Training Archives

The Ambion Way

Ambion WayMy sister invited me to see her new house last Bank Holiday weekend and, as she lives around 45 minutes drive away from me, I saw it as an opportunity to try a walk in a different area. I haven’t done much walking in the gently rolling arable farmland of South Leicestershire so I printed off a leaflet for a circular walk I had downloaded some time ago and set out to complete it.

The Ambion Way is a 9 ½ mile circuit devised by Leicestershire County Council which begins and ends at Bosworth Battlefield visitors centre near Sutton Cheney. Driving towards the Battlefield I found a delightful little car park a few fields away from the visitors centre and decided to leave the car here rather than pay to use the official car park. This decision was to prove quite costly…

I happily left the car, and crossed the fields to the visitors centre using part of the Leicestershire Round long distance path. The Battlefield is famous for King Richard 111’s last stand against Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth in August 1485. King Richard was the last English king to die in battle; the battle that ended the Wars of the Roses and ushered in the Tudor dynasty. The traditional site of the battle was Ambion Hill, after which my walk was named. However, recent archaeological excavations have now placed the likely battle site on private agricultural land a mile away. So technically the visitors centre is in the wrong place- but it is well worth a visit if you would like to know more about this turbulent period in England’s history.

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Break inAs endurance adventurers who clock up miles and hours of time on our feet, we can have a tendency to get a bit fed up of the same old local routes and get the urge to mix it up a bit by going further afield. As this often involves getting out into the countryside, using the car is often a necessity, along with a suitable spot to dump it for a few hours.

If you are anything like me you sometimes baulk at paying for the privilege of parking your car and leaving it while you go for a walk or run… some of these country car parks seem to be getting more and more expensive- yes I know they have to pay for the upkeep of the area but paying £5 or more for a few hours parking all adds up.

So if I can save a bit of change I will.

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Businessman on Start Line of Running TractOne of the questions I am asked quite a lot is ‘how do you find the time to train?’ This is always going to be a problem for us endurance types, as whereas the casual jogger can get by on a couple of short 5k runs a week, the kind of events we do tend to demand that we run or walk for hours and hours in preparation.

In fact it can put some people off endurance events altogether, but that’s a real shame. Look- I get it. Just when do you find the time to train when you have a full time job, a couple of kids and a spouse who doesn’t share your endurance interests and demands that you spend time with them (I mean, just how unreasonable can you get!?)

I understand. Ok I may not have the spouse and kids, but I have the full time job plus two very demanding and attention seeking kitties.

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Just about recovered…

I think I am just about recovered from my failed attempt at the Millennium Ultra. I think I picked up some kind of a virus last week as I felt headachey, achey and really really tired, unless it was just the after effects of the event and my general unfitness and rubbishness.

Ah well. Onwards and upwards as they say… Been getting back on the horse this week with a little running, a walk in the lovely evening sunshine tonight and a gym session planned for tomorrow.

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A Grantham Canal Odyssey

Grantham CanalOn Saturday I walked out of my house, stepped onto the canal and followed it to its end in Grantham 32 miles away. I have done this walk once, years ago, and have always wanted to do it again, so with the Millennium Ultra coming up I decided to have a little adventure.

The Grantham Canal meanders for 33 miles from Grantham through the Vale of Belvoir to join the River Trent at Nottingham. It was opened in 1797 to enable coal and other materials to be delivered from Nottingham to Grantham, but during the 19th century it faced stiff competition from the new railways that were able to deliver goods much faster. Eventually the canal fell into disuse and is no longer navigable as many of the locks are derelict and bridges have been lowered.

It runs straight past my house and is the first thing I see when I look out the window in the morning. I have watched the swans and coots raise their babies on it  and have used it for many a training run, so I have a special affection for this canal. I had decided to start the walk from my house rather than try to get to the beginning a mile further back, and after filling my flask I set off into the pre-dawn darkness.

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A Walk around Worksop and Retford

IMG_1433As part of my training for the Millennium Way Challenge I needed to complete a fairly long walk on Sunday, particularly as I missed a week’s worth of training due to illness.

I dug out my copy of John Merrill’s Long Walks in Nottinghamshire with the intention of picking a walk in an unfamiliar area so it would be an adventure as well. I decided on a 23 mile route along the canal from Worksop to Retford and back along fields and through the woodland of Clumber Park.

I started my walk at the village of Bothamsall part way along the route as this was easiest for me, and set off along fields and tracks towards Clumber Park, an ancient tree lined mound of what was once a Motte and Bailey standing proud against the skyline behind me.

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Can Going to the Gym Help Build Endurance Fitness?

endurance adventuresWhat does the gym mean to you? The very word ‘gym’ seems to instantly divide people into two camps- the regular gym bunnies who can’t live without their several times a week work out and the gym-o-phobes who have a panic attack at the thoughts of setting foot inside a gym (or was that just my sister?)

Ok maybe there’s a third camp… the people who pay upfront for a gym membership, go a few times and then never darken the door again, but are reluctant to actually cancel their membership as they could no longer kid themselves that they will ‘definitely start going again next week’.

So, can going to the gym actually help you in your quest for endurance fitness? Does it have a place alongside the hours of running and walking we have to put in?


I think it does.

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Lost in Sherwood Forest…

Sherwood ForestIt was getting dark. I was having trouble seeing the faint sliver of path as I fumbled my way along it, overshadowed by the tall pines of the forest. I could just make out the silhouettes of the trees surrounding me, black against the dark inky blue of the sky, the slightest sliver of daylight still visible on the horizon.

Soon, very soon, it would be gone and I would have real difficulty finding my way. I stomped along the track as fast as my aching muscles would allow, hoping that this was finally the path that would lead to where I had parked my car, several hours before.

If it didn’t, I was hopelessly lost.

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Stuck in a Training Rut? Read This…

WhattonI had a little revelation the other day. There I was, happily minding my own business, then wham- into my head it popped.

The revelation? I was in a rut. Sure, I was getting out there walking and stuff, but I was suddenly uncomfortably aware that I was just doing the same few routes all the time. All of them started from my house, and I had gotten into the habit of doing them because they were basically safe and didn’t require any thought or effort beyond the physicality of walking and running.

I knew just what to expect- no surprises, no uncertainty, and no I-wonder-if-there’s-a-herd-of-curious-cows-in-the-next-field.

And… it was boring.

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