Pre Quebec training week 1.

Welcome to my series of blogs tracking my route to the 2018 Quebec Marathon.

I did Paris in April and with Quebec in October found my self with a large gap to fill.  This turned out to be quite fortuitous as I caught some dastardly French lurgy and was side lined for two weeks doing very little training.

I decided that I would go back to basics for a few weeks to try and build up my fitness again before piling some miles in for the marathon.

The week 30th April to 6th May was my first week back.  Target was 3 runs with a total of 10 miles, 1 yoga session 1 pilates session and a long bike ride.

Happily, despite still having an irritating cough I managed all the planned sessions.

Total for the week:

Run 10.1 miles 377 feet climb.

Bike 85.6 miles 5839 feet climb.

One each yoga, pilates and weights.





Training for Quebec

P is done, I seem to have recovered from whatever dastardly lurgy I caught so of course my next thought was my next marathon.

It looks ages away, October 14th.  It has been some time since I had so long between marathons so I thought that as well as preparing myself for it I would help others prepare as well.

This is the first post in at least a weekly series leading up to Quebec and I will go through some of my thoughts as a seasoned marathoner and some of the stuff I wish I had known when I was starting out on my first marathon campaign in 1985.

I will make a few assumptions, you are already running and may have completed a few races, park runs or charity events.  So what is different about the marathon?  Well distance for a start and the time you need to commit.  Once you get your head around those two facts then you can begin to look at other things.

Into the melting pot goes: will you use miles or kms? Will you train using distance/time/heart rate/pace?  All decisions that need to be made.   If you have been running for some time you may be happy with how you train and be able to use that as your base.  If not there are plenty sources of training information available.

Pick your marathon and work backwards to when you want to start training.  Then once you know how many weeks you have you can start your plan.  Once more there are plenty on the net, in books and magazines.  You can join a club or get an endurance trainer that will help you plan your training out. (FB fitfifertraining)  others are available.

This time I have elected to give myself twenty weeks of marathon training which means I have almost the whole of May to finally get over this lurgy and do things like plan the Canada trip and alter some of my training.  If you have spare time it might be a good idea to spend some with the family because, depending on how hard you train they will not be seeing a lot of you!

Signing off now to get ready for The Lang Toun Joggers the group I lead in Kirkcaldy.  The Thursday easy sessions will be worked into my plan as an easy run gradually increasing in distance for me not my group.


Till next time.




P is for Pareeee

Paris marathon on the 8th April was the next on my list.  Carol and I flew out on the 2nd and spent a few days being tourists including a cycle ride out to Versailles and back.

Sunday morning dawned bright with a hot day forecast.  I on the other hand raised bleary, sleep starved and rheumy eyes to the sunshine outside and wanted to just curl up and try to get some sleep.  Carol and I had caught some sort of bug and coughed and spluttered our way through the last couple of nights.

The expo had been well organised a little bit away from the centre but easy enough to reach by metro.  Our hotel was 2 metro stops away from the start on the “Champs”.  The train was full with runners and you just needed to tag on to them to make your way to the start and what a start!  Not quite as iconic as the Great Wall perhaps but certainly up there.

The elites were well gone by the time we shuffled forward to start.  The temp was already 17 degrees and within 10K had risen to 21 degrees.  I was managing to move along but realised that my intended time of 4:30 was beyond me.   I was popping paracetamols as I ran along and grabbing water at every station approx every 5K.  I was running between stations but walking the length of the water stations.  I started picking up food after 15K there was quite a choice laid out, bananas, oranges, cake, raisins and sugar lumps.

The sun was beating down thankfully we went through a long tunnel which helped cool me down this was around 25K and came as a great relief!

The course was totally traffic free and wound it’s way through Paris’s two main parks each park providing a certain amount of shade.  Support on the streets was amazing and I got a pleasant surprise when I saw Carol at the 26Km mark as we had agreed just to meet at the end.  It gave me a wee lift and helped me through the next few K’s.

By the last few K’s I was as spent as I had ever been in any marathon and just wanted it to end.

The finish is on Av Foch just around from the start and I knew Carol would be waiting for me.  Unfortunately we did not see each other as I came to the finish so I moved through t shirt collection and medal presentation grabbed water and headed for an exit to meet her. 4:46:35 was the official time texted to my phone before I had even got my T shirt!.DSCF2224

Watching my P & Q’s

I have two marathons organised for 2018 so far and in the A-Z spirit they are Paris in April and Quebec in October.

I had planned on doing my R as well but a date change for Quebec meant that it landed on my R!

I am in week three of my training for Paris with two XC races done and some more races lined up.  The rest of my races, and there is a half marathon in the plan will be on the road and I am looking forward to a more classical training year!


O is for Osmotherley 26.2 (ish) trail run.

A road trip or rather a rail and road trip with Carol and the bikes!  My O marathon had morphed into an ultra I don’t how it happened but hey an extra few miles for the same cash!  Organised by the Hardmoors group and on a trail course in the N Yorks moors it was probably going to be hard enough any way without the bonus miles!  Ah but lets start at the beginning.

