Grooves In The Ground

By Andy Mouncey, January 27, 2020

You’d be forgiven for thinking I’d embraced a life of sloth and gone on the pies given the derth of recent posts of the running-variety. Well, if you’re after self-indulgent LOOK AT ME! over-sharing then this is not the blog for you – though I suspect most of you figured that out pretty quick and have just hung in here with me regardless.

So…just to break the pattern of prison-based stuff and to reassure you that I am indeed still challenging the signs of aging, here IS a post about running.

There has infact, been quite a lot by my standards because this Friday I have an appointment with 100 miles of the SW Coastal path cherry-picked as the link between the start and finish of the Arc Of Attrition race.

We start around 50miles east of Lands End, head west around LE and finish around 50miles north up the coast. Big Picture navigation is this: ‘Keep the sea on the left.’ 

We start lunchtime so that’s a few hours daylight then lots more hours darkness then a few more hours daylight – and hopefully still finishing in that daylight. Mud and rocks are expected – and steps: LOTS of steps. 

So my training has involved lots of this


And this

This time I’ve stayed close to home and concentrated on a handful of key routes on which I have build duration by doing relatively small distances over and over and over again.

Mostly in crappy weather.

Usually with a hefty proportion of darkness.

And all with a delightful quantity of steps.

No speedwork as such – rare for me – just a 6 week block of very steady run-hike volume. It’s fit well with the (high-intensity) prison work as most of my creative planning/making sense of that work has been done while grinding grooves in the ground under the light of a head torch. 

This wasn’t Plan A but Plan A evolved in to this very quickly as it became apparent that (a) my calves weren’t ready for a beasting and (b) my head and heart was firmly in my work and I just didn’t have the energy beans to go deep in training as well.

Still, I needed something for me and this was to be it – just needed to rearrange the pieces while keeping the game the same.

All of which has meant that I’m almost in holiday-mode for this one – I view it as a somewhat perverse reward for the recent prison success. How that will translate over the 24 hours or so of coastal miles is anyone’s guess – but that’s part of why we play the game!

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