Monday, 19 December 2011


Running......just running,I never thought something so simple could capture my imagination and bring so much to my life. It's something i never used to give any consideration....why i run,it was just something i did a few times a week,it's only when you cant run and you feel the frustration building up inside over many months that you realise what this simple action means to you,as was the case with me this year. It's only when i couldn't run that i realised what a postitive impact it had on the rest of my life,and that when i dont run i don't feel right,as if something is missing,something out of place.Being injured for a fair amount of time in a way,has been a blessing in disguise,i never used to really think about what i was doing or why i did it,i just did it.I know now that i will never take the time i happen to be fit and healthy for granted,as you never know what is around the corner.

At this time of year i have always looked at the calender and planned the following years races,and this year is no different,i have races i want to do and ideas of where i would like to finish in each one of those,races and times are what i've always been driven towards,but they only make up a small amount of what i do, i have never thought about all the other runs,the day to day runs and small adventures that i have always discounted as just training runs,but i have gradually realised that this is why i run,this is what makes me who i am,and why as runners we shouldn't just discount what we do in between the races as this is what shapes us and makes us who we are,at least that's what running feels to me,running completes me,it makes me who i am.

I have never been one for new year promises,but this year is going to be different,i am going to make a big effort to stop moaning as much and to stop being negative,i want to focus away from the bigger picture and swing my attention to my day to day life, and to make everyday a positive experience,for the first time in my life i am going to keep a hand written diary, maybe just for this year ,maybe longer who knows,i dont want to say,i intend to stop when it feels right.

I was always reluctant to start blogging but after reading other blogs i changed my mind,it is a nice way to record experiences and share those with like minded people,i have gained so much inspiration and motivation from seeing what other people get up to and if anyone finds what i write remotely interesting then great, if not then i feel it will be something nice to look back on myself in the future.

Anyway i am rambling on....

Happy Running

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

In praise of Apple....

I have never found running on the roads much fun,but this being the first winter that i have actually decided to train through i am going to have to learn to or else it's going to be a long one! Seeing that i can get out for 1-2 hours on the fells or trails most wednesday mornings and for a 2-4 hour run on saturdays i have come to the conclusion that if i can get 2 or 3 good quality road runs of around an hour in duration (works out at about 7 or 8 miles at a steady pace as it is very hilly around here!) in the week this should give me a nice base going into the spring. I find it quite easy to drum up the motivation for running off road but to force my arse out of the door after work or college in the dark and the freezing rain for some tarmac abuse is hard! I have never thought of running with music but on tonights run i shoved my ipod into my cag pocket and put it on shuffle.Well what can i say,it made a very dull,wet and cold 8 miles pass very easily,although i would never run in the hills with my ipod,i think i've found the key to making road running more enjoyable,although i think i will have to make a playlist to get tunes better suited to running!

So get your ipods out this winter,i know i will be,it's the only way i can cope!

Speaking of good tunes to run too....

This is off the new Black Keys album 'El Camino' which was out yesterday,still eagerly awaiting the postman dropping it through the letter box......

Sunday, 27 November 2011


After 3 frustrating weeks out with my back it's very nice to finally be on the mend,It's been a real effort to stay patient after the year i've had but sometimes you have to just take it easy,after trying to run for the last 3 weeks and it just flaring up again you just have to take a backseat and let it heal.Went for a spot of indoor climbing today taking it very easy,it seemed to work a treat,feels alot more loose now.Hoping to slowly get back into the running this week and then build up over the winter.

The plan for next years running seems to be falling into place now.My main aim is to run a fast time at Sierre - Zinal on August 12th and all of my running and racing will be geared towards this, and this also allows me to fit in a good effort in the Britsh Championships and to try some new races,i plan to race alot less than usual,focusing on getting the miles in and enjoying just getting into the mountains and hills more often,my provisional racing plan is as follows.......

05/02/12 - Long Mynd - Shropshire - 11.5 miles/4500ft ascent
03/03/12 - Black Combe - Lake District - 8 miles/3000ft ascent
14/04/12 - Coledale Horseshoe - Lake District - (British Champs) - 8 miles/3000ft ascent
12/05/12 - Slieve Bearnargh - Northern Ireland (British Champs) - 4 miles/2700ft ascent
02/06/12 - Ennerdale Horseshoe - Lake District - 23 miles/7500ft ascent
07/07/12 - Arrochar Alps - Scotland (British Champs) - 15 miles/8000ft ascent
22/07/12 (?) - Dolomites Skyrace - Italy - 12 miles/6000ft ascent
12/08/12 - Sierre - Zinal - Switzerland - 19 miles/7000ft ascent
08/09/12 - Moel Wnion - Wales (British Champs) 4.5 miles/1800ft ascent

Really looking forward to trying some new races such as Ennerdale and Arrochar and am looking forward to putting some good miles in the bank over the next 6 months,super excited about going out to Europe for a month or so next summer and not just for the races and running some awesome alpine trails. I'm planning on taking some climbing gear out there and hopefully climbing some 4000m peaks, so will be hopefully getting up to Scotland over the winter and out on the rock when the spring somes around to prep for it.Alot to look forward to next year.

