Gary 'Smiler' Turner's Blog

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Monday, 13 January 2014

Want To Run A Marathon? Tips To Help...

So, you’ve signed up for the London Marathon? Here are some generalised training tips and knowledge to help.

OK, not the London Marathon, but I do like this shot of me and the huskies on the Brecon Beacons!

A marathon is either as easy or as hard as you want it to be. If you can walk normally and are generally free from negative physical conditions you can already complete a marathon right now. Everything you do from now until the marathon is just going to make it easier and more enjoyable!

Look to run as much as you can. If you feel good, then run faster and further. If you don’t feel as good, then I would suggest running slower and shorter. Listen to your body. In this way running does not become a chore but a pleasure.

Always give yourself at least 24hrs off each week, so your cardiac and smooth muscles (heart and vascular system) can get a little rest. Don’t run if you ache, instead rest. Aching is a sign that your body hasn’t recovered from the previous training, so if you run when aching you are risking over-training. Again, listen to your body.

Injuries are a problem with the first time runner or for those stepping up the distance. As soon as possible I would suggest booking in with The Running School (Google them, there are quite a few locations) who will help you find the right biomechanics for your physical shape and size. There is no one-size-fits-all but instead you need to run as the individual you are.

As a heads up on technique look to run in a relaxed efficient manner, soft hips knees and ankles, think ‘tap-tap-tap-tap’ as your footfall with light and fast impact, don’t over-stride instead allow your foot fall to land beneath the centre of gravity, and relax your body and breathing. If you are relaxed you may allow your body to run in the efficient way for you.

Injury prevention through specific training is also strongly recommended. Proprioception is the sense of your body’s position in space of time. The ‘act’ of proprioception is for example when you turn your ankle going over a kerb – yet your body senses this and corrects it so you don’t hurt yourself. Instability work really helps with this and helps strengthen your joints by way of tendon and ligament strengthening combined with the right motor neurons firing. Try standing on one leg each time you brush your teeth, and get someone to show you how to do ‘Bulgarian squats’. Your body will strengthen exactly how it needs to.

In respect to energy you have enough stored energy by way of muscle glycogen and fat to run the marathon many, many times over. The only food you’ll need to absorb will be a little bit of sugar every hour, just to ensure that your blood glucose remains stable. The little energy gels such as ‘Gu’ is great for this. Yet again, don’t overdo it! This will help prevent you from hitting ‘the wall’.

Only, and I mean ONLY drink when thirsty. The human body is designed to operate quite efficiently while dehydrated, whereas over-hydration has led to many deaths. The advice used to be to drink as much as you can and the exercise death rates increased as a result. The advice now is to drink ONLY when thirsty and no more than 400-800ml an hour. This will also help you avoid dodgy tummies and bowel movements. Again, drink ONLY when thirsty.

You don’t need electrolytes in your drink. You have more than enough salt, or electrolytes, in your body to last several marathons. If you get salty deposits on your skin while sweating that is just some of the excess from your body being expelled. You can get all the salts you need for a marathon from a single meal.

With your runs you need to train your mind more than your body. Fatigue is nothing other than a perception in the mind. You need to train your mind that your body can safely do more than it thinks it can. The way to do this is to get the body used to running when tired. A quick word of caution here – get yourself used to improving your technique the more tired you get! To get your body used to running tired get in a long run at least once a week. Make it an enjoyable one! Don’t worry about speed on your long run, enjoying it is MUCH more important!

If you can’t find the time to get a long run in, and for increased benefit even if you can, get used to running “back to backs” where you do two long runs either in consecutive days, or even running twice in one day. This gets your body used to running while tired.

The purpose of getting the body used to running while tired is to allow the mind and the body to understand that it is not going to hurt itself during the marathon – that it is just something it can do, and should allow the person to do. It is mental and physical conditioning. If this conditioning is not carried out the brain will reduce the number of muscle fibres it recruits for the exercise, slowing the pace, and the body will be giving you the ‘tell-tale’ signs of ‘fatigue’.

