Dragon’s Back Training Week 17

This will be my final week of training before a two week taper leading into the Dragon’s Back. I planned a couple of sessions Monday and Wednesday before taking part in the Silva Great Lakeland 3 day event.

I purposefully haven’t put this down as a race as I wanted to use it as my final big weekend before the main event. The aim was to really enjoy my three days in the Lakes using it as a final practice of my pacing, gear, food etc.

Monday 29th April – Club Fartlek Session

  • 51 miles in 1:15:50
  • Ascent – 315ft

The session was 10 x 3mins with 90 recovery. I decided to take the session a little easier than I normally would so I started at the front of the group and was happy to be the hare that the rest of the group chased.

I felt quite sluggish for the first few reps but then felt better over the second half.

Stats for the session ..

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Wednesday 1st May – Run around Brodie Park

  • 5.47 miles in 51:42
  • Ascent – 453ft

I wanted an easier run off road so decided to head to Brodie Park and do my 4 loops around the park. I recently bought a new pair of Altra Lone Peak v4 trail shoes so I decided to give them their first run out.

I bought them with the Dragon’s Back in mind as a back up pair to the ones I plan to use so thought I’d best give them a run out or two in the last few weeks before the main race in case I need them.

I enjoyed the run and spent the time thinking about the Silva Great Lakeland 3 day event. I was trying to work out whether I can get everything I need in my 60l dry bag which gets taken to the overnight camps.

When I got back from my run I tried it out and thankfully everything fits in!

Saturday 4th May – Great Lakeland 3 Day Event – Day 1

  • 31.34 miles in 10:00:31
  • Ascent – 9029ft

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Sunday 5th May – Great Lakeland 3 Day Event – Day 2

  • 27.78 miles in 9:38:53
  • Ascent – 9573

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Full report and video diary of the event to come but I really enjoyed the 3 days and it was a real confidence booster for the Dragon’s Back!

Summary of the week

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Photo of the week

So many to choose from!


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Silva Great Lakeland 3 Day Event

This event is organised by Ourea who put on a number of great events including the Dragon’s Back (DB). I decided to enter a few months ago as I thought it would be really helpful as a final training effort two weeks before my big race.

I have friends who have done it before and they all said how good it is. The basic idea is a 3 day event in the Lake District. There are three classes Cafe, Wainwright and expert so giving various options for all runners and walkers.

You are even able to swap and switch between the classes over the three days but if you want to get a result then you need to do the same class for all three days.

My plan is to do the expert class each day but I’m purposely not treating it as a race. I want to use it as three long days out to prepare for the DB. Here are some of the things I hope to practice on the event.

Pacing – my aim is to try and go at a similar pace to the DB. So if I can average 3 mph I’ll be very happy. I want to finish each day feeling good and knowing I could do more. The average distance for each day is around 27 miles so 8-15 miles shorter than DB days.

Gear – I will be using all the gear I plan to use for the DB from shoes (Altra Lone Peak 4) to shorts & top, waterproofs etc to rucksack (Inov-8 and Nathan waist pack).

Navigation – in this event you only get the map at registration so I haven’t been able to plan out the route beforehand. I think this will be really good a it will force me to rely more on map reading skills rather than my gps. The GL3D uses the same Harvey  maps as the DB so that will help me.

Food – over the years I have sorted out my main food choices but for the DB I wanted to have something more substantial in my mid point drop back so I’m going to try out cold sausage and beans over this weekend and see how it works. I also have my Tailwind sorted and ready.

Camp Craft – I did a 3 day event (Ring of Fire) last year but we stayed in a sports hall one night and a village hall another. In this event you take your own small tent which is taken in your dry bag to the overnight camp. So I’m going to try out a few things to see what works in relation to recovering between days.

I’m planning to take some video clips over the weekend and put together a diary of the event so watch out for that!

Katrina has come down with me to be part of the event team.

