No long run this week & thoughts re whw 09

I was planning to go out after work last night and run 18-20 miles on the Braes but on Thursday night I decided not to! This for me is a fairly major change of plan as my long run each week is the main stay of my training and I don’t quit on these very

I felt it was the right decision for the following reasons (not that I need to justify myself but this blog was always intended to be my record of training for ultras runs!) ….

1. My big toe on the left foot is still sore. It is bruised and quite painful to touch. I can run on it without too much hassle but it’s quite sore afterwards. This is all due to wearing a pair of running shoes that are slightly too small.

2. I feel I haven’t fully recovered from the Highland Fling. Last week I ran 25miles easy miles and I thought I could increase it to 60 this week but I don’t think that was a good idea. On Wednesday when I was struggling Davie said to me that he was surprised I was doing so much so soon and when I was finding it hard to run 5 miles round Bellahouston Park on Thursday lunchtime I realised that to try and run 20 miles on the Braes would do more harm than good.

3. I spoke to Donald on Thursday night. I needed his details for the form to send back to Dario for the whw race. Anyway we chatted about my training for the next few weeks and he made the comment that it is a balance between allowing the body to recover after the Fling and putting in more miles in training for the whw. I think I didn’t have the balance right and if I’d run last night it may well have done more damage than good.

So I took the decision to have a couple of days off. I have run 35 miles anyway this week and I go for an easy run tomorrow. I’m going to take next week sensibly and see how I feel but I would like to have a longer run at the end of the week. Then the following weekend (23rd/24th May) is my 2 day run on the whw when I will run 75 miles over the 2 days.

So instead of running last night I spent time thinking and planning instead! Billy did a very interesting and revealing analysis of the Fling race. Also Graeme is his email this week commenting on Billy’s analysis wrote the following,

“Jez’ times were perfect example of what you want to do. Remember (Jez) being more of a fat burner that you are, starting off steady and progressively maintaining is the key. This doesn’t mean picking up speed as the racegoes on, that’s impossible. No runner in the world runs faster in the last mile than the first, however the athletes who succeed run times in their last few miles closer to the their times for the first few miles,better than the other athletes. My favourite comments from runners towards the end of the race is that – “they picked up pace and went away from me”!!!”

So I decided to do it for last year’s whw race. 2007 to follow. Hope you don’t mind Billy?

I split the race into 4 sections

Milngavie to Rowardennan (26.91 miles which is 28.37% of the route)
Rowardennan to Auchtertyre (23.21miles – 24.47%)
Auchtertyre to Kingshouse (21.25 miles – 22.40%)
Kingshouse to Fort William (23.50miles – 24.77%)

So if we work on the idea that the best way to run the whw race is to run at an even pace throughout (and that might be debated??) then the percentage time of each leg should be as close to the percentage distance as possible. Following me?

So here is a comparison of my 2007 and 2008 whw races ….

In 2007 I really struggled from Kingshouse onwards having to walk the majority of the way and it showed that my 7hrs 24mins was 32.54% of my run for a section which is 24.77% of the distance. Last year I ran the same section in 5hrs 42mins – which was 28.56% a lot nearer to the percentage distance.

Peter Duggan left a comment after the Fling analysis saying he wasn’t surprised because his strategy for 2007 was to run to Balmaha in about 4hrs and keep the pace going through the race. It’s a shame he has had to pull out of this year’s race as I know he was aiming to beat my time from last year!!

So what am I planning? How does this help? What would be a perfect race for me?

Here is the pace chart for a even paced 20hr and 21hr whw race …..

The main difference between my sub 21hr plan and this model is the first section. I would be aiming to get to Rowardennan in 4hrs 57mins whereas purely on percentage I should be aiming for 5hrs 40mins.

To be honest I think it is almost impossible to run a even paced race over 95 miles but the key thing is that the last section is as close to the percentage as possible and the first section is not too far away.

So this will definitely be in my mind as I line up at 1am on Saturday 20 June. Run my own race and my aim will be to get to Rowardennan as easily as possible with loads of energy left to keep going at the same pace!!!

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2 Responses to No long run this week & thoughts re whw 09

  1. Billy says:


    I’m still feeling post-race effects from the Fling too. Best listen to the body methinks. Those who were racing again the following week are crazy!

    Glad you found the Fling analysis useful. It wasn’t really more than a slight development on stuff you’d previously done.

    Your pacing thoughts for the WHW are interesting. My own hunch (which should be taken with a pinch of salt as I’ve not run the whole distance yet!) is that the first section is the easiest terrain and should be a touch faster than even pace, and the final section with the toughest climbs should be a bit slower.

    I looked up Jez’s 2006 splits (they’re not in the results but can be found on the WHW race website screensaver) and they seem to support this view, working out at 26.2%, 24%, 22.5% and 27.3% (the middle stages have a slight adjustment to account for the checkpoint change from Tyndrum to Auchteryre). For a 20 hour target, this gives splits of 5:14, 4:48, 4:30 and 5:28; i.e, 26 minutes faster than even pace for stage 1 and 32 minutes slower than even pace for stage 4, with the middle stages being very similar to your 2008 times. Of course, whatever the split targets chosen, sticking to them is easier said than done!



  2. Peter Duggan says:

    Ah, John, I’m rumbled, am I? In which case, I’d better admit how close you’ve come to the truth! So I *was* thinking I’m capable of sub-20 (and not much more) if I get everything right, but that’s a big if and I wasn’t even looking on course for 22 the way things were working out.

    But (despite undoing some of the good work by fairly chugging up Loch Lomondside and ultimately paying for it) I still believe my 2007 strategy was right and *almost everyone* starts *far too fast*. Now, I know they say they need to because it’s the ‘easiest’ section, and I know I’m comfortable enough on the rough stuff to disagree, but it’s still a helluva long way from Balmaha, Rowardennan or even Beinglas to the finish and you can’t put back what you haven’t got left! So I basically believe that everyone’s times would come down if they started slower (maybe much slower), but doubt we’ll ever see that happening on a big enough scale to prove the point.

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