Allow yourself to get enough rest. Remember that your body improves and strengthens during rest. Initially you can get great gains as the neurology learns and remembers the movements, so expect your running to improve really well for the first three to four weeks. After that your muscles will start to adapt and get stronger, and your gains will slow, yet they will still be increasing.

Nutrition wise start eating ‘clean’ – get your food from as natural sources as possible, stay away from processed food, and look to whole foods where possible. There is no one size fits all for nutrition as everyone has individual genetics and needs. Your body knows itself best. Listen to eat. Only eat when hungry, and only what your body tells you it needs. Stop eating when no longer hungry, never when full. You won’t need any supplements if you eat like this – your body will quite easily get the nutrition it needs.

As a Hypnotherapist, especially one with my experience of being a multi-time World Champion at various sports combined with the Personal Training knowledge I will always be able to help you get into the right mind set to easily complete the marathon. Another person to see is my friend and leading peer, and avid marathon runner, Adam Eason. He wrote the best book on the mental approach to running “Hypnosis for Running” that you can get here:

Oh, I would say it is the best – I wrote the foreword!

So there you go – what, are you still here? Get out and run!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Losing Weight and Keeping It Off

Out With The old

Today is New Year’s Day, and my Facebook feeds are filled with people selling products and solutions for weight loss. Without exception these are based on the ‘calorie deficit model’ – or dieting. Unfortunately this is completely incorrect science. If ANYONE tells you that losing weight is a matter of “exercising more and eating less” just walk away. They don’t know what they are talking about.

The calorie deficit model is based on the incorrect application of machine physics. It does not apply to the human body in the same way.

Worse, the calorie deficit model has major problems with long term health. Firstly the systemic reviews of these ‘diets’ show that any weight loss is transient at best. This means that long term you are more likely to PUT WEIGHT ON rather than lose it. With this process come metabolic changes in your body that can adversely affect your health – let alone your psychology.

I can see my 6-pack, and complete ultra-marathons. Yet my metabolism though is amazingly slow! My rest heart rate is only 42. My body has become very efficient at conserving energy. After I do a long run, my body is looking to conserve energy, so I don’t tend to do much, and my metabolism is slowed. I burn lots of energy during exercise so my brain influences my body and behaviour to do less the rest of the time.

Our bodies look to produce a balance - homeostasis - and in a way that best promotes cellular life. If we eat less calories than our energy output requires, our brains slow our activity down to create balance once more. In our brains we have a ‘set point’ that represents our ‘ideal weight’, which is based on genetic and behavioural factors. Our behaviour influences this set point. Certain behaviours, such as eating too many carbohydrates than our bodies require, or eating when our bodies don’t need the food, over time can throw this set point out.

Dieting is one such way that your ‘set point’ is thrown out. Reduce your calories and in a few days you will start obsessing about food, craving certain foods, and these are signs of your psychology driving you to eat what you need. It slows your behaviour too, reducing motivation, and reducing overall exercise. Your body and mind will be looking to maintain that set point.

So that’s a brief over-view just touching on some of the many issues with dieting and weight loss, in particular the calorie deficit model. While we are at it, calorie counting is silly anyway. We are often told that “1lb of fat is 3500calories”. It isn’t. It is actually somewhere between 2,843 and 3,752calories. Not every fat cell is equal. We are also told that 1g of carbohydrate is 4calories, protein is 4calories, and fat is 9calories. Again, not every gram of these nutrients has the same. Worse, not every food we eat stays in our body – some passes out as waste. Then try and work out accurately how much energy you burn – your basal metabolic rate, the thermal effect of feeding, the post-exercise oxygen consumption, and so on. You will need a laboratory and detailed physiological knowledge, and even then you probably will be way off. So what chance of getting calorie counting right does Joe Public have?

In summary, diets don’t work, calorie deficit doesn’t work, and lots of myths are being perpetuated. And the above is just the tip of the iceberg as to the incorrect advice being given. 

In With The New 

So how DO you lose weight? Firstly, it is the excess unnecessary fat that you need to lose, not the muscle mass which is of benefit to you. In order to burn fat you need to set the right environment up in the body so that it burns fat as an energy source rather than storing it. And you also need to allow your body to return to a more appropriate set point.

