Red Wine Runner

A Scottish Running Blog

West Highland Way Race – 3 weeks to go

West Highland Way Race Countdown….
T minus 23 days!!

It seems that my series of weekly West Highland Way Race Training posts has come to a natural end, and now I find myself tapering as we creep towards June and the start of the latest edition of this race. I haven’t given a proper update for a little while for a couple of reasons, but mainly as the last couple of weeks of training have been somewhat disrupted.

stonehaven running club

After the Highland Fling I took a week off, apart from the customary ‘first club session after the race weekend’ where all of the people who had been racing at the weekend showed up in their shiny new race t-shirts. I hobbled around some trails for 6 miles to shake my legs out and decided some proper rest was in order. Not a problem, as my MSc Research Proposal was due in at the end of the week, so I had plenty of time sitting at a desk. Unfortunately after that weekend I was struck by a colossal bug that has been doing the rounds, and ended up totally losing my voice for three days with a horrid cough, chest infection and accompanying post-viral fatigue. After that run after the Fling on the 28th April it was another TWO WEEKS until I was able to do any exercise, and cautiously went out for a gentle jog on the 11th of May. My lungs hurt a lot and I was shattered after four miles.

The following weekend (16th-17th May) Kynon and I were marshalling at the Cateran Trail Ultramarathon, and whilst I had hoped to fit in one or two runs on the route I just accepted my body needed the rest and concentrated on having fun. Karen and her team have evolved the event to be an exciting and memorable part of the SUMS calendar, and an excellent alternative experience to the Fling at the 50 mile distance in Scotland.

cateran trail ultra 2015


The new  race base-camp, at Gulabin Lodge Outdoor Centre.

cateran trail ultra 2015


There was a lot of forestry work in Drimmy woods this year – when we were marking the course we tried to help bridge the mudbath for the runners!

cateran trail ultra 2015 cateran trail ultra 2015

Entertaining ourselves at our checkpoint, Den of Alyth at 25 miles. We definitely got the best one – sunk into a warm, sheltered, tree-lined vale and with a bonus play park!

cateran trail ultra 2015

By last week I was back up to speed (figuratively, if not literally!) and had a strong week of training culminating in a trip to Tyndrum for the West Highland Way Race training weekend. I ran North on the Saturday to Glencoe and back to Bridge of Orchy, to cover about 28.5 miles, and then on Sunday we drove to Kinlochleven so I could run from KLL to Fort William – a distance of 14 miles. It was a great back to back and a fitting end to my training.

whw training 3

west highland way training weekend

west highland way training weekend

west highland way training weekend

west highland way training weekend

west highland way training weekend west highland way training weekend west highland way training weekend west highland way training weekend west highland way training weekend

Unfortunately one mile from Lundavra on Sunday I took a bit of a tumble, and slipped on mud landing awkwardly. I cracked the inside of my right knee off a rock and twisted my ankle. I didn’t feel the twist at the time but by the time we got home I could barely put weight on it – less of an ideal end to my training then… I was a bit worried for a couple of days early in the week, but I don’t think I’ve injured anything and that it was just a wrench. I’ve been RICE-ing and treating it with Ibuprofen cream and now it’s just a little stiff.

So what’s next?

The next three weeks will be a careful exercise in maintaining my cardiovascular fitness but not doing heavy impact training. I had planned to do some Metafit sessions this week and next to give myself a change of gear, but I don’t think the plyometric movements will benefit the recovery of my ankle. I’ll also do some swimming and continue my weights until the last week; basically, anything to distract myself from the looming deadline as long as possible! There is also plenty of planning to be done for the weekend itself, including packing and instructions for my support crew. So, who are my support crew? Well they are certainly some familiar faces – I’ll be introducing Team RedWineRunner and more details of my race plans on the blog nearer the race itself.

For now I’m enjoying a little downtime after submitting my final coursework and before starting work on my MSc project. The weather has been poor so I’m bored and bouncing off the walls already. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come – I’m perfectly happy to taper whilst reading in the sun in the garden, but being cooped up in the house alone all day is working my last nerve! I’ll have lots of time to write some good posts in the next couple of weeks, so I’d like to invite you to ask any questions you have about the West Highland Way Race and my training if you have any, and I’ll try and address them in a post. Go ahead – ask me anything! There’s only so much I can to to make tapering and resting up sound exciting!

‘Til next time,


  1. Exciting times! 3 weeks to go!!
    What, if anything, is the best thing you’ve learnt on your journey to WHW race? And do you think once is enough? Ax

  2. Once is *never* enough!


  3. Hi RWR, What does your strength training normally look like and has it changed in training for this event? -J

  4. Hello RWR, what are you looking forward to the most about the race (other than finishing!) and what is the scariest bit?

    Also, I know nothing about ultra running apart from what I read on this blog but I know that this race is A Big Deal and very popular – what is it about it that makes it special?

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