Carol had decided to come with me so we organised train to Northallerton and a room in The Black Bull.  Come departure day and when disaster struck Carol’s cat got ill.  This resulted in a trip to the vet on the morning of our departure, the successful removal of a foot long bit of grass from it’s throat some drugs and a very quick drop off at the cattery!

We arrived at the station with 4 mins to spare.  We changed trains at Edinburgh and Newcastle, a bit of a problem at Newcastle but with the help of Disco Dave of Transpennine railways it was soon sorted and we arrived in Northallerton.  After settling into our room we headed out for a quick walk in the High Street and food.

Saturday was market day in Northallerton and meant a rude and early awakening for us.  After a light breakfast we walked around the market then headed out on our bikes to Osmotherley so Carol would know the way for tomorrow as I was getting a lift.  We followed a quite route of approx. 8 miles and on the way back a slightly different route of 9 miles.

On our return old friends of mine had arrived and we got tarted up and headed out with Keith and Chris.


Race day dawned at 0630 a breakfast of instant porridge and a banana and I was out then back again for my phone!

Registration was slick even with a kit check! and I had my number for the 26.2 (ish) Osmotherley trail run.Number

The race details had said that the climb on the race was between 4000 and 5500 feet it started almost from the beginning with a testing wee climb on tarmac then a descent to the first gate.  All very civilised no scrambling over fences or pushing in, an orderly Q was formed!

A lot of the route follows the Cleveland Way and like many LD paths this suffers from erosion remedial works had been carried out using stone flags to shore up the path these were fine when dry but a nightmare when wet!  A dry day was forecast but with strong winds on the outward leg this was not too noticeable as we were fairly low till the turn round point at 11 miles then we climbed up and seemed to be on the tops for the nest 15 miles battling against a stiff wind and very strong gusts at times leaning into the wind just to stay upright!nyorks

As well as slippy stone flags and steps there was mud at times loads of mud in fact skis would have been better than shoes to glide across the top.  It clung to everything and sucked you in it seemed to be omnipresent!  I had elected to take walking poles with me and whilst I believe they did help the jury is still out on their usefulness!

As the day wore on and the winds picked up I layered up and got on with the race.  The route was well marshalled and marked and with 9 feeding stations resembled a moving picnic.  The feeding stations were stocked up with a variety of goodies including coke and chia charge bars also available was water, jelly beans, jelly babies and Jaffa cakes.

Motovational signs were spread out along the course such as “Half way-you think” just to cheer you up.

The finish eventually turned up after 29 miles, 5451 ft and 7h 45:30.


Verdict: If you like a well organised but tough off road outing these races from Hardmoors would be right up your street!





Crosstraining for my “O”

The Osmotherly 26.2 trail marathon seems to have grown!  The race is 28-29 miles with at least 4000ft of climb but not more than 5500ft not sure if I should ask for entry fee back as it clearly isn’t as billed of course I am getting an extra two miles for my cash so what’s to moan about!

With the above in mind I travelled north first to Glenfinnan then onward to Ullapool to get some hills in.

I biked into Gulvain a munro between Fort William and Glenfinnan and hiked up and down and biked back out.  It was a terrible day and rained from leaving the car until I got back.  The ground underfoot was also treacherous as it had obviously been acting like a sponge for the last rainfalls.

Totals Bike 9.1 miles 930 feet climb.

Hike 5.2 miles 3,527 feet climb.

After a quick dry and change I set off to Ullapool to meet up with members of the Glenrothes hillwalking club to tackle more munros.

On Saturday 23rd Sept 4 of us set off from Ullapool to climb three of the Fannich group of hills: Meall A Chrasgaidh, Sgurr Nan Clach Geala and Sgurr Nan Each.  Three peaks on a bright clear day with views to die for.  A bit windy on the top but well worth it.

Totals: Hike 12.1 miles with 3,556 ft of climb.


Sunday the 24th dawned dull and grey threatening rain we headed back out to the same start point to do another two Fannichs on the opposite side of the glen:A’Chailleach and Sgurr Breac.  Grey day with low cloud and virtuall no views all day as we descended after bagging the peaks he cloud disappeared and the view opened out.

Totals:10.7 miles with 3,884 climb.



N is for Northumberland Coastal Marathon.

Quite possibly a race I should not have done!  Still suffering with cold symptoms I decided to do the race and just take it as easy as I could and still get around.

The weather was good not too warm with a cooling breeze coming in from the sea.  We set off along the beach from Alnmouth heading for the first food stop at Boulmer about 3.5 miles up the coast.  Each food station had the same supplies-water, coke, haribo, jelly babies and Ribena.

I set off at an easy pace already near the rear of the field I was more concerned with the coughing and spluttering I was doing than position in the field.

Terrain was good and dry paths in the main well defined and visible, however we did use the beach on several occasions.  Second drinks station was at Craster and it was come and gone in the blink of an eye.  Onwards heading north sea to the right the final drinks station at Newton Links then comes the turnaround point and down we go sea to the left and beach stretching out before us.

Covering the same ground I was feeling strong after the turn around but decided to keep to plan A and headed homeward.

Unofficial result dist 26.03, time 5:28:25 climb 1300ft.