Let’s look at the set point first. It amazes me how we try and dictate to our bodies what we should eat and when. There is so much advice that is put to us by our Government, Nutritionists, Nutritional Therapists, Dieticians, Doctors and Personal Trainers. It scares me how little of the advice they give is actually based in science. Worse, the advice they give is probably fuelling the obesity problem in the first place. No-one should tell you what to eat and when. Now, there are certain rules that I will come onto, yet everyone is an individual with different genetics and adaptations. What works for one will not work for another. There is no ‘one size fits all’ that works. Even worse still we are trying to consciously dictate to our bodies what they require. This has a major failing.

Remember our bodies are looking to maintain the environment in our bodies that best support cellular life. In order to do this we have little senses all over our body detecting everything from temperature to blood sugar levels. Our bodies know what nutrients they need and when. They send us signals to drive our behaviour. If we listen to these signals we will maintain a healthy set point – we’ll be the right weight. Yet we look to ‘force’ this process. As a result, our bodies look to adapt, often raising the set point, and carry out ‘mitigating measures’ to do its best to ensure cellular life, such as adjusting metabolism and such like.

There are simple ‘Eating Rules’ for allowing your body to find the right set point, and easily and effortlessly reach it and maintain it:
  1. Eat when you are hungry.
  2. Stop eating when no longer hungry, never when full.
  3. Listen to your body and eat the nutrients that your body is telling you to eat.
  4. Never eat for any other reason than that you are hungry
  5. Drink only when thirsty, and stop drinking when no longer thirsty.

Just by simply following these principles you can easily and effortlessly reach your ideal weight and maintain it. Simple.

To help you reach this ideal weight you may need a little more knowledge. The environment you need in your body to burn fat rather than store it requires application of the knowledge of five hormones – insulin, glucagon, leptin, ghrelin, and adrenaline. What follows is a generalisation.

Insulin has the job of storing fat and keeping it there. It is secreted every time you eat carbohydrates and just a little bit when you eat protein. Fat has a negligible insulin response. (Oh, just an interesting fact – it is almost impossible for fat to be stored as fat without carbohydrates being present. Eating fat does not make you fat.) Glucagon has the job of releasing fat for burning when energy is low. Glucagon runs and hides when insulin is present. Leptin tells you that you are no longer hungry – it tells you to stop eating. Insulin also makes leptin run away and hide. Ghrelin tells you that you are hungry. It stays out when insulin is present.

In summary, eat carbohydrates and you are setting your body up for fat storage. Insulin comes out, ghrelin tells you that you are still hungry, and you keep eating and storing excess to requirements as fat. Worse, glucagon (fat burning) and leptin (no longer hungry) run and hide, so you don’t burn fat, and you don’t stop eating.

Certain carbohydrates have a higher insulin response than others. This is termed the ‘glycaemic index’, where a high value produces lots of insulin and a low value very little if at all. If you want to lose weight then you should look towards getting any carbohydrates from as low a GI source as possible.

Putting it into better perspective, if you follow the rules 1-5 above you will lose weight to reach your ideal weight and sustain it. You can assist it to reach its goals in a more efficient manner by only eating from these foods, which will ensure you get all of your nutrients whilst having a low insulin (fat storing) environment, and allow you to continue to burn fat as an energy source – I call these the ‘Nutrient Rules’:

  1. Eat real foods, whole foods where possible, properly prepared (which may be raw or cooked), and cut out all processed food
  2. Eat all meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, nuts, mushrooms, berries, non-root vegetables, non-tropical fruit, and salads. Dairy is good too, as long as you are not dairy intolerant.

Oh, and while we’re at it, cut out grains and refined sugar. In fact, if you do ONE thing, cut these out. Your body, and your mind will thank you for it!

Earlier I listed five hormones. The fifth was adrenaline. This is a hormone that, in the context of this blog post, mobilises fat for energy during exercise. Fat burning during exercise IS inhibited by insulin’s presence, but not to the same extent as when our bodies are at rest. Exercising to burn fat is a very complex subject and not just simply a matter of “exercising to burn calories”. Fat is mobilised as an energy source throughout all exercise at all intensities – arguably even when we are working at maximum capacity. More fat is burned at lower intensities than at high, yet all intensities burn an element of fat.

