Saturday, 31 January 2009


Ran a late 6m Pool loop.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Training again

Bliss! Ran 7m with the club. Was really nervous about it as I had said I would rest until the weekend. Knee felt good though and the cold I have had since the weekend also seemed to respond well to running.

The great thing about it was that I don't seem to have lost too much fitness.

Ran a nice trail up in the Chevin at a steady pace. No running tomorrow and then we'll see what the weekend brings.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Tentative run

Ran a very cautious 3 miles tonight just to see what the knee felt like.

Please as there was no sign of any obvious problems. Rest tomorrow then run again on Thursday.

Think the cycling and quad exercises help.

Stressful not running for 9 days when there's SO much training to do. Glad to have run a bit tonight though. Just makes you feel so much better. It's a definite addiction!

Sunday, 25 January 2009


Left knee again. Feels a bit different. Think it might be ligament damage, but could be the old trouble.

Whatever it is I'm treating it with the respect it deserves and laying off running for a few days. It's making me grouchy and uber-stresed but it's the only approach.

In the meantime I'm doing leg strengthening exercises (carefully!) and some cycling which seems ok.

Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, 20 January 2009


Late night 15m cycle to Ilkley and back via Denton etc. Cold, windy and sleety. Nice.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

A bit of a longer run

Starting to increase the lengths of my weekend runs now. Ran 15 miles today with as many hills as I could find and coped fine. Then went for a nice hilly 3m walk with my children, so all in all a nice day of hills!

Ran two circuits of yesterday's run + a bit more. On the second circuit, I overcame my vanity and used the my new poles which were given to me for my birthday (tomorrow by the way!).

Initial reactions to running with poles:
At first it felt really alien, like I would have to re-learn how to run.
It got easier really quickly, especially once I got a bit of rhythm going.
Going up and down hills, I could feel the benefit. Very stable and definitely takes some of the strain of the quads and knees.
I'm going to need to do some upper body strength training between now and then as I could feel the added strain on that part of my body (and my poles are only 240g!), but I had expected that anyway and have already begun.

Thoughts on my poles (Raidlight trail poles)
They are VERY light.
They are collapsible (they use a kind of tent pole design with a string running through the middle)
They are slightly flexible
They are quite short

I am 5'10" and they are about right for me, but I don't think they'd suit someone much taller (they are 110cm). Also I am about 70kg and I can feel them flex under my weight...don't think I'd want to be much heavier and use them.

All in all, I'm not sure I've made the right choice. They felt quite good and I'll have to do a lot more practice with them before I know if they suit me or not. I was quite please with how they felt in my hands and with the added stability and 'pull' on the ups and downs. The jury's still out but an interesting first attempt.

Saturday, 17 January 2009


Ran a nice hilly 7m trail route this evening up in the Chevin.

Did some weights last night. Will see what effect they have after a few sessions.

Thursday, 15 January 2009


Nice 7m off-road circuit with the club. Got heaps of stick for running with my pack tonight! Not bothered. Makes no sense to train all year without one then suddenly gain 2kg on race day. Wait til they see the poles!!

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Itchy Feet

Ordered myself some lightweight trail poles this week (when in Rome...) so I can get practising with them.

Had some bad experiences with online shopping recently but I have to say that Itchy Feet were superb. Good, friendly advice, reasonable prices, quick delivery.


It's official!

Got email confirmation today that I have a place in this year's UTMB. Thank goodness as I've booked my flights! The rest of the plan is also starting to come together slowly...

As for tonight, took an evening off as my legs have been feeling niggly all day. Think it's the cycling on Monday left it tonight and will run with the club tomorrow.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009


Well I did get up this morning to hike up the hill and to be perfectly honest it hurt! Hurt dragging myself out of bed and hurt my tight glute muscles!

Tonight I had intended to run with the club, but Briony late home so ran later. 7m average pace. Feel better for it.

Monday, 12 January 2009


Started my week with a cycle tonight. Did a 17 mile hilly route at a good intensity. Fun.

Initial thoughts on the UTMB

The enormity of the task ahead hit home today. I have nearly finished thinking about all the 'glossy bits' like booking flights, equipment, campsites, my recce runs etc and have actually begun to think a bit about how I'm going to get in good shape for this and stay injury free. Good question.

