Tag Archives: Trail Running

The first post of 2014

My posting has become a bit lacklustre recently and one of my New Year resolutions is to post more frequently.  This is going to prove easier to do as following an injury plagued 2013 I have a good selection of races planned for 2014:

  • 18/01/2014 – Fan Dance Race Winter Edition
  • 16/03/2014 – Leith Hill Half Marathon
  • 17/05/2014 – North Downs Way 50
  • 18/05/2014 – Richmond Park Marathon
  • 21/06/2014 – Trail Half Marathon Wales
  • 25/10/2014 – Snowdonia Marathon

Yes I have the dates right, that is a Marathon the day after the 50 miler. My long-term plan is to run the NDW100 in 2015 and this year is all about building up to that, so a 50 mile followed by 26.4 miles seems to be quite good training (and the idea is quite appealing)

As well as my training progress I am going to try to get some more reviews of various bits of kit posted as I have let this slide as well and I have several items that have had some serious road testing.

The Fan Dance is fast approaching and I have my fingers crossed that the weather improves, I was hoping for snow but this seems unlikely now so I will settle for dry.

Training Progress

It really does feel like I am getting my running mojo back and in the two weeks since my last post I have probably run more consistently than I have in months.

Last few weeks training

The easiest way to illustrate the change is to use a graph showing the increase since the end of August to now:

Distance weekly from week commencing 26.08.13 to week commencing 28.10.13
Distance weekly from week commencing 26.08.13 to week commencing 28.10.13

Throughout August and September my running was practically non-existent, battling injury and just general lack of motivation following the NDW100 DNF. Then around the beginning of October I was persuaded to enter the Avalanche Events Winter Fan Dance which spurred me on to get up and start running, and it has been going well. The first week was about getting back into the swing of things, after that a solid 31 miles the following week. W/C 21/10/2013 was my Birthday week and I had some time off (DIY and family time) so it dropped again, although I wasn’t unhappy with this as it meant I was allowing recovery. W/C 28th the weighted runs increased with pretty much all of them having me carrying 8kg of weight, culminating with a “run” on Saturday around Box Hill with the objective of getting some good ascent in the bag.

Saturday’s Training Run/Yomp
The route and profile of Saturdays training
The route and profile of Saturdays training

Despite weather warnings it wasn’t raining, although the ground was quite damp. The rucksack had around 8kg of weight in it plus another 2 litres (2kg) of water so it was a decent training weight, although to hit race day weight I need another 10kg in there!

Pace wise it wasn’t too bad, obviously with that sort of weight onboard it’s not going to be quick and ascending a hill weighted is something else entirely, on the Mickleham steps my heart was beating at around 160bpm and I was barely moving! It’s clear that adding an extra 10kg is going to make things even harder so it is all important I get used to going up with weight.

Saturday 02.11.13 stats

To help improve my training I have bought a Kettler 10kg weighted vest which has 8 1.125kg removable bags in it so I can tailor it to suit my needs. Also having these weighted bags means I can load my rucksack up in a balanced fashion, taking up minimal space and hopefully hitting the 20kg target (with kit, food, water etc) for race day.

Kettler Weighted Vest
Kettler Weighted Vest

I will do a review on it once I have had an opportunity to give it a thorough testing, its available on Amazon if your interested: Kettler 10kg Vest

Back to posting, onwards and upwards

It’s been a while since my last post, several months in fact and I still haven’t found the willpower to write the post on the NDW100. As I seem to be suffering writers block when it comes to that particular topic, I am going to distil the event into a few short bullet points so I can move on and start posting properly again.

North Downs Way 100

Good Points

  • I got further than I have ever run before.
  • I met some great guys (Garry, Paul, Nick)
  • Event as always was excellently organised

Bad Points

  • I didn’t finish
  • In terms of training I was wildly under prepared
  • I didn’t finish
  • Nutrition needed work
  • I didn’t finish
  • I didn’t finish

Now that’s put to bed I can move on to making sure that in 2015 I smash that race.

The Next Challenge

So on to focusing on the future, my long term plan for next year is the NDW50 but in the immediate future I (along with garethdaviesPT and another chap) have signed up for the Avalanche Events Winter Fan Dance

Taken from the website: http://www.thefandancerace.com


The event is a gruelling 24km non-navigational race over two sides of Pen Y Fan, the highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons. This infamous route has long been a part of SAS (Special Air Service) and SBS (Special Boat Service) Selection and is considered the yardstick of a candidate’s potential to perform well on Test Week and ultimately pass the Special Forces Selection programme.

Starting at the Storey Arm’s car park, the race goes straight up to the summit checkpoint of Pen Y Fan and, after descending ‘Jacob’s Ladder’, continues along an undulating stone vehicle track (the ‘Roman Road’) to the second checkpoint which also serves as a tea stop and turnaround point. Then, taking the route in reverse, racers climb back up “The Fan” via Jacob’s ladder and pass through the summit checkpoint a second time before legging their way back down to the finish at the Storey Arm’s car park.