Exercise therefore is a very complex subject in respect to fat loss. You need to exercise in such a manner where the environment is right to burn fat. The food rules as above need to be followed, together with their hormonal responses. To get this as accurate as possible takes detailed knowledge and its application – that is where an appropriate professional comes in.

Mind you, any exercise will be good for your health and is unlikely to do harm to weight loss efforts. A brisk walk first thing in the morning on an empty stomach will burn fat quite nicely. Increasing exercise during your day, such as standing more (reducing sitting), can have massive effects on your overall health. I would recommend that people do as much natural movement as possible – walking, running, gardening, lifting, moving things, cleaning and such like. Walk to work. Get a bike. Play footie with the kids. Exercise is important for health – though not necessary for fat loss, although it can speed it up.

If it is fat loss you are after then employing an appropriate Personal Trainer (such as me!) with the right understanding of fat loss will be of massive benefit, and will mobilise you more quickly and easily to your goals. Along the way you’ll have fun, learn to enjoy exercising and see it as a part of life and not a chore – you’ll be exercising for ‘life’.

In summary, follow the ‘Eating Rules’, and follow the ‘Nutrient Rules’, and you’ll be able to easily and effortlessly lose weight. 


There are too many perpetuated myths in respect to weight loss and fat loss, the foods we should eat, and the way we ‘should’ exercise. The more I study the more questions I ask. Compare this blog post with some of my previous ones on weight loss and you’ll see that my approach and the information within are changing as I develop. Science and knowledge is increasing daily. I study to remain current, and ask the difficult questions to so called ‘authority figures’.

For weight loss there is no quick fix. Ignore anyone who is trying to sell you pills, potions or shakes. Ignore anyone that is selling the ‘calorie deficit model’ or telling you to simply ‘exercise more and eat less’. 

Weight loss and holding your ideal weight is very simple in principle. Follow the Eating Rules and Nutrient Rules. Add in exercise wherever possible.

About myself 

I am in a fortunate position. I understand physiology and psychology. One goes hand in hand with the other – if you are skilled in one without the other then you will be missing things. So if you need help with your mind, then please consider booking a session with me for Hypnotherapy. If you need help with reaching your exercise goals then consider booking a session with me for Personal Training. Full details about my sessions can be found at

And if you are stressed out, suffer from anxiety or even panic attacks, please have a look at my book ‘No Worries’ that has been getting consistent 5* reviews on Amazon. You can buy it in paperback and on Kindle here and

As an aside, over Christmas I followed the rules. I ate what I wanted to eat when I wanted to eat it. I dropped 1kg in weight. I didn’t deprive myself of anything.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Brecon Beacons Ultra Marathon December 2013

I had put kickboxing pads into the foot wells of my truck to create a level floor with the seats, and laid down the blankets to form dog beds. My little husky Max curled up beside me on the passenger seat. I rolled my chair back and pulled the sleeping bag over me. My big husky Harley settled into the rear seats and popped his head on my shoulder. Now, if only that damn owl would stop being so noisy we could have got some sleep…

That was how I spent the night before the race. Cuddled up in my truck with the huskies keeping me warm. At 5am the first cars started to appear in the car park, waking everyone who were sleeping in their vehicles and camper vans. The day had started, the race was on.

I emerged from the truck at 6am and took the huskies for a little walk, letting them stretch their legs. More hardened racers were starting to accumulate, the bobbing of head torches lighting up the pretty village of Talybont. I popped the huskies into the truck, popped to the race centre for my morning’s ‘activities’ and to brush my teeth, and then it was final preparation time. I fed the dogs some sausages, and I had a few hard boiled eggs. I don’t run well on food, so it was just a light snack to put something in my stomach.

Getting changed I had my first problem. I knocked the water bowl over on my race shorts. I laughed. Wet shorts in the cold were going to be the least of my worries – I had 42 miles across the Brecon Beacon mountain range to come, and the terrain is horrendous – there is a big reason why they are used for Special Forces training!

