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admin23/03/2010 15:48:58

Compston CornerAmbleside Cumbria LA22 9DS

Going the distance…

   Words by tcsh

   on 03/05/2012 10:07:24

Not only is rock climbing season under way, running is too. Fresh (well almost) back from his Hoka Highland Fling race in Scotland last weekend,  Nick our shop manager took a little time out to answer a few questions about his running.
The Hoka Highland Fling encounters the Southern half of the West Highland Way, from Milngavie to Tyndrum. In all, it’s 53 miles (53 miles too long for me). This is a massive growing event and is expected to be the most popular UK Ultra marathon this year. Take a look at their website for more information: Hoka Highland Fling Race

Nick Completing the CCC (Cormayeur-Champex-Chamonix) ultra distance race last year

Ultra distance running is not something Nick has been doing for a long time, you could say that his achievement's are pretty remarkable as well as inspiring, especially to us here at The Climbers Shop.

Here’s what Nick has to say…

The Climbers Shop: How did you find the Highland Fling compared to the Montane Lakeland 50

you have previously completed?

Nick: Although, similar in distance, the fling has less height gain and the hills are smaller than the 50, this meant more of the course was runnable, making it feel harder as there was less walking breaks on the climbs!
Great event though, very well organised and supported.

TCS: Describe your typical training regime leading up to such big races.

Nick: Mainly long days out on the fells (5-10 hours walking/running) every week/fortnight and one or two evening runs in the week (a mix of trail/fell, short/medium distances).
Tapering off the training for a fortnight before also helps.

TCS: What is your approach to nutrition for long running events?

Nick: Little and often. Small amounts every 20 minutes or so. Gels and anything else you can digest easily. I tend to carry all my own food, you can waste a lot of time at checkpoints eating etc.
Also keep hydrated even when you’re not thirsty. Use Zero tabs or Elete water for electrolytes.

TCS: What are your 5 most essential bits of gear you use on ultras?


  1. Hoka Shoes – Stinson B Evos – Awesome cushioning and underfoot protection
  2. Injinji Performance Midweight Socks – Anything to reduce the chance of blisters
  3. Compression for Quad – Really helps minimise muscle damage on descents
  4. Zero tabs/Elete Water – These help keep you hydrated better than plain water
  5. X-Bionic Fennec Run Shirt – Awesome in hot weather. Keeps you cool and comfortable

TCS: Do you have any secrets to a quick recovery from races:

Nick: Not really, just rest to let the stiffness disappear. You can try cold baths (horrible!) and compression,
but I tend to just take it easy until i,m ready to run again.

TCS: What mental tips, if any, do you give yourself when motivation is down, in order to complete a race?

Nick: Try to stay focused and positive, also be pro-active in sorting out problems like blisters etc..
Also look at someone else and tell yourself that they are hurting more than you are!

TCS: What else is lined up in your running calendar this year?

Nick: A weeks training in the Alps in June and then the Montane Lakeland 100 in July.

TCS: What advice would you give a complete beginner wanting to have a go at ultra distance events?

Nick: Go for it! Build up slowly to spending lots of time on your feet on similar terrain to your race.
Train up to 50-60% of the distance – you can always do more on the day.

Come to the shop and get some advice!


Thanks very much for that Nick – we hope this inspires more people to get out and give running (not necessarily ultra distance!) a go. And we hope Nick has passed on a few decent tips to you all!!

We will make sure to keep you informed about Nick’s future races!

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