Happy Running

Sunday, 13 November 2011


After a good eight week block of running after ten months out i was feeling great and was super psyched,and then i decided to fall on a rock on the summit of bowfell and crack my back! It's now been ten days since i last run and although my back is feeling better every day it's really doing my head in,the urge to run is bubbling over! I don't think i helped matters by trying to climb indoors on friday so i've decided to rest up until the pain has gone,it being a trauma injury,at least i know that rest should make it better and it's not going to keep me out for too long.Fingers crossed it'll be better by next weekend and i can get out on the hills again.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

A slight setback...

After about 8 weeks of consistent running it was inevitable that something was going to give,it usually does,except this time it was a rather funny incident that has stopped me running again,although thankfully it should only be a couple of days,maybe a week off.

Due to the weather being amazing on sunday i headed up to the lakes for a spot of hiking with a non fell running mate and what a day it was! We opted for a steady plod around a little bit of the langdale horseshoe,missing out the first bit and heading direct up the band to the summit of bowfell and went over the crinkle crags to bowfell and back down to one of the finest pubs in lakeland the ODG for lashings of fine ale.

The rather amusing incident happend on the summit of bowfell whilst eating a sandwich.What looked to be a very slippery moss covered rock turned out to be just that and i piled straight into it,lower back first.At the time it didn't feel too bad,but it became gradually worse and after a good nights sleep in what must have been a very awkward position turned into a very painful day at work! It feels slightly better today so hopefully be back running before the weekend!


Monday, 31 October 2011

Back Racing

Well after a whole year without racing i have now done two races in two weeks.Race to the Summit on the 22nd and Great Whernside on the 29th with no real ill effects to report.

Race to the Summit
This is a nice low key 4.5 mile fast fell race (route extended by 0.5 mile this year) with 800ft ascent from the summit inn just outside Littleborough near Rochdale.The race ascends steadily for 2 miles on footpaths and dirt roads up to the whitehouse inn on the road over to Halifax and then descends on a different route for about a mile before rejoining the ascent route for the final push to the finish.After such a long break from racing i was a little nervous before the start as to how i would feel and wether or not i would reignite any troubles in my foot but all was well.Although i felt a bit stale and slow on the flatter bits i felt good on the climb and the steeper bit of the descent and managed to finish in 33:05 in 8th place out of 51 runners,this did my confidence the world of good and it was really nice just to get a good hard run under my belt.

The Whitehouse Inn high above Littleborough,the turning point for the race.

Great Whernside
The Great Whernside race for me is everything a fell race should be,it's got steep climbs,big bogs that stop you dead in your tracks,steep rocky descents,and a cracking run down into the finish,and best of all no flat in sight! I have done the race twice before and so knew to expect a high quality field,even more so this year as it was the Yorkshire Championships.After a pretty hard week of training i wasn't expecting to run that well and was just going into it for a hard training run not really bothered about time or postition but i surprised myself with my run.The race attracted a field of 175 including some top runners.The race was won in 31:06 by Carl Bell of Howgill Harriers who has been in sensational form this year including recent wins at the Three Shires and Langdale Horseshoe races in the Lake District.I finished in 28th position in 36:20 and although i jarred my knee sprinting into the finish i felt pretty good if a little blunt from a decent week of training,the race taking my total for last week to 40 miles and 9000ft ascent,which is the highest for quite some time! Hopefully keep on building on this over the winter and now the clocks have gone back it's going to be time to dig out the road shoes for some tarmac slapping.Next race is going to be the Gravy Pud race on the 2nd December and then after that it will be the new year!

Have been forming some more definitive but still provisional plans for next year on the running front.Having seen the dates and race selection for the British Championships i am now intending to run all four of the races to hopefully try and medal in the under 23's,especially excited by the long counter, the Arrochar Alps race,I have been wanting to have a crack at this beast for the last 3 years since i first heard about it and this is an ideal excuse for a trip up to race in Scotland.The races in Northern Ireland are always a great weekend away and next year it's the short but very sharp Slieve Bernargh race which i last did 2 years ago.Moel Wnion in North Wales is the other short counter and having done this race once before i know that it's going to be a cracker with the top runners in Britain racing it.The medium counter is the classic Coledale Horseshoe in the Lake District which although i haven't raced is one of my favourite parts of the Lakes.

