Trailblazing: Sleet, trails & black toenails

It’s event time again. ‘Run of the (muddy) mill’  will be on hold for a while as I enter a phase of serious training. Around this time last week I found  a run, a trail run, a great run trail run. A 22K trail run near Keswick, Cumbria; an iconic location in British fell running history; the start and finish for the Bob Graham Round – I may be a city boy but I have well established my love of mud and hills and a chance to run in the vicinity of the BG is hard to say no to. Plus – 22K is 14 miles, a distance I have not conquered before – what kind of a muddy masochist would I be if I turned that down. So I entered.

22K entry confirmation

If one is going to do something, then one must do it properly. Plus I want to finish in a respectable time. So my next step is training plan, now there are not a lot of trail running specific half marathon training plans online so I opted for a standard HM training plan – with some adjustments, many adjustments actually. The first was that I needed to tweak the runs, make half of them trail runs – usually pretty hard when you live in the city – less so if Richmond park is on your door step so I have/will be sharing the sandy/muddy horse tracks that wind around Richmond park – with the horses – sort of my own Man Vs Horse, without actually racing the horses.

The next major tweak is that the race, June 9th is only 10 weeks away which means I am already behind schedule for the HM plan, let alone the extra mile. Thankfully, my running (although sporadic over the last 3 months) has had some consistency and my legs took to the challenge of suddenly running every other day, and gym’ing in between like a fish takes to water.

So how has it gone?

For the first week, I did half beginners HM plan, half inter (the inter is what I am now using)


30min run – nothing special. My 5K road route with a bit on top.


I swam for 40mins [which was great :)]


I tried out the horse track in Richmond park and did a 40min trail run.


I cycled 12 miles


I upgraded to the intermediate plan which required a 40min run – I decided to do a half&half – half road/half trail which was going great until I tripped on a submerged root and landed on my knees in a puddle of mud – no injuries (thankfully) just a little bit surprised. I did learn, however, that if pushed I can literally fall out of bed, neck a cup of coffee, scoff an apple- then go for a run. A tactic that I will need to employ for the next 6 weeks as my work schedule is bonkers busy. It was post Friday’s run that I discovered that one of my toenails was not just really really muddy but actually dead!

Wet feet, black toenails, mud encrusted trainers, sideways weather – heaven!

Saturday llllllloooooooooooooooggggggggggggg S—L—O—W run

Endurance run for week 1(2) of 10(12) and forcing myself to run slow was enjoyable – plus my SLOW pace is still pretty quick – I covered 7 miles in the driving sleet in about an hour and a quarter, felt like I’d run 7 miles (12Ks) but was not wiped out for the rest of the day.

Today is my official rest day, Monday is the start of week 2(3) and requires a 50min run. My hamstrings are already twitching in anticipation.

Happy slogging!

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