Autumn 100: (Less than) 1 week to go

MONDAY (0 miles)
Yoga and foam rolling for breakfast. Mmm, tasty.

TUESDAY (4.5 miles)
Classic two-bridge loop first thing. Felt fine, although I’m way more phlegmy than I ought to be. Decided to find out if it is sinusitis and booked a doctor’s appointment for Friday. It could be that a course of antibiotics will clear this up once and for all. I don’t feel bad enough not to run but it is annoying and can’t be helping me.

WEDNESDAY (7.6 miles)
The last run commute before the race. Decided to warm up with an easy mile and then keep my pace sub-8 minute miles for the remainder. Despite a decidedly unhelpful easterly headwind for part of the way, this felt really good. I reckon I’d be in good shape for a half marathon PB right now. Which is both encouraging and worrying, given that my race is a little bit longer than that and at a very different pace. Still, happy to be feeling fit. Having said that, there’s a slight pain emerging from my left knee which I’ve never had before. I’m sure it’s nothing, he says unconvincingly.

THURSDAY (0 miles)
Decided to listen to the knee and did a core workout and some foam rolling instead of running.

FRIDAY (4.3 miles)
Early morning two bridges with Leo, Emily and Andy. Not super easy pace but still conversational and felt pretty good. Saw the doctor and got a nasal spray. Can’t do any harm to try it.

SATURDAY (4.1 miles)
As instructed by the doc, I took the nasal spray first thing and waited for the magic to happen. Taking it completely easy at parkrun is an exercise in futility, so I decided to go for a 10k-ish pace. No complaints from the knee, felt comfortable and finished strong in just over 22 minutes. A couple of months ago this was my best effort so I’ve definitely made some progress. Thanks, track sessions! Also, there was very little in the way of post-run mucus, you’ll no doubt be delighted to read.

In the afternoon, I went for one of my regular appointments to see my chiropractor to make sure everything was in order ahead of the race. Turns out the knee pain wasn’t nothing, and that one of the muscles in my quad (there are four, you know) was very tight, so he worked on that to loosen it up.

SUNDAY (0 miles)
Stretching and foam rolling like a boss. I could have run today but I’m not going to get any fitter now and I may as well start the restful week to avoid putting any additional stress on my clearly overworked muscles. I’ll do one more run on Tuesday and that will be it until next Saturday at 10am.

Weekly total: 20.4 miles

So that’s it. Training is complete. I probably should have done more strength work and this may come back to haunt me, but what’s done is done. I am confident I can finish this time and I’m really looking forward to the experience, even though I know it’s going to be really hard. That’s why I’m doing this though – to test myself. Here’s hoping I  pass.


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A100: 2 weeks to go

MONDAY (0 miles)

If in doubt, have an extra rest day. That’s my motto. So no running today but a challenging core session before breakfast. I remain hopeless at side planks. Something to work on during the off-season.

TUESDAY (4.8 miles)

This was meant to be an easy 5-miler round Southwark Park at lunchtime but unexpectedly the legs felt good so it turned into a progression run. Sometimes it’s nice just to run how you feel.

WEDNESDAY (13.3 miles)

Unable to get to the biannual Fulham Handicap race in time, I ran an easy 4 miles with the newly formed and rapidly expanding work running club and then headed homewards. Ended up doing a nicely even-paced half marathon, and all in a fresh-out-the-box pair of trail shoes. Deciding I needed a second pair for the forthcoming race, I upgraded to the new Peregrine 6 from Saucony. Just as comfortable on road, I didn’t get a single blister or so much as a hotspot. Definitely “second half slippers” for the big dance.

THURSDAY (0 miles)

A tad sore from last night, I ditched track and did some foam rolling first thing, and then again in the evening. No fun but needs must.

FRIDAY (4.5 miles)

Early morning easy bridge loop with Leo. He carried on and ran in to work. I really wish I’d done the same as a) it took me way longer on the tube and b) if I had, I would have topped 200 miles for the month. Still, 191.3 for September was a decent total and probably my biggest ever. Not that size is important…

SATURDAY (8.2 miles)

The plan was to jog the first 4 miles, then 5k pace for the remaining 4. But I ran too soon after breakfast and felt queasy from the start. Still managed 3 decent miles but I just wasn’t feeling right so jogged it in. Not ideal, but I should probably get used to running while not feeling great. There could well be a lot of that in two weeks’ time.