The racers accumulated at 0715 for the race talk, but I couldn’t hear. Max was whining with excitement. Sorry about that everyone! We then walked towards the start and then yes! Success! I picked up the deposit and placed it in the bin at the start line. One less weight to carry round – yes, us canicrossers pick up after our dogs even when racing.

I had a strategy for the start. Having run this race last year I knew my huskies would go off like a rocket, so I aligned myself to the right side of the pack to keep clear of everyone as much as possible.

Suddenly we were off – a sharp turn to the right, and then the first climb, a long gradual constant one. The huskies were on form and provided the only effortless part of the race for me. Storming through on the right side of the runners, they effortlessly pulled me up. Many commented “that’s cheating!” as I eased effortlessly past – yet they didn’t understand what was to come!

I was well placed for the first downhill across the fields. My quads quickly burned on the descent as with every step I had to brake the huskies. Everything I gained going up is lost and more going downhill as the huskies continue to pull. Last year I was pulled over at least 50 times. I was looking for an improvement on that! I used ‘fast feet’, short steps, and had better footwear this year – the Vivobarefoot Neo Trails, worn straight out of the box, were providing lovely grip and were really comfortable.

I made the first stile in a little gap between the other runners, and quickly hoisted the huskies over. I’d trained them for robustness on landing the other side! The stiles on the course were a pain – only a few actually had dog access and the rest I had to lift a 30kg and 25kg pair of huskies over. I also had to wait at times to ensure I didn’t hold up the other runners. (Thanks have to go to the people who helped me too – especially the lady on about mile 35 who held onto them when the stile was too high, and it was easier to slip them under the fence.)

The weather was unseasonably warm, and the huskies had gone off pulling with all their might. Max was starting to suffer, and started to lag a little. This was worrying as he had a long way to go! I HAVE to put the dog’s safety and health first. I carried on, yet Max was worrying me. Harley was as dependable as usual, the perfect lead dog in every respect. He was going just fine and loving it. Max just looked a little uncertain.

Max hanging back taking it easy, not working at all now. Harley still in front though checking out the sheep!

A little incident then happened with a farmer in his van on a tight bit of single track. Coming up behind us he didn’t slow to let us get to safety. The dogs jumped out of the way just in time yet my elbow bounced off the side of the truck. A few minutes later he was parked up unloading straw bales. As I approached I shouted “excuse me Sir, I understand you have a job to do, but next time please wait until everyone can get out of your way.” I guess it is lucky that I don’t speak Welsh. I got a nice little tirade of language. I thought about asking what the Welsh was for “tosser”, yet the race was more important.

Max continued to look and act tired and retirement for him was a growing concern. Fortunately the lovely Claire O’Brian, running the support vehicle for some other canicrossers, had offered to be support for mine too if they needed it. I was seriously thinking of letting Max spend the race curled up in her vehicle. Yet he continued to put one paw in front of the other. We were now running at Max’s pace.

The first third of the race was out of the way, including some punishing climbs and horrible downhills. Most of the climbs are too steep or too boggy/treacherous/rocky for the huskies to offer any assistance. I was feeling good. The temperature seemed to drop again and the long exposed ridge run through the bogs was surprisingly fun. Max was hanging in there. 

Powering through the bogs (Max back on form!)

 The forest section I really took my time. There were several reasons. This is the middle section of the race and I wanted to ensure that I was fresh for Pen Y Fan and what comes beyond. I allowed Max to completely recharge and he munched on some sausages to give him some energy. It also gave me a chance to change my running gait because I didn’t want to get cramps – which are a neurological ‘trip up’ from fatigue and nothing to do with the popular myth about hydration and electrolytes. I took on board some of my flapjacks, and like an idiot I managed to drop the entire pack somewhere leaving me without any food – what a muppet!

Pen Y Fan soon loomed and I was ready. The race route is straight up the steepest path. But my secret weapon was there – the cafĂ© shack at the bottom was open! I grabbed an ‘emergency’ Crunchie and got a ‘special’ cup of coffee – two heaped teaspoons of coffee, two of sugar, half of hot water, half of milk. It. Tasted. Delicious!