The route is a real lung buster that throws everything at you, including the elements. There are steady slopes that allow a solid jogging pace, shocking inclines that have you almost on your hands and knees, loose stone tracks that require cautious foot placements and a forested vehicle track that allows for some rapid going. Even SAS recruits at the height of their physical abilities regard beating the clock in this event as a serious challenge, and all know its capacity to hurt. Aside from the race aspect of this event, just getting to the end is an accomplishment and something to be proud of. The Fan Dance is open to ANYONE looking for a unique challenge: be it personal, competitive, as a sponsored participant in aid of your favourite charity or as part of a team building exercise. As per real Special Forces Selection, the event will be staged in both summer and winter (both load-bearing and clean fatigue).

Now I don’t for one moment think that by doing this event I am in the same league as those that go through Selection, but I have to be honest and say the allure of completing this event which forms part of that process is very appealing and so we do it properly we have entered the load bearing event.

Training has been going well, and I seem to be getting the drive and motivation to run again. On Saturday 12th I ran the Pine Ridge Race 10km which I finished in just under 53 minutes. My ankle which is still giving me issues held out ok and although sore it hasn’t prevented me from running since.

Tuesday it was 5 miles in the morning with a 3kg rucksack (clothes for work etc) and 4.5 miles home again, Wednesday 5 miles in the morning again and Thursday it was 5 and 4.5 again. After my morning runs I have been going to the gym for a weights workout, usually I can cram in about 30 minutes before work.

Saturday was the first real foray into a load bearing run and Gareth and I did 6.7 miles around Box Hill. I had around 11.5 kilos on my back (24.4 pounds) and I have to say I certainly felt it!  I am quite pleased with the pacing that we achieved and we have learnt some lessons already in terms of packing and kit. More training sessions like that in the lead up to Jan 18th are needed.

It’s good to be back,  and as they say “Qui audet adipiscitur”

12 Hours to go

Quick post, kit is now sorted, drop bags are packed. A good meal tonight and as much sleep as I can muster. 6 am tomorrow I hopefully run further and longer than I ever have before, the weather looks ok so that’s one less thing to worry about.

If you are interested in following my progress I will be tweeting as and when I can, the hashtag NDW100 will be used by, also Centurion Running have live timings up on this link http://www.centurionrunning.com/live/2013-ndw-100-live/

My bib number is 61, Anthony Clark

Training this week: 24/06/2013 – 30/06/2013

Update 01/07/2013: It’s actually 40 days away not 20, I was reading the wrong countdown! 40 days still isn’t long though but a lot better than 20. Post now corrected.

40 days
40 days!!

That’s how long until the North Downs Way 100!!!

This week has actually resembled something akin to actual training, my first proper week since being injured. Obviously with the TMW on the previous Saturday it wasn’t going to be a massive week for mileage, I am having to build myself back up.

Monday was a rest day as I had taken the extra day off work so spent it with the family. Tuesday it was back at work so a 11.5 mile cycle in the morning and a 12 mile cycle in the evening. My legs were still pretty sore from the marathon but the cycling actually helped to loosen everything up.

Wednesday the usual cycle but I have now started to run on my lunch break. I don’t have the time to do anything too long but can just about squeeze in 3-4 miles. This was the first run without any strapping on and although still sore my ankle held ok, it was road running so the risk is lowered. This was a fairly pacey run for me with 3.43 miles in 26:02.

Thursday again cycling and a lunchtime run, same route but I managed to get the time down to 25:32 which potentially is a new PB for a 5km run, which given the lack of any real speedwork (or training for that matter!) I was very pleased with.

Saturday was a long run across the North Downs, I was aiming for anything between 15 – 20 miles and ended up with 16.78 miles. I stopped to take pictures and enjoy the views so it wasn’t a quick one, also I still can’t dash down the technical trails so I am having to just plod along.

Good news is that I felt ok throughout the run and had plenty of energy at the end, so I am getting there but the question is can I get there in 20 days.

We shall see….

Below are some photos from Saturday:

North Downs Way near Woldingham School
North Downs Way near Woldingham School
I love the rolling fields
I love the rolling fields

View from NDW 3

Panoramic shot of the views from the North Downs Way
Panoramic shot of the views from the North Downs Way
Another Panoramic Shot, this is from the Oxted Downs
Another Panoramic Shot, this is from the Oxted Downs
Heading towards the Oxted Downs along a narrow uneven path
Heading towards the Oxted Downs along a narrow uneven path
Happy to be out running again
Happy to be out running again
A view from Gravelly Hill Viewpoint
A view from Gravelly Hill Viewpoint
The rabbit just stopped and let me grab a photo
The rabbit just stopped and let me grab a photo (although he is quite hidden)