Autumn turns to Winter

Lough Corrib in November, one of the nicest places in the world.

I recently travelled back to Ireland in ‘The Mueller’ for a few days and between this and a few weeks of constant interviewing and job applications, I haven’t mustered up the time to blog. This said, my training has been reasonably good in the lead up to Dorset UltraPlus, next Saturday week!

Leigh Woods, regular stomping ground in Bristol.

I spent time doing hill repeats around the Bristol trails and we spent a weekend trail running in the South of Wales along the coastal path in Gower. Another fabulous UK running destination. A 50km running weekend in Gower was the highlight of the past few weeks with some nice photos to tell the story.

Gower coast.
Terrain change mid run.
Autumn in Gower.
Gower, South Wales.

So my training ramped up in the few busy weeks and I found myself a good job, starting in December, but more on this later.

I decided to really mix things up over the last few months. After a race like the CCC we have no idea how the body will react. Rest, good food and rehab seemed to bring me back pretty quickly and I decided to keep 2018 rolling. I don’t really believe in long breaks from training. We all need a week or a few weeks sometimes but as I said before, winter is for becoming stronger and focusing for the year ahead.

A cross country race, a 10k on the road, long hilly trail runs (a few up to 30km), hill repeat after hill repeat and then some turbo sessions thrown in the mix, kept me busy of late. With all this in the bag I am feeling good in preparation for Dorset.  I was a little down on both my 10 kilometre and cross country times, but I put this down to maybe some season fatigue as well as holding back just a little for the bigger race. The only issue here is that in the past, when feeling good, I have been less successful. Therefore, I have decided to take Dorset in my stride, enjoy it as I did last year and hopefully make the finish of what is a gruelling 74 kilometres of hilly coastal trails. Sure if there is a podium place up for grabs I might give it a go as well!  The massive boost this year is that a huge group are travelling from Ireland, pretty much all on the word from us second timers that this race is amazing! Fingers crossed for the weather.

I had some training plans for the last 12 weeks since the CCC all ready for off. As per usual I veered away pretty quickly from these as life wasn’t playing ball. So instead I trained when I could and I have logged everything in a spreadsheet which will be produced after Dorset. I will be able to explain whether it worked or not at this stage. The lack of mileage, increase in hill work and variety of training will confuse many, but it is my way of keeping things interesting. I have been using Tailwind in most of my training session, keeping the body used to a regular racing fuel. Lets hope it continues to serve me well. Check out Shaun Stewart’s seasonal report here on his amazing year and how Tailwind helped him in the final burst to the finish. My fond memories of Sea to Summit came flooding back as I watched the footage of him crossing the line in 1st place. The end of what was a phenomenal year. Lets hope I get to race with and against Shaun in 2019. Exciting times ahead.

Both myself and Shaun were lucky enough to recently get involved with Uglowsports as Ambassadors for 2019. Plenty to follow on this but for now check out their site here. There is something here for everyone running for the winter. Hopefully I will be kitted out by Uglowsport for races in 2019.

Autumn to Winter 

As my patience grows thin with injury, the winter arrives. As explained before my imbalance issues have transferred to my left side and my running has been halted almost completely. I’m back playing football and this isn’t causing pain. Lots of cycling, hopefully some kayaking and alot of strength and rehab has to be my winter plan. I will relax my running and hopefully work on technique both for the running and the running technique may be the cause of my pain if not a muscle fatigue factor. A winter in the gym awaits. I’m hugely dissappointed not to defend Sea to Summit but I would be injured for a year after it. There is always next year. I have come to the conclusion that 2016 was a bit of a racing right off. 2017 here I come! 

On the lake, relaxing and hoping some fishing may help to heal my leg! 

I decided to take part in the Mudfest run in Longford at the weekend. I knew the stop start obstacle course wouldn’t impact the injury. We took part as a team from work and it was great fun. Nice to take part in a race and not actually race, but have the craic. It was my first mud run and no doubt I would take part again.
So my real targets on the racing scene have to focus on, The Race, in March. This is still more in the back of my mind as I plan to improve on the bike this winter. I have attached some of the science to bike coaching that I will use to improve. It will take more than one winter but no time like the present. 

