Its 2023, and it’s gonna be a big one!

So then dear reader, the Christmas period of feasting is behind us. The New Year champagne corks are all popped. Normal life has resumed again.

I have been building up to a very big year for a while. Last year was peppered with injury and illness and change and challenge and most of my goals went flying out of the window. I lacked motivation and was finding life hard going in general.

Whilst I am positive I am not alone in feeling this way about 2022, I did take the opportunity to educate myself on strategies and ideas to cope with modern life and with my ever aging body. I read books, listened to podcasts, engaged with people whose opinion I trust and slowly, during the final days of 2022, I started to see things clearly.

What I have lacked, what I have always lacked, is consistency. I am able to hyper focus a block of time on a particular goal or task, only to then either achieve or not achieve that thing, and then put it to one side and do something else afterwards.

A prime example of this is in my endurance feats of the past. I have been fit enough to complete Ironman Triathlons, ultra marathons and all sorts, but then let that fitness lapse. I have lost a quarter of my bodyweight (25kg), only to put it back on, and more. Each time I start again from scratch. Each time I take on a new challenge I start from zero, unable to run more than a couple of kilometres. Way overweight and unfit. And again and again and again. Repeat ad infinitum.

Well this year is when it all changes. This year is the year of CONSISTENCY.

I have some fairly big challenges to complete this year, the first of which is the London Marathon, raising money for Daisy’s Dream. Next we have The Isle of Wight Ultra (just one week after London) which is 66 very hilly miles round the Isle of Wight, raising money for SANDS. Later in the year I am running another ultra in Bath (only 50km this time), I am doing the London to Brighton bike ride, I am also planning on hiking the South Downs Way non-stop (100 miles) and maybe going to throw in an odd triathlon here or there towards the end of the summer.

I also have some much more personal challenges that I will share with you in due course, but I have aims and targets to progress myself personally that I am determined to make big inroads into in 2023

So the $64,000 question is, how am I going to do this. Well that will be the topic of my next post, but it involves getting up at 5am EVERY DAY as a starting point. That is right, I am going to be that person. It is worth saying that I hate getting up early and have always been a night owl, but as they say, the early bird catches the worm, and I have some big worms to catch.

More coming soon, so for the time being, if you are reading this I wish you and your loved ones a prosperoous and healthy 2023 and hope that this blog brings a bit of joy or inspiration into your life.



It’s a long road (trail) back!

So Dear Reader, I have been on 2 runs in the last two weeks.  First run was 20 minutes.  Second run was 25.  I was planning on more than 2 runs in 2 weeks, but I hurt my back somehow so running was not an option.  C’est la vie as the French say 🙂

run 1
Run 1 – QE Park

run 2
Run 2 – Near Home


As you can see the pace is far from breakneck, but two runs is two runs.  It feels like a 100mile ultra is a very very long way away, but you have to start somewhere.

This couple of workouts has helped remind me that running is always tough.  Sure there are a few people who are just naturals and can run and run, but for the rest of us mortals it is usually a considerable effort.

No matter if you are running 1km, 10km or 100km a lot of effort goes in.  Some people can’t even run 10metres (I was one of these not so long ago), so if you run, you run, no matter how far, or fast it may be.


The scale of the problem

All that being said, I do still need to run 100 miles.  If you have a look at the image below, this is my “heatmap” for all my running in 2017 (the year I completed Race to the King)

heat map 2017

The long blue line from near Steyning, to Winchester is the Race to the King.  53 miles along the South Downs way.  I ran this, with what I discovered after the race were 3 broken ribs following a fall at only 6 miles into the race.  I completed it fast enough to qualify for the South Downs Way 100, which is the event I am taking on in 2020.  So I can run.  I can also run a long way.  I just need to get back, and then quite a long way past, that prevous level of fitness.

The plan

The plan is simple.  I have booked Beachy Head Marathon in October.  I will get fit enough to complete this in around the 5 hour mark.  Before any of you speed demons scoff at this, it is VERY hilly 😉

I am going to use a dedicated running plan from Strava to do this.  I have never tried this before, so will report back on how it goes.  The plan doesn’t start until August as it’s only a 12 week plan, so until then I will just run a bit, slowly upping my time on my feet and taking it slow.  I am good at taking it slow. 😉

Following Beachy Head it will be a short 7 month training plan to go from marathon fit, to 100 mile fit. All over the lovely British winter.  I must be mad. I am not entirely sure how I am going to get that fit yet, but that is a problem for future James to worry about.

So I’ve got a plan, some sort of running pedigree behind me, and a bucket load of willpower.  More on willpower later, because it is the difference between completing and failing at ultra distance.  But that will have to wait for another post.


Any of you reading this who are running the London Marathon at the weekend, hope your training and your taper have gone well and you are looking forward to the race.

For those of you not running the London Marathon, you could do worse than get yourself out onto the South Downs.  I have included a few bonus pictures from a recent dog walk up there.  Simply stunning.



