Red Wine Runner

A Scottish Running Blog

WHW Race Training Update and D33 Ultra preview

West Highland Way Race Training Update
Weeks 5, 6 and 7

west highland way race red wine runner

The last couple of weeks of training haven’t been very interesting, hence my lack of regular updates. I couldn’t bring myself to write a couple of boring posts about running around Stonehaven every other day, so I figured that if I didn’t want to write it then there’s no way anyone would want to read it! So here’s a brief run-down of what I’ve been doing, and a more interesting look ahead to the first race of the Scottish Ultra season, the D33 Ultra, which is this weekend!

Week 5 – Week Beginning 23rd Feb.
First week of D33 ‘Taper’

Mon – Unscheduled rest due to University work
Tue – Unscheduled rest due to University work
Wed – 6.1 mile easy run around Stonehaven, missed Body Pump due to University work
Thur – 9.5 mile medium effort run.
Fri – 9 mile ‘8 Hills of Stonehaven’ route – I was supposed to do 20 miles this morning but woke up lacking in any desire or mojo whatsoever. I bargained myself down to 9 mile of hard effort up and down every hill in Stonehaven – for some reason this seemed preferable. It was fun!

8 hills of stonehaven 8 hills of stonehavenSat – 6.5 mile walk around Edinburgh
Sun – 1hr 30m of Bikram Yoga in Edinburgh. I loved being back in the hot room!

Total – 31.2 miles

Week 6 – Week Beginning 2nd March

Mon – 1hr Power Yoga
Tue – Rest – attended Placebo gig in Aberdeen with fellow ex-teen angsters Rachel and Laura.
Wed – 6.2 miles easy on the D33 route
Thur – 4.2 mile easy PM, 7.5 mile hilly trail club session
Fri – Rest
Sat – 13.2 mile long slow run with Saturday gang
Sun – Rest

Total – 30.3 miles

Week 7 – Week Beginning 9th March

Mon – Unscheduled Rest. Caught a case of the Mondays
Tue – Rest
Wed – 4.1 miles ‘easy’ battling gales
Thur – Club session
Fri – Rest
Sat – 33 mile RACE!
Sun – 5 mile recovery toddle with our house guests Jemma and Iona.

Total – 50ish miles.


D33 Ultramarathon 2015 Preview!

d33 ultra logo
This will be my fourth time at the D33, after having my first taste of ultra-distance racing in 2012 (5hr 56m). A big PB followed in 2013 (5hr 26m – the year of the awful weather) and a further sliver of a PB followed again in 2014 (5hr 25m). Last year I maybe started a bit too quickly or ambitiously;  I started to feel really sick after about 8 miles and then just couldn’t maintain my goal pace. I still finished strongly, but my splits were all over the place which was in direct contrast to the metronomic effort of 2012. This year I don’t feel as though I’m as fit as last year so I’ve been heavily debating what to set out to achieve on Saturday. I could just run it by feel and get a good long run in, I could deliberately run a slow run/walk race for maximum time on feet, or I could pick a goal time or pace to achieve. I’m not really interested in the first two options – races are for racing after all, so I need to decide on a sensible time to aim for. Last year I went out at 9 minute miles in order to try and achieve around a 5 hour finishing time, but that didn’t quite work. I’m not confident that I’m capable of maintaining that pace for 33 miles currently, so I am going to start at 9:30 minute miles with a view of achieving around a 5hr 10 minute finishing time. If all goes well I will be able to be quicker in the final down hill miles and execute my usual strong finish for a solid PB.

For once, the weather actually looks perfect. Dry, thick cloud, a light breeze and temperatures between 3 and 5 degrees. Weather can be so changeable at this time of year so it is hard to dress for a long run – in 2012 and 2014 I wore far too much and as the day went on I struggled to be comfortable in the ‘heat’. Layers will be key as usual, so I will be looking out a flexible outfit – long socks, arm-warmers, gloves, buff, etc.

Like last year I am going to fuel it just like a marathon with a gel every 5 miles, but with a snack at half way of hula hoops and a flap jack. I won’t wear a rucksack and will rely on bottles in my drop bags to drink from with a mix of Powerade and water in them, and will keep my gels in a waist pouch. Pre-race dinner will be a lovely serving of tortellini and garlic bread, with some cake for good measure. Breakfast will be peanut butter porridge with a banana, and cereal bar.

The D33 Ultra is also the first race in the Stonehaven Running Club Championship series, so for the 29 of us signed up we will be ‘battling’ it out for the best allocation of Championship points. The first home of each gender gets 21 points, with second getting 19, third getting 18…and so on. As well as my local pals I’m looking forward to seeing the Scottish Ultra Marathon Series crowd and all the associated banter which comes with it. Kynon and I will have a full house as Iona, Jemma and her fiance will be staying with us on Friday and Saturday so it is shaping up to be a very social weekend indeed!

So; safe travels and good luck to everyone traveling up to Aberdeen or Stonehaven for the D33 this weekend, especially if it’s your first ultramarathon. It’s a super race and can lead to some incredible things if you want it to. I’ll be posting my race report as soon as I can after the race, so do leave a comment and let me know how you get on!


  1. Hi Rhona, I am travelling from Edinburgh tomorrow for my first ever ultra- the D33. I have read your previous race reports, and found them so helpful in my preparations. One’s first ultra, like the first marathon, is just so much of an unknown, and I know that on Saturday I will need to be prepared for the unexpected. But having had such useful information from your blog has really helped me to plan my race strategy/drop bags etc. Now all I need is that local info about where to sneak off for a quick wee! Thank you so much and I hope you have a great race on Saturday.

  2. Good luck girls! I hope your strategy pays off, if you dont mind me asking why did you change your fueling strategy?

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