                  The Stunning terrain taken in by the Arrochar Alps race.

Really excited about next year on the running front and hopefully getting into university and starting on a new career path it's going to be challenging and exciting year full stop.

Happy Running

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Midweek Mountains

Taking advantage of my week off i decided to head up to the lakes on tuesday,and the 4 hour round trip was well worth it.Decided to head to the Newlands Valley to have a run around the Newlands Horseshoe,pretty much the Anniversary Waltz race route (11.5 miles 3600ft ascent).Although i have spent alot of the summer walking in the mountains i haven't run in them for a good while and so was super excited,no rain and decent visibilty made it perfect running conditions and apart from the summit of catbells there wasn't many people out on the hill,which is just how i like it.Forgot how hard the slog up to Robinson is,about 2000ft in maybe 3 miles but once i got up to the summit i felt great and just drifted over to Hindscarth and over to Dale Head in a trance taking in the views over the Gables and up to Scafell Pike.The run went very quickly and before i knew it i was dropping back down into the valley to the car.I will be taking advantage of my free time midweek in the coming months to get some ascent in my legs over the winter months and hopefully it will pay off next year.

On the racing front,after a good week last week i decided to run in the Race to the Summit on saturday from Littleborough.After a hard week of training i felt a bit jaded on the climb but still managed to finsh in 8th position,which in my first race of the year is very pleasing,really looking forward to Great Whernside this saturday,although again i haven't really rested up for it,having run 30 miles and done 5000ft ascent already this week so it will just be a case of running hard and seeing what happens.

Happy Running

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Dark nights....

Winter is well on the way! Freezing cycling to college this morning. Scotland has had some snow already so hopefully it will be a good winter again.Going to buy some big silly boots and crampons and have some fun this winter instead of sulking and watching tv,one thing that wont be fun is the dark nights,which mean either snapping an ankle on head torch runs on the fells or hitting the roads.This will be my first winter of full training instead of just hitting the booze and hibernating so i intend to run on the tarmac for about 50 % of my mileage,luckily i have a free morning every wednesday so i intend to get out for a long hill run midweek and hit the hills again on the weekends,the rest will have to be road,which will hopefully bring me into the spring with a good solid base ready for the summer.

I do think something good has come out of being injured the whole year in that i am so motivated going into the winter,i'm finding it quite hard to reign myself in at the moment but i need to be sensible and remember that my main goal for next year is not until August.Speaking of plans for next year,i want to run the Duddon Valley race after last years super bonk on Dow Crag and that should lead me into some alpine adventures in July and August.The provisional plan is to head out to Italy at the end of July to run the Dolomites Skyrace then head into Switzerland for Sierre-Zinal....the greatest race in the world! then might pay a vist to Chamonix for some adventures on mont blanc but that is only a provisional plan.

Going to head up to Kettlewell for the Great Whernside race next saturday,my first race since.......Great Whernside 12 months ago!! Great race and beer afterwards.

Happy Running

                                             Great Whernside 2010

                    Summit of Piz Boe,Italian Dolomites,at 3152m/10334ft

Sunday, 9 October 2011

A good week

30 miles running for the week,the highest weekly mileage for 14 months!

Feel great and although my foot aches a bit it doesn't bother me much at all,good stuff.

The weather has been terrible this weekend and thankfully i'd planned a day of eating and drinking beer today after running every day this week so far.Ran one of my favourite local routes yesterday,up alphin and back from home,10 miles with two 1000ft ascents thrown in,one up alphin and the other after dropping right down to the valley floor to climb right back up to my house again,all off road with a bit of everything thrown in,fields,foot paths and open fell.It was very wet and misty,couldn't see anything above 1000ft on alphin.Did the run in 1 hour 26 minutes which is not far off what i was doing last summer,even more pleasing as i didn't feel like i was pushing it at all.Going to try for the same mileage this week.

                                                Alphin Pike

I have often jokingly slagged ultra running off as being for people who can't run fast enough to do real races and said i'd never get into it but having been watching alot of youtube videos and reading UTMB reports i have changed my mind! Although i wont be doing any in the next few years i can see myself trying in the future.

Some inspiring stuff going on out there..........

Happy Running

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Nice and easy

After a long lay off from running it's so good to be feeling fit and strong again,although still not totally over my calf and plantar isssues they seem to be getting better all the time.I am learning more and more about listening to my body and am getting better at knowing when to ease off.After my nine miler last saturday my calf reminded me that it wasn't quite ready for that just yet and when i tried to run 7 miles on the road on tuesday it flared up quite bad,which resulted in me walking the last 2 miles.I was fearing the worst and was very pissed off!