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It’s time to address the elephant in the room

A long time ago (over 2 years ago in fact) I wrote this post about why diet is the missing link from my training.

4 reasons why my diet is the missing link to my training.

Though a few things have changed since then, broadly speaking most of it hasn’t.  I am still around 18kg overweight for my ideal running weight, which means every time my foot hits the floor 18kg more weight is flowing down through my leg and impacting the ground.

According to this article Ground reaction forces when walking or running, as your foot strikes the ground you exert somewhere between 2.0 and 2.9 times bodyweight through that foot.  So in my case, at 90kg I am putting 180-260kg through each foot each time it hits the ground. If I was to lose 15kg, so I was running at 75kg, this would reduce the impact to 150-217kg each time my foot lands.  So a reduction of 30-47kg per foot strike.  If we take a middle figure of 40kg for each foot fall, and work out that over a marathon distance I probably have around 50,000 individual foot strikes, that is a total reduction of a whopping 2,000,000kg less weight going through my limbs.  2 MILLION KG !!!!!!

indian-elephant-264749_1280An average fully grown elephant weights 5000kg.  So due to being overweight, I am exerting the equivalent of 400 fully grown elephants through my body and into my feet for every marathon distance I run.  Staggering really.

Also this is a very good indication as to why marathons are so tough.  You have to condition your body to take all of this weight through your feet.  Luckily for us, we are Born to Run (if you haven’t read that book and you run, or even if you don’t run, then you really should), I passionately believe in running in minimalist shoes (I actually prefer sandals) and I know I can condition myself to complete marathons at almost any weight,

But my challenge is not a marathon.  My challenge is an Ultra Marathon.  100 miles of Ultra Marathon in fact.  So carrying even 1kg of extra weight is simply not an option.

So it is time to lose weight.  I have a plan for this, but that can wait for another blog post.  So in the interim, if you are a keen runner and are looking to increase your performance or endurance, addressing the elephant in the room could be a good place for you to start.





Next years events are starting to take shape

I am currently in limbo.  Like most of the country who have time off work between Christmas and New Year, I am totally clueless as to what day it is, what I am supposed to be doing on any particular day or how many calories I am consuming on a day to day basis.

There has been an enforced break from training lately, partially because I fell over whilst running and badly bruised some ribs and partially because I had a minor operation a couple of weeks ago and was advised not to run or really do anything for a while.

So all in all it is the end of 2016, I haven’t exercised for ages and I am now sitting on my wife new computer (Xmas present) thinking about 2017, my blog, my challenges and what I am going to do about it all.

My UltraMarathon in June

As some of you will already be aware, in 2017/2018 it is my intention to run 13 marathons in 12 months.  Starting with the Brighton Marathon in April, I will run a marathon every month until the following April when I will finish this challenge at Brighton Marathon again.  Also, just for good measure, I have decided to take on a 53 mile UltraMarathon in June.

Motivation for this challenge is 3 fold. Firstly, I am intending on raising money again for the very deserving Chestnut Tree House and thought I would need a fairly sizeable challenge to match up to my Ironman in 2015.  Secondly, running has always been my weakest link in triathlon, so why not get rid of those demons by running my way through an entire year?  And lastly (or thirdly if you prefer) I have realised I am the sort of man who needs a challenge.  Without something big to aim for, I just don’t really bother to train.  I still do a bit, but not as much as I should and I need major events looming over me to get my arse off the sofa and into some lycra!

It is a bit of a shame for me that I am this sort of person.  Why can I just not be internally motivated to exercise regularly?  Why do I need the threat of a major event?  Why can I not just be happy running a Parkrun on a Saturday morning and going to the gym like everybody else?

I do not know the answer to these questions, but what I do know is that trying to run a marathon every month for 13 months is a very different challenge to the Ironman, and one that should not be taken lightly.

Me at the end of Christmas

Speaking of lightly, there is one more thing that I need to conquer in 2017, and that is weight management.  Even during the peak of my Ironman training I never got my weight down.  I have hovered around the 90kg mark (14 ish stone for those of us who still use old money) and no matter how much I run, cycle or swim it never goes down.  This is cause I mostly eat what I want almost all of the time.  Losing weight is 90% diet and the rest down to exercise.  Usually I wouldn’t give a monkeys about weight, but it is so important in running and being as light as possible will help me hugely to stay injury free and recover fast.  Ignoring weight and just carrying on regardless is accomplishing nothing.

So that is the plan for 2017/2018.  My events list has been updated on the tab above if you want to take a look at what events I will be doing when, but essentially it is run run run.

I am determined to keep this blog up to date for 2017 and am also going to have a bash at a vlog or two.  I know, exciting stuff isn’t it.  I am sure you are all right on the edge of your seat.

Anyway faithful readers, that is it for now.  I am up in the morning for a naked 5 miler with the Portsmouth Triathletes (not quite what you think) and assuming I survive will be back soon with a bit more information about next years challenge.