Category Archives: Training

New plans for 2018

Today is the 1st of April and after struggling with injury for the last six months, I’m back training again and looking forward to a huge summer.  After missing the Belfast to Dublin Ultra this weekend, I’ve spent this afternoon making new plans for 2018.

My main focus of 2018 is still the Privas 6 day race in August, but I’ve changed some of my plans for the rest of the year.  I won’t be doing the EMU 6 day race in Hungary in May as I can’t get fit enough over the next 4 weeks to do that race justice, and it is too expensive to use as a ‘training race’.  The EMU was going to be a major part of my preparations for Privas though, so rather than doing EMU, I will bring forward my Paris to London fundraising walk for Limbless Association forward and do that in July rather than October.

I’m also going to do two 24 hour races over the next two months as well as Last One Standing UK in June.  So my plans for 2018 now look like this:

  • 21/22 April – French national 24 hour championship race in Dijon. This will be a training race with the aim of covering 100 miles in 24 hours at a steady pace.  I just want to spend 24 hours on my feet as I haven’t walked 24 hours since Roubaix in September last year.
  • 19/20 May – Continental Centurions Race in Schiedam, Holland. This is on a fast, almost dead flat 4km circuit in the trees within Prinses Beatrixpark in Schiedam near Rotterdam.  I set my current 100 mile and 24 hour PB’s at Schiedam in 2016 and this will be my first serious attempt at racing a 24 hour race since then.
  • 9/10 June – Last One Standing UK race as planned. I’m really looking forward to this race. The idea is that competitors have to run (or in my case walk) a 4 mile loop every hour, starting on the hour.  If you don’t finish within the hour, you are out.  The winner is “the last one standing”.  I thought this might be a bit of fun and good training, and I think that I can perform well against the runners in this event.
  • 16 June – 2nd annual P&H Scouts walkathon
    I’m not competing but am organising a walkathon for the local scout group. Last year they raised £2,250.  This year we are hoping to exceed that.
  • 1 to 4 July (Dates to be confirmed) – Paris to London
    I’m really looking forward to this and will use this as my final preparation for Privas which is 6 weeks later.
    I’ve mapped out a course which is roughly 400km in total (or at least it will be when I add ‘getting lost’ miles to the planned route) with 270km in France, a short ferry ride form Calais to Dover, and then another 126km through to London.
    I have had a look at the routes that other people have run or cycled between these two cities.  They usually go from London to Paris and they either start at Marble Arch and finish at Arc de Triomphe, or they start at Tower Bridge and finish at the Eifel Tower.
    I’ve decided that I will start at Eifel Tower and then go past the Arc de Triomphe on the way out of Paris, and will cross Tower Bridge on my way in to London before finishing at Marble Arch.  I’ve chosen to go from Paris to London rather than vice versa as I would prefer to be on roads that I am more familiar with during the final day (and a bit).
    I’m going to take 4 days to cover the distance at 100km per day which is a little less than the distance I will aim to cover during the first four days at Privas, but will be great training for the race.
  • 19-25 August 2018 – 6 jours de France
    My third attempt to break the NZ 6 day record after going close in 2016 and failing miserably in 2017. My goal is still to exceed 700km during the six days.
  • Mid-September – Roubaix 28 hour race (again)
    I’ve done this three times with two 200+ kilometer results (2015 and 2017) and will probably finish my year this race again.

2018 race plan map

That’s six walks of 100 miles or more. The same as last year.  I can’t wait to get started 🙂

May 2017 Training Summary

I only went out for nine walks during May – at an average of 34.25 miles (55km) each!

May was all about two separate events – the M25 circumnavigation on the first weekend of the month, and the Grand Union Canal Race (GUCR) on the last weekend.  In between, I rested for a week and then just did a few short, easy walks.

The M25 walk was definitely the highlight of the month.  I set the fastest known time (FKT) for circumnavigating the M25 motorway on foot, and also managed to complete the 158 mile (254km) walk without sitting down from the time I started until I finished 44 hours later – the greatest distance and time that I have walked without sitting down.  And I raised a total of £1,880 for Limbless Association.

The GUCR didn’t go to plan however, and resulted in a DNF at 100 miles.  I have discussed this in detail in my race report so won’t go into the details again here.