After a bit of a rethink i decided to ease off the pace and distance and keep off the tarmac for a while.So the last 5 days i have been out running every day on the local trails and footpaths and through the fields up and around hartshead pike running between 2 and 4 miles with some nice steep climbs but keeping the pace nice and easy so as to focus on my form.My old mentality was that unless i was running fast or long it was a wasted run. I have to admit though it's so enjoyable to be out running everyday and feeling good that i think my plan over the winter is to try and get out everyday and gradually build up the distance,not worrying about pace and concentrating more on the enjoyment factor.I will be throwing a few races in but certainly won't be worrying about position,that will be for next summer.Got a physio appointment next wednesday to try and loosen up my calf and i have added some calf raises into my daily stretching and strenghtening routine.

Already looking forward to tommorows run......

Saturday, 17 September 2011


Been a positive week in my attempt to get back into the world of fell running,4th run of the week today,a very wet 9 miles of mixed terrain including some good climbs (the 600ft climb to the phone mast on wharmton hill being saved until last).This followed 12 miles in 3 runs during the week and a 16 mile cycle.What was extra pleasing was it was totally pain free which i was worried about after my foot flaring up again on thursday,but a rest day and some really good stretching and foam rollering sorted things out,i'm learning to listen to my body now.

Hopefully it's dry tommorow morning so i can get out for a decent bike ride if not then it might be a session on the turbo trainer.

                                                       Wharmton Hill

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Into The Wind

My god was it windy today,never have i struggled to cycle downhill before!

After a 4 mile road run on sunday and a 4 mile trail run monday,my first runs for 5 days due to feeling a bit grim(2 day booze bender the weekend before most certainly didn't have anything to do with it!)  i decided to get the bike out after work today as my legs were feeling a bit tender and i fancied a cycle on my lovley steel machine.I set out without a real plan,intending to go by feel,for the first time since i started cycling again 8 weeks ago i actually felt comfortable on the bike,keeping a really nice tempo going round Greenfield village i thought i'd ride up to Bleak Hey Nook,a small hamlet above Delph and Diggle,from the bottom it rises for about 2 miles at an average of 8%,i was lulled into a false sense of security as i was shelterd from the wind going up the climb and felt quite strong but when i turned at the top to descend down to Delph crossroads i felt i was cycling through treacle while suffering from severe brain freeze! Total distance for the ride just over 16 miles,climb not sure but about 4 miles of it was uphill,time...just over the hour.Just for the record,the cold bottle of asahi with my tea went down a treat!

Plan is to try and get up to about 30 miles a week running by christmas and push on from there,looking forward to pushing on into the winter and getting some good long steady runs in at the weekends

Friday, 9 September 2011

First Steps.....

Well here we are,my first steps into the world of blogging.I have been thinking of starting a blog for some time,but kind of put my self off by not wanting to come across as some self absorbed tosser,but i think there are ways of doing it without being too self indulgent.I am starting a blog as a form of training diary and as a way of logging different races and training routes,and any other silly things i end up getting myself into as i think it may be something nice to look back on in time,and if anyone else gets something from it, then thats great,but really it's just an oulet for my moaning and whinging.

It's been a frustrating year running wise,and i can pin point the exact point things went wrong,August 11th 2010.Three days a after a pleasing run at the Sierre-Zinal mountain race in Switzerland (THE greatest race in the world) I thought it would be a good idea to do a 6 mile road race,which turned out not to be.After being run down and burnt out after a summer of racing for a month afterwards,and following a massive loss of motivation, i hit the beer and hibernated , not running a single step until January 5th of this year.What followed was 8 months of Chronic ITB and Plantar Fasciitis,which after hundreds of pounds worth of physio treatment and 30 mins of stability exercises and stretches every day,is finally starting to clear up.Which has enabled me to finally rediscover the simple joys of moving along at a relative speed again,although I am all too aware that it is going to take some time to regain the fitness which i had last summer and get up to the sharp end of races at some point in the future.

Frustrating as it was being injured,it gave me time to focus on other things,I have found hiking to be rather fun and going at a slower pace it enables you to actually see things you usually don't notice running.Just this week i have gone part time at work and started a college course which all being well will get me into university to study physiotherapy in the september of next year.So all in all a rewarding summer without running.This long break has really fired me up to get back out running again and for the first time i am actually excited about a winter of long steady runs in prep for the summer racing season,it's a great time of year at the moment,reflecting on the summers racing and running and starting to form up ideas for next years adventures.

Bring on the winter!!

carpe diem