go before my first ultra of the year, the Highland Fling, I was keen to do one final longer run. I got in touch with my good friend Ryan and asked him whether he fancied a run from Alness … and we invited Bekki & Orrin for lunch after the run.

Loop from Alness including Fryish Hill

Ryan and I set off just after 9.30am. It was windy and with some rain in the air but after 45 mins or so of running it cleared up and we had great weather for the rest of the run.

I had worked out a route which would take us over Fryish Hill and then headed back to Alness via the woods alongside the river.


The profile shows the climbing we did.


I really enjoy running with Ryan as we always have loads to chat about and the miles fly by. I was encouraged with how I was feeling. We were averaging 10min miles which is a good effort for me. Ryan was crusing along!

The views from the top were great but as it was pretty windy and cold up there we kept moving!  I took a few video clips so I’ll upload those later.


So that was my final longer run before the Fling. I’m going to run with Katrina tomorrow. She has 14 miles to run so I’m going to do the first 8 miles or so with her.

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Book review – The Endurance Diet by Matt Fitzgerald


I know I’m not alone in being really interested in nutrition and running. Over the last few years there have been all sorts of various diets and certain foods recommended or to be avoided. I have watched with interest as friends have radically changed their eating habits with the aim to improve their ultra running performance.

Personally I have worked fairly hard to keep my weight down hoping that it would help my endurance running and I do feel it has. To do this all I have really done is to try and eat sensible portions and avoid puddings during the week. We generally eat healthily with lots of fruit and vegetables.

So I was very interested to be given a copy of Matt Fitzgerald’s latest book, ‘The Endurance Diet’. I have read a few of Matt’s books and always found them very interesting and thought provoking. This one was no exception.

Before I started it I wondered whether it would be advocating a particular diet which would mean a radical change in eating habits but it is nothing like that at all.

The basis of the book is Matt’s extensive research. The subtitle is ‘Discover the World’s Greatest Athletes’ 5 Core Habits to Look, Feel and Perform Better.’ Matt uses his research of athletes from various sports in many countries to show how they have worked out by trial and error what works for endurance athletes.

According to the book there are five core habits that elite athletes follow. They are:-

1. Eat Everything
2. Eat Quality
3. Eat Carb-Centered
4. Eat Enough
5. Eat Individually

Each chapter is really easy and interesting to read. Matt starts each section with a story from his travels giving an example to follow or a things to avoid.

I found that there was loads of common sense and really helpful yet challenging ideas to think through. I found myself agreeing with so much especially when compared with many diets which encourage us to avoid certain foods or drastically reduce particular food types.

The chapter on Eat Everything starts on this theme that we need a balanced diet which includes all the food groups. He uses the example of the LottoNL-Jumbo professional cycling team and shows what they eat when they are training and competing.

For chapter I found most interesting was the 3rd habit – Eat Carb-Centered. I was also listening to a podcast which was advocating a low carb diet at the same time I was reading the chapter. I found myself agreeing with Matt’s reasoning and the examples he gave and I was struggling to see how the podcast’s ideas would help my training.

I have always struggled with the idea of eating a low carb diet as I thought it would compromise my training and in races carbs are always available. Matt uses the example of the Kenyan distance runners and shows how their diet is carb rich and needs to be because of the amount of running they are doing.

By the time I had finished the 5 chapters I was really encouraged that the way we eat is not far from what Matt is encouraging. It has certainly given me a blueprint of comparing and analysing various diets and nutrition plans that come and go in the endurance world.

In the final five chapters Matt deals with issues like Building Elite Eating Habits, Fine-Tuning Your Endurance Diet, Endurance ‘Superfoods’ before giving some great examples of Endurance Recipes and finishing with a chapter on Diet-Exercise Synergy.

I found the chapter on Endurance ‘Superfoods’ particularly helpful as it gave reasons why the 22 foods he highlights are helpful for our diet.

I would thoroughly recommend the book for anyone interested in how to improve their performance through what they eat. I love the fact that what Matt proposes is a healthy lifestyle rather than a particular diet.

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