As the caffeine and warmth started to spread I began the horrible climb. Pen Y Fan is not an easy climb at the best of times. Yet try doing a marathon distance over mountains first. It saps the legs. Harley and Max were being pains, pulling me left and right as they were getting some smells in, and trying to pull me after grazing sheep on the mountainside. Putting one foot in front of the other, and being a complete moaner all the way up like an irritable teenager, I was there. Result. Now to face my nemesis – the descent from Pen Y Fan. 

Last year I went over a good 25 times coming down. The huskies pulling hard, me trying to brake, failing, and crashing hard. This time I was ready. New shoes. Better grip. Faster feet and better technique. Better strategy. Coffee inside me. Time to go for it!

IT ROCKED! What a completely awesome descent! Max was back and rocking. Harley was excited at the sheep yet kept on task – a miracle in itself! I only went over once on some granite, cutting my legs quite nicely to give me some war wounds. Not enough to warrant patching up, I slowed the blood to a trickle, and smiled. Picked myself up and back on the run. I over took loads of runners on the way down and finally felt what it must be like to be a fell runner at full speed. Brilliant, brilliant, fun. I charged into the checkpoint arms wide shouting “yeeeeeeeeeeesssss!”

I knew I had it in the bag. Around 11 miles to go. Ahead of time. Every flat stretch of terrain I eased into technique allowing my heels to lift and my heels to turn in a circle, relaxing into it. The downhills I started speeding up, trusting my new found technique. I know I was going around 7-minute mile pace where the terrain allowed.

The river crossing was fun, and the huskies took on more water. I was running with a fully loaded race pack carrying all mine and their emergency equipment and spares, and had two front-mounted 750ml water bottles for me, that I kept regularly filled to the top. I was running with a pack that weighed around 12kg. The huskies took water on board from mud, from puddles, and from the rivers and mountain streams.

The last checkpoint was passed and the team powered on. Taking the middle section easy allowed me to have lots in reserve. So did the huskies. We were rocking. The last 6 miles passed fast, even with the head torches on as darkness descended, and only one comical incident.

Crossing one of the stiles there were around 100 sheep the other side. I hoisted the huskies over, told them to wait, and started to climb over. No chance. Harley charged for the sheep and I got flipped over the top of the stile and dragged along. I recovered, shook Harley by the scruff of his neck to snap him out of ‘prey mode’ and with him back ‘on task’ the going was good once more.

The course was brilliantly marked, even in the dark, and soon the finishing line was in sight. Passing the finishing line was fantastic, the people cheering me on taking the time out to get out in the cold and give support. Thank you! I registered my number, bent over and turned my head torch off, and went straight in and put my food order on. Two big fat chef’s best burgers each for the husky and one in a bun with all the trimmings for me. I slipped out of my race pack and collapsed against the wall. The huskies lay down beside me with their happy faces on.

Might Contain Nuts Brecon Beacons 42miles Ultra Marathon – DONE!

So that’s my experience, hopefully it will inspire you to get out and put one foot in front of the other and enjoy running. I’ll follow this blog up with some more, lessons learnt and how I knocked nearly 1.5hrs off my previous year’s time, and an important blog on how I have been recovering. I’m nearly there now. Just got the deep pains from my quads to ease….

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Drug hit without the drugs...

I use many methods, including hypnosis, and without drugs, to induce a 'drug hit' with my subjects.

In performance the reasons are obvious. Yet there are also a whole host of therapeutic approaches that this can be used with too.

How does it work?

Most drugs people take, pharmaceutical or recreational, don't actually do anything to us. Rather, it's what we do in reaction to them. We react in their presence. Once someone has a reference experience their physiology and psychology has the memory of what to do.

By driving the imagination we can create the drug hit 'in vitro'. In other words, we guide the mind, and the mind and body create the effects. With me guiding the experience we can also 'refine' it, intensify it, weaken it, remove the bad bits, and increase the good. This is not just the mind imagining the effects - the effects are real.

This means that the drug hit can be created and intensified even more than taking the actual drug, and can be done without any of the side effects.