SUNDAY (9.7 miles)

A nice easy trot up through Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park. It seems to take me about an hour to get into a groove these days and sure enough, the last half an hour of this was the most fun.

Weekly total: 40.8 miles

This was the first week of this training block which at times felt like hard work. I feel like I’ve done most of the required running and now I just want to get on with the race. Hitting the mileage goals, nailing the tough sessions, getting up early to go to the track; these are all things I love and do willingly, but it’s tiring, physically and mentally. So I’m looking forward to a couple of low mileage weeks and a LOT of list-making. You can’t run an ultra without making lists.


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A100: 3 weeks to go


Photo by Leo

MONDAY (0 miles)

Yoga in the morning, foam rolling in the evening. Despite yesterday’s long(ish) run, I actually felt like I could have run today. But I stuck to the plan and gave my legs the chance to recover.

TUESDAY (11.6 miles)

The plan was to run with the newly-formed running club at work and then run home, all at a nice easy pace. But the only person who turned up is young and quick so I did miles at tempo pace and then jogged homewards. With a few miles to go I decided to see if I could respond to an increase in pace and to my surprise and delight found myself fairly flying along and didn’t want to stop. Just occasionally, there’s a pace and point in a run where it feels absolutely exhilarating to be running and this was that rare time for me. I guess this is the runner’s high you hear about. And bloody marvellous it was too.

WEDNESDAY (11.9 miles)

Again went out for a few miles after work  with the office whippet and someone else so again started out speedily. Soon settled down to a more easy pace for the journey home and got back feeling not too knackered.

THURSDAY (0 miles)

Probably could have gone to track for some mile reps (my original plan) but decided they wouldn’t be high quality so had a lie-in and did some extra foam rolling, which I definitely needed.


FRIDAY (5.7 miles)

For the first time in ages I got up in time for the Friday morning run with Fulham Running Club along the Thames. Was rewarded with some good chat with Leo (who is also doing the Autumn 100 – his first 100 but I’m sure he’s going to be brilliant) and some FRC ladies, as well as a beautiful sunny and misty river run. Was tempted to continue the run all the way to work but need to save the legs for tomorrow’s route recce.

SATURDAY (24.8 miles)

Cat, Dudley and Leo refuel at halfway

We picked a beautiful day to check out leg 3 of the Autumn 100, from Goring village up to Chain Hill, west on the Ridgeway. I was running with Dudley, Cat and Leo, all of whom are running the A100, and all of whom are a lot quicker and fitter than me. The pace was a touch hot for me and I paid for it in the final ascent at mile 20 but overall coped fairly well on tired legs. It was a stunning day out, although the wind up  there could be a bit challenging come the night of the race. If all goes to plan I’ll be up there from about 8.30pm until about 2am. Great to see it in the daylight and sunshine though!

SUNDAY (0 miles)

A day of rest. Lying down, eating, a spot of yoga and some foamrolling. Looking forward to an easier week.


Weekly total: 54.1 miles

This was peak week for my training. In the seven days from last Sunday to this Saturday I ran 71 miles, which I think is the most I’ve ever done in that period. So while I felt a bit disheartened to see the other looking so fresh after our recce, I won’t be running anything like as fast as them on race day, and I won’t have had quite such a big week. It’s easy to get distracted by other people’s running but I need to focus on myself and stick to my plan.

A plan which will now also see me doing more core strength workouts over the coming weeks. I’ve been neglecting them and even a few short sessions a week will help me to be stronger come race day. 20 days to go…

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A100: 4 weeks to go

MONDAY (0 miles)
Yoga first thing. Sore back by the end of the day. I think my body just gets confused when I don’t run!

TUESDAY (7.7 miles)

The run commute this morning and for a few miles decided to keep it easy all the way. But the further I went the better I felt so this ended up as a steady progression run. I think I’ve also finally found a route which is fairly direct but without too much foot or road traffic. Score!

WEDNESDAY (6.1 miles)

Nice steady bridges loop with Fulham Running Club. Great to catch up with people even if I didn’t fancy beer. Probably thinking about tomorrow morning’s track session…

THURSDAY (6 miles)

A beautiful morning by the time I headed home. By then I’d done 10x400m at a decent pace so happy with that.

FRIDAY (10 miles)

Worked at home so took the chance to do an early evening run round Clapham Common and back. Even at an easy pace I was pretty tired by the end. Four days’ running in a row is about my limit.

