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How I actually trained for the Bob Graham Round...

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

The days are clocking up since I got back into Keswick and bagged myself a place in the Bob Graham Club and I'm still enjoying the afterglow of a good job done! I wrote a blog on my BG experience the very next day, and just a couple of days after that my body felt quite good. I've been soaking up the congratulations from friends and family, and have of course had the headspace to reflect on the day itself, as well as what went into making it happen. I thought it'd be good to do a follow up blog to my 'How (I intend) to train for the Bob Graham Round' to let you know how it actually went on the run up...

Feeling good, and inspired...Finishing my last training run (not long before getting Covid!)

The Training in Numbers

On the lead up to the BG I was publishing my monthly training stats, almost simply for the purpose that I could have a visual on the time and effort that went into make the dream come true. Well, here are the totals:

December 1st - 8th April 2022

Running - Trail, Fell, Road and Pram running: 682km - 113 Hours

Hiking: 342km - 163 Hours

Workouts (Circuits or Home Workouts): 36 Sessions - 30 Hours

Cycling - Indoor and Outdoors: 144km - 9 Hours

Combined Ascent - 39,392m

Combined Hours - 315

As you can see from the above, I certainly got out and about! Back in December I said I had three weaknesses to address in my training. These were:

  1. Mileage - Thanks to a fairly dry January I managed to get a big chunk of running in. As winter kicked in work dominated a bit more, but hiking around with my winter work pack on was excellent training.

  2. Ascent Total - I didn't do too many runs with epic amounts of ascent (2000m+), but again, the weekly average was generally pretty good, and thanks to work, mostly above the 3000m a week that is recommended to be accrued when heading for a Bob Graham Round. I think getting almost 5 Everest's in over the course of 5 months was reasonable given my lack of ascent in the year leading up to this.

  3. Mental Game - This grew and grew as I transformed back into a runner. The biggest confidence boost was my final training run which was a 50km, 3,300m shift with James on his final Wainwright legs - all wearing a big pack.

I found I made the biggest improvements once I managed to run consistently, this was key. For various reasons, I didn't actually get many huge runs in, and certainly not the 60km+ runs I'd said I would in the preparation blog. Most of my runs were in the 20-35km range, but I was doing my best to run 3-4 times a week whatever the distance. In order to keep it interesting this was a mix of long, slow runs, and short fast sessions. These short sessions were great at bumping up my V02 Max.

I think I owe a lot to the hiking I was able to do. I know I'm super lucky to also call this work, but all this time out in big boots with a pack on really shouldn't be underestimated. A couple of times I didn't give it the credit it was due with regards to the impact it had on my body and probably overloaded a bit too much in a week and paid the price the following week.

This was the biggest frustration with my training - the inability to match two good weeks. It seems like I could put the hammer down one week, but then the next I'd struggle to do the same. It became a balancing act, but as my body adapted and became better at soaking up the training it did improve. This is one of the hardest things about focused training, you sometimes just don't quite know how well the body will react to or absorb training, and you don't know what other things life will throw at you to derail things. Just take solace in the fact it happens to everyone and it's all part of the journey!

I was pleased that I managed to carry on my workouts for a good portion of the training. Even though these did thin out a bit as I got closer to the BG, I do believe that 2+ years of workouts went a very long way to making my body stronger and more resilient. The lack of injury before, during or after the round, plus the fairly fast recovery, are all testament to this I believe. In short, these workouts consisted of lots of weighted leg work and core stabilisation exercises such as planks.

When I set the date for my BG (which was 1-2 months sooner than I thought it'd be back in December) I must admit, I did think I may have been a bit 'undercooked' for it. My 50km run with James was a real confidence boost that maybe I wasn't, but I guess you never really know you're ready until you just get stuck in and have a go. As detailed in my completion blog, I did have the benefit of REALLY wanting to put this to bed. Willpower is an incredible thing, and in this instance it proved that even if your training hasn't been 5*, you can still succeed.

I hope this has been a useful quickfire insight into how I got myself ready for the BG. To summarise, the things I felt helped get me ready the most were consistent running, hiking with a pack and strength workouts.

More miles carrying Gibbo's shite... ;)

Watch a short film about my round, created by Jan Bella

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