Winter targets are to go from the technique of a novice to that of the truathlete or pro. The peanut shape in the link below would be an achievement.

Winter Trails

After spending some time running on the road I have  realised that trail and mountain running is what really draws me to running. I grew up in the wilds, hunting and fishing, and I’m sure this is where my love for the outdoors grew. Now that I am living in a city, even though a small one, the days when I get out running in the wilds I enjoy it even more. It was  mentioned in the post below that I’m not alone in this thinking.

“400,000 people participated in 2,702 trail races worldwide in 2012, the most recent statistics available. That’s a big jump from 2000, when 90,000 runners took part in 450 races” I wonder what 2016 figures will be?

This article  is well worth a read for those of you ready to stick on the trail runners and leave the pavements behind. I am not knocking road running as it is an amazing sport in itself but I think those of you who haven’t tried the trails should give it a lash.
I spent the last week mostly in the gym and on watt bike. I also knocked out a good running session on the hills in Castlehackett and played a soccer match on Tuesday night at some crazy late hour. A mixed week but during the winter more than ever I feel mixing it up is more fun.
Knocknagoneen Hill with the tide rushing into Rusheen Bay.
A few quick snaps from our walk in Galway, Silver Strand this evening. Oh and I found a hill for hill speed repeats! A new training ground awaits. With this in mind I signed up for the Gaelforce Mountain Run in March. A 26km run in the Maam Turks awaits to kick off a season which will most likely involve more racing than ever.


All a bit under the weather

Sometimes, well quite often in Ireland we comment on the weather. I have to admit it has been a tough few months, even for someone like me that tries hard to ignore conditions outside. I think it’s the greyness, and the damp. But now it has once again gone too far and it just couldn’t stop raining.  

These were just a few photos I took at work this week but I can only imagine the hardship people are having where property and business        are being affected. My hardship only involved not being able to reach my running spots, or the fact that I picked up a bug and couldn’t train. Very minor details in the grand scheme of things. 

The weather is set to improve a little bit coming up to Christmas and hopefully coming into new year I can post about some fun runs. I plan to set out some training plan ideas for the beginner and try to spend 2016 convincing more of you to try an adventure race or two. For now I’m going to knock back my favourite anti bug catching drink and watch a movie! 

Warming Winter Infusion

  • Ginger (a slice or three)
  • Lemon (a slice)
  • Turmeric ( a teaspoon)
  • All in a cup of hot water

And one last tip for a sore or tickly winter cough. Try sucking on a clove . Serious fun ! Who would of guessed how a clove can numb pain. 

New course



I finished work a little early today and decided to use my time to try a course I had in mind for some time. A 20k spin out on bike and then a hill, bog, trail run in some really remote countryside North West of Galway city. The area is called Cloosh and it is an area I had always wished to run. On my journey I encountered soft boggy ground, hard trails, hills, and a occasional sheep along with a rare pair of grouse! A perfect training area with mixed ground.
Unfortunately my garmin wasn’t charged but all in I covered about 8km of this terrain. On reaching my bike I was starving. I had no gels either today. Definitely not one of better preparations, but I had a protein bar and a banana along with some fluids and flew back home on bike. A nice fast paced 48km bike/run. It is good to finally get some combined sessions in after a long winter.



Time for a snack once home!

Winter Cathes Up

Just as i thought I had been one of the lucky ones to avoid getting sick this winter it hits. Luckily it seems like just a bad dose of man flu so il be back in action in a day or two. It’s that feeling of knowing you could train but also knowing you could get alot more sick if you do. It seems to be an ongoing question as to when we can go back training after having a bug. Only we really know ourselves though and a gradual build up again, depending on the level of illness had of course, seems to be the way to go. In the big scale of things this is only a few days off training and I can only consider myself so lucky to be healthy most of the time. Good luck to those of you facing the elements tonight! !