Running Lessons Learnt

As with life in general, in running you tend to learn a lot more from making mistakes. I’ve learnt a lot….

This is my ever growing list of the things I’ve learnt a long the way.


From the Autumn 100:

  • Avoid taking too many calories in one go – I usually aim for 100 Cal a go about 3 times an hour. A honey sandwich at 300 Cal at half way was a struggle to eat and made eating difficult for a couple of hours.

From the Beyond the


Form the Jurassic Coast 100:

  • Make sure head torches can’t inadvertently turn on
  • If you don’t have a support crew organise your drop bag to minimise decision making
  • Be careful when running with others. Ultra running is very sociable but if your trying to get round as quick as you can at some point you need to run your own race
  • Understand the course better. Sometimes this demands a decent recce ahead of time. Those killer hills needed to be experienced before the race.
  • Don’t carry enough food to get you round if you know you can pick up food on the way. You need to travel as light as possible.
  • Running poles on tough courses are essential! They help you climb, can be used almost like crutches going down steps/hills when your quads are shot and they will minimise your falling when you’re starting to unravel
  • Even just walking up a hill isn’t enough to conserve energy, if you have a heart rate monitor use it!


  • I’m not a very good walker, need to work on it
  • Cycling is a great way to build base without impacting running. I added Monday/Friday commutes as running “rest” days this year.
  • Back to back double (and triple) days work well for me building the longer running stamina instead of regular long (marathon plus) runs of previous years.
  • I can run a succession of Ultras (4 in 8 weeks) but shouldn’t, but if I do I have to be serious about recovery. Running 20+ miles a week after is very risky (posterior tibial tendon issues after 3rd impacted the 4th)
  • I must not ignore general conditioning, foot/ankle issues could have been a lot worse.
  • Sub-3 marathon needs speed as well as endurance… I need to get faster.
  • Regular sleep with consistent times really is an important part of training.
  • Reversing the day by getting up early (5:00-5:30) and going to bed early (21:30) every day including weekends has given me more time in the day when I can function efficiently (I’m an early person).


  • I can run back to back marathons, and I can even go faster, but I shouldn’t.
  • Switching back to marathons after Ultras is difficult, particularly if you don’t do any speed work while you’re in the Ultra phase.
  • I don’t like London (the city and the marathon). Manchester is better, Dorset even better.
  • A structured training program really helps (I used this one)
  • Cross training is good!


  • Pacing! Pacing! Pacing! Start slow and build up
  • The longer the better