My tentative plan is to as follows:

I will start each day with a hike up the hill near me. A tiny blip of a thing compared to the Alps, but a hill none-the-less and beggars can't be choosers! I also plan to end each training run with the same climb, just when the legs are tired.

Mondays: Hilly high intensity cycling routes to allow the quads to build strength but reuce impact after high-mileage weekends.
Tuesdays: Club run.
Wednesdays: Specific hill reps.
Thursdays: Club run.
Fridays: Weights.
Saturdays: Medium runs of 10 - 15 miles with hills.
Sundays: Long runs of 20 - 30 miles with hills (incl. 3 peaks runs)

I aim to increase the intensity of each week over a 4 week period, with week 4 being a biggy and then reducing a little. Each block of 4 will also increase in mileage and intensity until the recce runs at the end of July and beginning of August at which point I'll cut it right back.

I plan to use sticks as often as possible on longer hilly runs to get used to them.

Initial thoughts only and highly flexible. Good to have a starting point though. I'll see just how serious I am about all of this tomorrow morning when my alarm goes off at 5.40 am. I HATE getting up early.

Saturday, 10 January 2009


Ran a good 13m road session home from Leeds this afternoon. No problems with the distance, in fact feeling very fresh at the end.

It's really cold still at the moment. lovely running weather!

Not so good for spiders though :(

A little about the UTMB

Most people who are into running distances know something about the UTMB. Most long-distance walkers know the route simply as the TMB, or Tour de Mont Blanc.

For those who don't know, here is a map and some information:

And the profile:

Basically the Tour de Mont Blanc is a long distance trail which circumnavigates the Mont Blanc massif, passing through France, Italy and Switzerland en route. It is ca. 103 miles in distance and has an elevation gain in the region of 9000m.

The UTMB is a single stage, semi-self sufficient event and as you might be able to tell I am immensely excited about the prospect of preparing for and running this amazing trail!!

Friday, 9 January 2009

UTMB is go!

Heard news this morning that I have managed to get a place in the Ultra Tour de Mont Blanc - this year's 'big race'!

Here is the word from the official website:

2009 Registrations - 08/01/2009 ; 11:54
Between 17th December 2008 and January 7th 2009, more than 5000 runners were pre-registered to take part in one of the 4 events in the 2009 edition of The North Face® Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc®.

For each course, everyone has to justify the qualifying events, according to a new rule noticeably more exacting than for preceding years with the objective of opening the registrations to more experienced competitors and increasing the security of everybody. That way, the pre-registrations happened without a rush and the number of available places for each event was not exceeded.

The organizing committee therefore has the great pleasure of announcing that as of today all the runners pre-registered may confirm their registration (*).Everybody will receive, at the beginning of the next week, an e-mail explaining the procedure that they must follow to confirm their final registration.

I'm really excited about this race but more than a little nervous too! Delighted to have a place.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

What a difference a day makes

Clear skies, good company, clear mind, strong lungs, tree-lined trails, bright moon, 7 miles of pure bliss.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Bad run :(

Went out for a 7m run tonight, but only managed 4m in total as bonked badly! Horrid run, no energy, sore knees and feeling generally rubbish. These runs do happen from time to time.

Will run again tomorrow!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Club run

Ran a pleasant and in parts pacey run with the club tonight. All on road and about 6m in length. Beautiful still, icy, crisp evening. I love this weather :)

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Harrogate Ringway

Just back from the relay race around the Harrogate Ringway. What fun!

It's been quite some time since I ran a fast short trail race and I enjoyed it immensely. I must put more smaller races into my training as they are so good for the cardiovascular system and also really motivational.

Managed to claw back 6 places for my team - not sure where we finished, but we all seemed to enjoy it anyway!

Well done team!

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Trails at dusk

Ran a nice 6m hilly trail run this eveing as the light was fading in preparation for tomorrow'a Harrogate Ringway relay race.

December and the start of January have been the coldest months for a long time in the UK and it has been lovely to be out running in the dry, icy conditions.

Looking forward to tomorrow's event - hope I dob't get lost!

Still ticking over!

Came to the conclusion that a sustained and coordinated approach to training over the holiday period was pointless, so I adopted a more adhoc approach this year and it felt quite good.

I have been snatching the opportunity to run whenever possible and did a few short sharp walks in the Lakes too. Ran a hilly 7m course last night and it felt pretty good.

Tomnorrow I will run for Otley AC in the Harrogate Ringway relay race.