SATURDAY (10.1 miles)

A rare Saturday off running as I was volunteering at the inaugural Chiltern Wonderland 50, a new ultra from Centurion Running. My first time doing over timing and boy, is it hard work! Runners should be made to come into the check point one at a time with a gap of no less than 30 seconds 🙂 Great fun and good to see lots of familiar faces doing so well.

SUNDAY (17.2 miles)

A wonderful weekend of running altruismwas rounded off today when I ran to Kingston Bridge to meet Steph who was doing the Richmond Marathon. When I met her (at mile 16) she was a bit knackered, having set off too fast. So I just ran with her to keep her company and see how close we could get to her pre-race target of 3:35. She showed incredible grit to tough it out for 10 miles and finished in 3:37. Top effort from her and great fun for me. I also did some foam rolling which was considerably less fun.

Weekly total: 47.3 miles

My biggest mileage week for a while. This week I’ve been thinking about finishing the Autumn 100. Literally, how I’ll run (or possibly walk) those last few yards and how great it will feel. I don’t know if visualisation works, but I’m willing to give it a try. If nothing else, filling my head with positive thoughts feels good so I’ll keep doing that for now.

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A100: 5 weeks to go

MONDAY (0 miles)

Yoga am, foam rolling the calves pm. Seem to have gained a twinge in my lower back overnight. Probably just a reaction to it being Monday.

TUESDAY (5 miles)

It may be September but it was very warm even at 6:15 this morning. Humidity and early mornings always make me feel sick but managed to avoid blapping all over the Thames Path. A few form drills in the park followed by an easy progression run.

WEDNESDAY (8.2 miles)

Started the day with a short (25 minute) leg session, with lunges, squats and stability exercises. The plan was to run a quick 10k as part of my 8-mile run commute home. As soon as I picked up the pace, I felt something like indigestion which I couldn’t shake. It was also warm, and I set off too fast so after 5 miles decided to cruise the rest home. I don’t know what brought that feeling on but I also couldn’t eat dinner which is very unlike me. I’ve also had a bit of a cold and have been phlegmy on my runs, although maybe I need to lay off the milk and cheese for a bit.

THURSDAY (6.1 miles)

A couple of easy miles to track, some form drills to warm up and then 6x600m. Still feeling a mixture of nausea and indigestion so this wasn’t a great session. Also, as it was less than 12 hours since my last run, I wasn’t recovered. Still, got it done and I now have 48 hours to rest up, overcome this stomach issue and have a crack at my parkrun PB on Saturday.

FRIDAY (0 miles)

Early morning yoga and some foam rolling in the evening. Classic.

SATURDAY (4.5 miles)

One of the many great things about running with a club is that there’s usually someone faster than you. Well, there is if you’re me and you run with Fulham. So I asked my speedy chum Andy Han to pace me to a PB at parkrun today. He did his best but I couldn’t keep up and despite getting to halfway in 10:08, 20:19 didn’t happen. But given it was 25 seconds faster than last week, I’ll take 20:22. If I can work on my mental attitude when I’m getting fatigued I can crack this. Maybe even go sub-20.

SUNDAY (15.7 miles)

It’s the second Sunday of the month and another chance to run the Thames Hare & Hounds’ Second Sunday 5, a 5-mile trail race on Wimbledon Common. Cheap, cheerful and low key, usually – there were nearly 60 runners today – it’s a good, lumpy test and the perfect training for the winter cross-country season. I did this in July and finished in just under 40 minutes so the aim was to jog there, give it a go, and then run for an hour afterwards to get my weekend mileage up.

Knowing the course was a bonus and I felt comfortable with a pace of just over 7 minute miles until I reached the Toast Rack which is always a battle of attrition. Maintaining a consistent pace and finishing strongly are always my aim and with the exception of a girl who took off on the final descent, no one overtook me after the first half mile. My time was 37:00 so very happy with that.

Weekly total: 39.9 miles

Another good week. Every now and then I wonder if I should be doing more miles – which I will, a bit, for the next two weeks – but I’m confident that the good quality mileage I’m doing is helping to improve my overall fitness. Hopefully this will be at least as good as just doing more miles. We shall see in less than five weeks!


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A100: 6 weeks to go

MONDAY (0 miles)

10-hour flight from San Francisco overnight. 30 minutes sleep. Swapped an easy run for a nap.

TUESDAY (5 miles)

A few easy miles in some cheap new shoes. Turns out they’re cheap because they won’t last long! Comfy though. Also got a slightly painful but much needed sports massage in the evening.

