Finding my next endurance milestone: the Cotswold Way Century

After DNFing at the SDW100, I enjoyed three weeks of rest (plus a week on antibiotics) to recharge and refocus. Since then, I’ve returned to training and feel surprisingly all the better for taking that break. I have a real extra zest and ambition for my running, and am enjoying it so much more. Now I’m feeling good again (great, even) it’s high time to set another milestone in my Super Fit at 50 journey…

En route to unfinished business

I’ll be taking on the Cotswold Way Century (21-22ndSeptember) as a relatively short-term goal. The only thing I’m slightly nervous about is navigation (it’s never been my strong point), so I’ll be going armed with my trusty Harvey map. It’s a stepping stone along the way to hopefully heading back to Chamonix next year (providing I get lucky with a place in the draw) for another bash at the formidable CCC. I have unfinished business in the Alps!

Running at Braunton Burrows
Running this week at Braunton Burrows

Increasing the number of runs

My training has been going well. I’ve decided to mix things up and run fewer miles out on the trail and instead increase my mileage volume, mostly on the road. Before, I’d usually clock 34-45 miles per week; now I’ve upped it to 50-60 miles, which I’ll keep up until the first week of September.

Weighted steps

As well as increasing volume, I feel I’m stronger and recovering faster than before thanks to good back-to-back runs and doing weighted steps once a week. I was first introduced to weighted steps by XNRG head coach Andy Mouncey, and they really work. Here’s how to do it:

  • Find a solid step that allows your thigh to go horizontal as you step up – mine’s pictured below!
  • Keeping your back straight, try 100 steps up and down on each leg, without any weight at first.
  • Second time around, wear a weighted vest and do the same.
  • Over several weeks, gradually increase the number of steps and the weight you’re carrying.
The step I use for weighted steps
The step I use for weighted steps (car key for scale!)

I must admit that until recently weighted steps were something I did as and when, with little consistency. Taking them on as something more routine, I started with 195 step-ups on each leg while wearing 23kg of weight (a weight vest plus a rucksack filled with bags of sugar, crucially wrapped in gaffer tape). Doing one session a week, I increased the number of reps by 25 on each leg each time, and I’m now up to 400 reps with 25kg of weight.

It’s all about strength. My hill climbing has improved, and I find the last three miles of my longer runs (which are around 20 miles) are much stronger. Highly recommended!

Staying healthy off the trails

I am back on antibiotics as I write this post, thanks to another urine infection, but it’s not really affected my running. I’m sleeping well, staying well hydrated, and am continuing to focus on intermittent fasting (IF).

I’m also on holiday as I write this, so OMADs (one meal a day intermittent fasting) have temporarily gone out the window, but I’ve managed to stick to a rough 16/8 routine most days and I feel great for it. So, here’s looking forward to my next running milestone: the Cotswold Way Century!

Got a big event or goal on the horizon? I’d love to talk it through with you and help you get there. Leave a comment below or email me on to find out more about endurance coaching.

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