Physio – stage 1

So, along with my new theories on my training (inc cross training etc), I am also visiting my incredible physiotherapist regularly, and actually doing what she tells me! She nursed me through the tendonitis that I had in my knee on the lead up to my Freedom Run.  She is absolutely amazing, very thorough, very understanding and extremely strong.

I went to see her yesterday. I was pummelled, poked, prodded and caused some unpleasant pain, but it was all worth it.  Being a typical runner, all my muscles are tight. I do stretch every time I run but probably not enough, and definitely not enough to run a few thousand miles without getting injured.  I have been given a set of exercises that I need to do everyday. I am not very good at sticking to things like this so I thought I’d write a quick blog to show everyone the exercises and also to encourage me do them.

Here they are:

Firstly, a bit of this. Contract muscles, raise leg, hold, lower down. X10 on each leg.


Similar to the last one but after raising leg, tilt ankle to the side, hold, return, then lower.314

Next, hold pillow (or ball) between ankles and squeeze for a few seconds. X10.


Then, same but between knees.

And then with knees bent.

I have been faffing with the photos for hours and I cant get them to stay where I want them so they may be floating around in irrelevant places.

Michelle Pennell is my physio. I highly recommend her to anyone, of any age, with any problem. Check her out here: or email her

Tips for the Support Team


That’s my shortened version, the longer version came from Colin Hill:

“They [the support team] should never ask how you [the athlete] are feeling, because then you start to think about the things that hurt. They should only ask what you need next.”

I met Colin Hill at Kendal Mountain Film Festival. Colin Hill, goes swimming in sub-zero temperatures and enjoys it. He looks happy and sounds happy and tries to persuade the rest of us that it is fun! (Not likely, I’m the opposite of a troll, I turn to stone and can’t move in the cold.) I digress. He swam the English Channel in 10 hours 30. He knows what he is talking about. Here’s his second tip:


(All photos were taken from Bored Panda’s website but I don’t know where they came from before that. There’s more where these came from if you follow the link. If I get done for photo stealing I shall ask Emma and Mike to reenact the shots. They probably would, you know.)

4×4 for Dummies: Introduction

Whilst Emma has been running about in the hills, I have been to meet a 4×4 specialist.

Graham Finch, at Ash Garage

I loved it. I love the smell of garages and learning new stuff. Our conversation largely went like this:

“You’ll be needing a ground anchor”
“A what?”
“A ground anchor.”

“You’ll need a CV joint.”
“What’s a CV joint?”

You get the gist. Happily, Graham, although initially confused by my lack of knowledge, managed to work out where to start: with warnings about what will kill; an equipment list and; a quick look at his medal cabinet. No point in having medals if you don’t get to show them to anyone, that’s my belief.

Things that will kill us and other advice

We will need a winch. But, after we have attached a wire winch to the car, we should take the wire cable off and replace it with a rope. If the rope snaps and hits you, it will hurt. If the wire cable snaps, it could kill you! If there is a knot in the wire cable, stop using it. That is where it will snap.

Don’t use the army technique for doing something I’ve gone and forgotten, as it’s too easy to get it wrong. But as I don’t want to do it, I think forgetting it, is simply being organizationally tidy in my head.

Don’t tie on to the back of another car with a kinetic rope at any point that might break off and ping back at you. The energy in the rope will whip it extra fast, possibly into your face (okay, he didn’t say that exactly but, he told a story where it narrowly missed someone’s face). In fact, to be on the safe side, don’t take a kinetic rope.

Keep your ropes free of mud and thorns.

In action
In action

And I learned how to wind a rope on a winch – I feel strangely chuffed about this knowledge. I have a practical and useful skill.

Kit list:

  • A CV joint
  • A recovery rope – bought from an off road place to make sure its strong enough
  • Lifting straps – (2 metre and 4/5 metre)
  • Winch Rope
  • Gloves (and don’t grip the winch rope, pinch it, else you could lose your hand or finger– is it just me or is there a theme emerging?)
  • Snatch block
  • Winch bumper with cow bar
  • GPS


After this, I got to look at photos of cars vertical on a slope, with one wheel on the ground and various other crazy positions. Graham, himself, was brilliant – friendly, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, patient and seemed pretty excited by the trip. What more could you want in a teacher?

If you know about 4x4s feel free to get in touch and give more advice.


So, it’s the end of my first month of training towards Africa. In some ways I feel I have achieved quite a lot and in other ways perhaps not so much.  January has been a quite hectic month for me generally.  I’ve had some long days at work which have meant missing out on training altogether.  I’ve also had lots of events going on which has meant I haven’t really been at home a lot and I have been trying to squeeze in training wherever I’veDSC_0017 travelled to.  On the plus side, this has given me the opportunity to run Snowdonia, the Cairngorms and London all in the past few weeks.

My training has changed over the past month in the way that I haven’t managed as many sessions per week but I have increased the distance I run per session. I’m going to look positively on this and say its a good thing, it wasn’t deliberate, but its good.  I haven’t managed to get any yoga sessions in yet which I’m a little disappointed about but I just haven’t found time yet.  I have got a couple of circuits classes in and I’ve also been doing core workouts with my climbing partner.  Overall I’m feeling fighting fit and ready to crank things up a notch in February.

January total miles: 91.7 miles

January longest run: 14 miles