WEDNESDAY (8.1 miles)

Resurrected the run commute, overcoming jetlag-related nausea to finish strongly.

THURSDAY (6.8 miles)

Early morning track session. Felt a bit nauseous (again) so started with 2×800, followed by 4×400, and then 2×800. Decent session and wasn’t even interrupted by the local geese. They must have known I meant business.

FRIDAY (0 miles)

Early morning yoga and that was it for the day. Absolutely shattered. Sometimes I love rest day.

SATURDAY (4.6 miles)

After a few weeks of shorter, faster runs, I had this notion that I might be able to get close to my parkrun PB (20:20). However, beating this meant 6:32/mile pace which seemed unlikely so I just set off at what I thought was a sustainable pace. Aside from a slack second mile, I was happy to finish in 20:47. Maybe next week. Also got my regular maintenance session at the chiropractor which should keep me in shape as I up the mileage.

SUNDAY (19.5 miles)

I’ve been sneezing all week and just assumed I was allergic to going back to work. But when I woke up with the feeling of a cold in my head I very nearly didn’t go for the planned long run. Felt a bit ropey for the first few miles but by the time I reached Richmond Hill for some continuous hill reps I was in the groove. While it wasn’t a quick run, I finished feeling strong, which is all I can hope for at this stage.

Weekly total: 44.3 miles

A good week. Need to focus on doing more strength work though. Starting to have muscle overuse injury thoughts. Mentally, I’m 100% ready to finish a 100-miler. Physically, I’m not so certain.

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A100: 7 weeks to go

NB You have not missed a week. I realised the ‘weeks to go’ referred to the start of my week, not the end when this is being published so we’re down to 7 now! (I never was very good at maths.)

This week has made me appreciate just how tough it is running in hot and humid climates. Fair to play to anyone who’s done Ironman Kona in Honolulu especially!

MONDAY (7 miles)
Went out with the plan of doing an hour, increasing the pace every 20 mins. After half an hour I was really struggling with the heat (25 degrees at 7.30am) and very nearly called it a day when I passed our condo with only 38 minutes on the clock. Struggled on and although I stopped for a dry heave at the roadside, rallied and managed to pick up the pace for the last mile. It was a good reminder that bad patches do pass – I’m sure I’ll have to remember this a lot during Autumn 100.

TUESDAY (3.5 miles)
Moved into a hotel yesterday and it has a gym. Took the opportunity to do some upper body and core strength work before a hilly 30 minutes on the treadmill. I’m not a fan of treadmills but it was blessedly cool which was a delight. Also banged my head on a low-hanging TV screen which was less of a delight. How I still haven’t realised I’m 6’2″ after all these years is a mystery.

WEDNESDAY (5.4 miles)
Braved the outside world this morning and attempted some fartlek. Soon found this wasn’t happening as the heat got a bit much and in the end just about managed 45 minutes. Had a good long stretch afterwards.

THURSDAY (0 miles)
Stretches, balance drills, lunges and some plank variations before breakfast. Breakfast was more fun.

FRIDAY (7.8 miles)
Set off slowly with the hope of finishing stronger and to an extent achieved this. Running in the heat has made me realise how important judging effort rather than pace is. Sometimes you have to accept that you can’t go as fast as you want and that’s okay.

SATURDAY (0 miles)
Flew from Hawaii to San Francisco.

SUNDAY (5.8 miles)
Took advantage of a late checkout and did some mile reps along the San Francisco Bay trail.

Mile 1: 8:55

Mile 2: 6:52

2 mins rest

Mile 3: 6:29

2 mins rest

Mile 4: 6:22

2 mins rest

Mile 5: 6:47

Mile 6: 8:56

Finally getting some speed back which is a relief. However, my form was definitely failing in the last mile rep so I still have plenty of work to do on the quality of form. More running drills and focus on technique required. It’s not much fun and I hardly know anyone who works on their form, but I firmly believe I will benefit from it if I can keep it up regularly.

Weekly total: 29.7 miles 

Not a huge week by any means but pleased to keep the running going while I’ve been away.


Managed to put on 4 pounds in two weeks, which shows how well I’ve been living while on holiday (and also how middle-aged I am). Having said that, I’m running a mile considerably quicker now than I was a few weeks ago, so maybe it doesn’t matter? Either way, I’ll be hoping to shed some weight before race day. To be carrying any more weight than is necessary is not ideal.
Looking forward to getting back to some increased mileage weeks as the race gets ever closer.

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