Whilst I have used these approaches many times in performance work, and for great effect (and very carefully incorporated and applied and for specific reasons) in therapy, I am now wondering how this can be applied in the field of medicine.

Most medical professionals would say only a fool would ignore the placebo effect - it forms part of every medical approach - our psychology creates it. This blog describes an extension of the placebo effect.

Placebos have been given instead of actual painkillers, to no less effect. This has even worked with 'nocebo's' - where the subject knows they are taking a placebo. My thoughts are this can be taken further.

I wonder if one day hypnosis will be used instead of taking drugs for a wide range of conditions - just by recreating the effects of the drugs through the psych?

Just putting something out there for people, especially medical practitioners and other hypnotists, to ponder on.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Final Phase Ultra Marathon Training

Here is the second part of this year’s Ultra Marathon training, taking me into the final preparation stages. The first part of this blog can be found here:

At the end of the blog you’ll find my daily and weekly mileages so you can see exactly what I have done. It starts with week 11, and, well, not a lot happens! Week 10 was 61.5miles and I start week 11 with a 17 mile hill run over Watership Down. I then do nothing, having flown to Palma for a week of rest and recovery with the wife. 

This recovery week is a key part of my preparation. All the little physical niggles clear up. My body has time to completely repair itself from all the increases in mileage. My endocrine system gets a chance to make the adjustments it needs. And most importantly, my mind gets a recharge. 

My huskies were on a rest week too, in some really good kennels, letting their bodies make the same adjustments mine are, and allowing them a change in environment to recharge their minds as well.

At this stage in my training the 42miles distance will be easy – the mountains, less so. Following this rest week the key parts of my training are getting further hill conditioning under my feet, testing kit and its configurations, and working hard on getting the huskies and me working as a team. 

All of my second daily runs have been in the dark. I love running in the dark with my head torch, huskies enjoying the different smells, sounds and animals. It is great proprioception training for my feet – especially when going fast. My Judo back ground came in handy too with me taking a couple of fast tumbles and my breakfalls saving my body from damage, usually stubbing my toes on tree roots. 

Here’s what I look like in my kit. Emergency kit in the back and everything I need for quick access in the front.

 To achieve this I continued with my back-to-back training, running twice daily, to ensure I am used to running on tired legs. Almost every shorter run has become a speed session. I’ve been getting good fartleks and sustained speed work in. 

This week I started with another 17 miles over Watership Down. I love this run as it has some nice big and sustained hills, and it is over varied terrain. There are also about 5miles of running on tarmac which have been conditioning my feet to the hard surface – I run in barefoot shoes offering no cushioning. 

This pic gives you an idea of the fantastic terrain at Watership Down. I’ve climbed to the ridge and am now following the ridge along, the picture taken back along the path I’ve just come. The picture makes it look so much flatter than it is!

My race is on Saturday – 42 miles across the Brecon Beacons. So I’m resting today, will do a little run tomorrow and Thursday to keep my legs turning over, and the rest of it will be rest. I won’t be changing my food at all, still just listening to my body. (I’ll do another blog post on the vastly mis-understood ‘carb loading’ another time – in most cases it isn’t effective.) The husky diet changes though – they’ll be going onto raw fatty beef from tomorrow. It is like rocket fuel for them. After a few days on this they’ll be fully energised up enough to run – and run HARD – for around 120miles without needing food nor water. Damn. I wish I was a husky…

I’ll post up my race report following the event – see you on the other side!

Week 11 10th Nov
Sunday                                 17
Monday                               0
Tuesday                               0
Wednesday                        0
Thursday                             0
Friday                                    0
Saturday                              0              17 miles

Week 12 17th Nov
Sunday                                 0
Monday                               5 + 4.5
Tuesday                               15 + 2.5
Wednesday                        8.5 + 2.5
Thursday                             4.5 + 4.5
Friday                                    3.5
Saturday                              0              50.5 miles

Week 13 24th Nov
Sunday                                 17
Monday                               10 + 4.5
Tuesday                               4.5 + 2.5
Wednesday                        7 + 3.5
Thursday                             2.5 +3.5
Friday                                    0
Saturday                              0              55 miles
Week 14 1st December
Sunday                                 17