Total mileage for May was 498km (308 miles).  Year to date: 1,960km (1,218 miles).

Looking forward to June:

TR250 route mapThere is only one thing to focus on during June, and that is the Thames Ring 250 which begins on the 28th June.  This is a 250 mile (400km) trail race which follows the popular canal boat route from Oxfordshire down the River Thames towards London, and then up the Grand Union Canal (in the reverse direction to the GUCR) to Northampton, before returning to Oxfordshire via the Oxford Canal.

It sounds reasonably easy.  A flat’ish course, which is my preference – I’m not a fan of hills – and 100 hours to complete the race.

The race is only held every second year and this year will be the fifth running of the event.  To date 111 athletes have attempted the race and only 54 have finished – that is a 48% success rate.  Worse than that, only 49 of them completed the race on their first attempt – a 44% success rate.  And in total, the 111 athletes have 138 starts between them for 61 finishes – a 44% success rate.

So it would appear that the race isn’t going to be as easy as a straight forward, flat 250 mile race.

When I first considered doing the race I thought a time of around 72 hours might be achievable – that’s 83 miles per day.  But given that only 5 runners have finished in less than 72 hours in the history of the event, I suspect that this is unrealistic.

It’s going to be a great event.  I can’t wait to get started!  And to find out what will happen during those 250  miles.

P&H Sea Scouts Walkathon

The weekend before the Thames Ring I am organising a walkathon to help the local Petersham and Ham Sea Scouts raise money for their new clubrooms.  Established in 1908, P&H Sea Scouts are the oldest continuously run scout group in the world and their current club rooms are almost as old 🙂

About 100 Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, and Explorers, aged 6 to 18 will walk laps of the local common for three hours (two hours for the Beavers) as a sponsored walk.

Thanks to the support of Fitbit I have organised two prizes of Fitbit Charge HR’s for the scouts – one for the person who raises the most sponsorship, and one as a spot prize for one of the participants.

During the last month I have been speaking at their club nights to try and inspire them.  Some of them have been inspired by the idea of winning a Fitbit, some by my stories of long walks.  It has been a fun exercise so far, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they go on Saturday 24th June.


May 2017 map
Only nine walks in May, but I covered a reasonable amount of ground!


April 2017 Training Summary

April saw the start of my racing season (5 races between 20th April and 26th August totaling over 1,000 miles in distance) with the Dublin to Belfast Ultra on the 21st and 22nd.  It was good to finally put all the winter and early Spring training to use, even if the race didn’t go as well as I had hoped, and I’m looking forward to my summer racing – with some seriously long walks coming up!

Dublin to Belfast Ultra race start
Group photo at the start – outside the Guinness Brewery in Dublin

In the first half of April I completed my two month build up with a 50+km walk on each of the first two weekends, and then eased up the training through to the Dublin race.

And after Dublin to Belfast I had a complete week of rest, and that was pretty much it for the month.

Total mileage for April was 431km (268 miles).  Year to date: 1,464km (910 miles).

Looking forward to May:

There won’t be a lot of ‘training’ as such in May.  I’ll be taking it easy for the first few days before my attempt to circumnavigate the M25 motorway non-stop as a fundraiser for Limbless Association on the 5th to 7th May.  The walk will be about 160 miles and my aim is to complete the walk without sitting down from 8am on Friday morning when I start, until I finish – hopefully with 48 hours.

If you haven’t already donated, please click the here to visit my Just Giving page.  Limbless Association is a very worthwhile cause.  They support people who have lost one or more limbs through accident, illness, or other causes.  Please make a donation, and if you do, you will go in the drawer to one a Fitbit.

Win a Fitbit
Make a donation and go in the draw to win one of these Fitbits.

After the M25 walk I will have another week of complete rest before two easy weeks of walking leading up to my third Grand Union Canal Race – 145 miles from Birmingham to London.  Last year I completed the race in 36 ½ hours but I really struggled over the last 45 miles.  This year my aim is to maintain a steady pace right through to the finish, and hopefully get under 35 hours for the first time.

And then the month will be over.

As well as walking from Dublin to Belfast, this is where I walked in the London area during April
As well as walking from Dublin to Belfast, this is where I walked in the London area during April