Registration opens soon so I’ll sign off for now. I’m not sure if there will be live updates but check out the race website or Facebook.

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Summary of April 2019

Another solid month of training in my build up to the Dragon’s Back race in May. I ran a total of 184.12 miles with 29,892ft of ascent (which is equivalent to climbing Everest!).

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Apr graph

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Dragon’s Back Training Week 16

This week I wanted to do some quality sessions with plenty of ascent.

Monday 22nd April – Club Fartlek Session

  • 8.12 miles in 1:06:03
  • Ascent – 328ft

As it was Bank Holiday Monday we only had 3 in our group but we worked hard and kept pushing each other right through the run.

The session was 5 x [1min (30secs), 2mins (1min), 1min (30secs)] which seemed an easier session with ‘only’ 20mins of hard running rather than our normal 30mins but it was tough as we were working hard.

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I was pleased with my effort over the session especially as I was consistent right to the end.  I did reflect on the fact though that in my mid twenties I could run a half marathon at sub 6min per mile pace. Now the best I can manage is 1min at that pace!

Wednesday 24th April – Hill reps on the Braes

  • 7.89 miles in 1:08:49
  • Ascent – 1,001ft

I cycled 9.7 miles to and from work as our Van was in the garage to sort out the sliding door handle (fixed now).

I was keen to see where my fitness is at as I’ve done these hill reps once a month. I did 4 reps and pushed as hard as I could up and down.

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I felt good and I was really pleased with the numbers. Looking back over the past 4 months here are the stats for the four sets of hill reps I’ve done in this training block.

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Friday 26th April – Double Ben Lomond

  • 15.42 miles in 4:49:17
  • Ascent – 6,503ft

I was keen to do a double Ben Lomond in the final stage of my build up to the Dragon’s Back. I thought it would also be good in getting ready for the Silva Great Lakeland 3 day event starting on Saturday 2nd May.

I was able to leave work early so I arrived at Rowardennan at 2.30pm and was running by 2.50pm. The weather wasn’t great but I have seen the views lots of times so it was all about the effort.

I was keen to climb at a steady effort and aim to do both ascents in a similar time. In it good physical training but also a good mental challenge.

Here is my route (clockwise) and the profile.

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It was very misty and very windy on the top but not too bad. I felt pretty comfortable on the first ascent and descent. I stopped for a few minutes and then set off again.

I found the second ascent easier and the wind had died down a bit so it wasn’t quite so hard going.

Here are my stats for the double climb.

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I was a little slower on the second loop but overall I was happy with my effort.

Saturday 27th April – Marshalling at the Highland Fling

No running but Katrina and I were part of the army of volunteers helping at the 14th Highland Fling. We were up at 3.15am and on car park duty from 4.15-5.45am at Milngavie.

We watched the start at 6am then after some breakfast headed to Inversnaid to look after the running as they came past us at 34 miles.

We had a great team and even though it rained for the majority of the time we all enjoyed it and hopefully helped all the runners coming through.

I really appreciate volunteers who have helped me in countless races so it’s always good to be able to give something back. I have been involved in 12 of the 14 races either running (8 times) or volunteering (3 times) and supporting (once).


I also enjoy doing a spreadsheet with the results for each leg and checkpoint.

Sunday 28th April – Easy Run

  • 6.13 miles in 54:51
  • Ascent – 354

I enjoyed watching the London Marathon in the morning and then went out for an easy run in the afternoon.

I spent the whole run thinking about next weekend’s Silva Great Lakeland 3 day event. I’m really looking forward to it and using it as my final big weekend before the Dragon’s Back which is now just 3 weeks away.

Summary of the week

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Photo of the week



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LOVEultras 048 Dragon’s Back Countdown 4 weeks to go

In my latest LOVEultras vlog I talk about my preparation for the Dragon’s Back. There is just 4 weeks to go.

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Dragon’s Back Training Week 15

My plan for this week was to have a slightly easier week but with a bit more emphasis on speed.

