Ultra Dave’s Ultra Diary – Holiday Edition

‘Chafing, black toenails, and dehydration are just the rites of passage for those of us who race 50 and 100 miles and more’ – Scott Jurek

It’s been nearly 2 months since Dave completed the Kielder Ultra 80K race and within a week he’d signed up for another one:


I felt relatively fine after the Kielder race, so much so in fact that I was back out running the same week.

I decided to strike while the iron was hot and enter another race quickly so I didn’t come complacent and let food and beer undo all the hard work I’d done so far. The St Cuthberts Way Ultra on 16th July 2016 was the next logical step. It’s local and as it’s 100k felt like unfinished business after dropping down to 80K at Keilder. It was nice to have something achievable in the pipeline to aim for again.

Training since Kielder has been going well other than I haven’t really done many long training runs which seemed to dominate my training for the Wall. Even so I’ve managed to remain relatively injury free which is nothing to be sniffed at.

Halfway through training for St Cuthbert we were due to spend 2 weeks in The Algarve. Experience of previous holidays as been if you take a fortnight off training it takes a month to get your fitness back up to where it was and I didn’t have time for that.  I’d experienced running every day on holiday in Greece last year and found it was something I built easily into my day and felt better for it when I got home. I’d done it in Greece so didn’t see why I couldn’t do it in Portugal too.


The main difference running in Portugal over home (or Greece) is that it feels much more isolated. Too much beer and Kleftiko In Greece meant I did all my training runs early evening, however in Portugal I limited the amount I drank which allowed me to get out at around 10am before it started getting really hot. The two things that made it a lot tougher this year was the heat and the hills. I do, however prefer running in warm weather, so long as I have enough water with me. Although I don’t run as fast as in the cold, I find the warmth keeps your muscles nice a lose and tend to experience less pulls or strains. I also ran farther in Portugal than I did in Greece; 7.5miles instead of 10K – although both seem to have the universal foreign dog problem nipping at your ankles or just generally scaring the crap out of you as you jog past!

The training plan after holiday is pretty much 2-3 weeks of running as much as I can, doing way easy on the drink if not stopping completely than take a week or so to taper in the run up to the race.

For St Cuthberts I’m looking forward to the terrain and conditions being much more manageable that it was at Kielder. My practice of hill running in the heat in Portugal will hopefully have been good practice for any potential warm whether (for the North East!) and the 500 metre climb over 8 miles I did in the hills should stand me in good stead for the 2500 metre elevation on race day. My biggest hurdle I think will be that I haven’t done many long training runs however as always, I imagine the biggest real problem will be something I haven’t even considered yet.

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