Monday 15th April – Club Fartlek Session

  • 8.18 miles in 1:08:13
  • Ascent – 449

The session this week was our regular hill session where we use the warm up to run to Craigends Hill and then run the 0.31 mile hill 10 times.

I had Sunday off after my two day recce on the Dragon’s Back course so I was hoping my legs were recovered enough to give it a good go.

It was fairly windy which affected the first section but helped a bit on the final push to the top. I was keen to try and keep all 10 within a 5 second band.

I was happy with my effort and felt I kept going right to the last rep.

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The quickest (#9) at 2:02 and the slowest (#5) at 2:08 so a 6 second band. I was very happy with that.

Wednesday 17th April – Lunchtime Run around Pollok Park

  • 6.46 miles in 54:36
  • Ascent – 548ft

I was keen to push hard from the start. I was aiming to get under the hour but was really pleased when I looked at my watch at the end and realised I had run under 55mins.

The ground was a lot firmer with all the mud dried up which helped but it is an encouraging indication that my training is going well.

I love the way strava compares all my runs on this route. According to Strava I have done this route 25 times and todays run was my 2nd quickest. I have also done the route lots of times the other way round as well.

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Thursday 18th April – Ben Lomond

  • 7.66 miles in 2:15:07
  • Ascent – 3,264ft

This was only my second ascent of Ben Lomond mainly due to the snow on the Munro. I was on my own as Cammie, my normal training partner, had things on tonight so he ran yesterday. He said it took him 1:11 to ascent and 32mins to descend.

I ran/walked as hard as I could on the ascent. It took my 1:18 and then I ran all the way down but not too fast in 57 mins.  So quite a bit slower than Cammie!

I was encouraged though that my legs felt good on the descent. I think I just have to accept that I’m not very fast on the descents.

Saturday 20th April – Blaven

  • 51 miles in 2:36:57
  • Ascent – 3,051ft

Katrina and I decided to have a few days away over Easter on the isle of Skye in our VW camper van. The weather forecast looked reasonable.

On Saturday morning we drove down to Torrin to the start of the climb to Blaven. Katrina’s knee had been a little sore so she decided to walk for a mile or so with me and then head back to the van to read her book.

The Munro was shrouded in mist but I was hopeful it might clear by the time I made the top. It is a very clear path and so easy to follow. The top third is very scree like and rocky and so perfect training for the Dragon’s Back.

I stopped to put on my jacket, buff and gloves as it was getting quite cold. I met a couple on their way down who said that it was misty and cloudy all the way to the top. The guy was wearing Hokas so we had a quick chat about how good they are!

About half a mile from the top I met a couple of guys who were on their way down. They said that the mist had gone from the top and you are above the clouds. So I was really looking forward to getting to the top.

They were right and it was such a great sight to be above the clouds with some the Cullins peaking above the clouds. The photos probably don’t do it justice but give an idea of the views.

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I aimed to run as much as I could on the way down. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll never be very fast on the descents but I’m definitely feeling more comfortable which I’ll take.

We had some sandwiches in our van at the car park and then drove round to the Fairy Pools and enjoyed a walk to the pools. The drive back to our campsite was excellent as well.

Sunday 21st April – Morning run

  • 5.53 miles in 1:02:49
  • Ascent – 371ft

I got up early and was out running by 6.50am. There was a path from the campsite along the shore so I set off running along the water age hoping it would keep going for a few miles so I could run for 30mins and then turn round.

It was a decent path for almost a mile but then just stopped at a fence so I turned round and ran back then went up onto the road and ran to Edinbane and back.

It was pretty windy and rainy but good to get out and have a run before setting off to explore a bit more of Skye.

Summary of the week

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Photo of the week





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Video of Dragon’s Back Day 4 Recce Run

I’ve put a video together of my recce of Day 4 on the Dragon’s Back Course.

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