Six Simple Lessons from 3 months running 10kms

Any idiot can run

Six simple lessons…

  1. Find Purpose. Write down and share your goals
  2. Never underestimate the power of extreme weather!
  3. Never eat a packet of chocolate covered hobnobs the night before a run
  4. Listen to your body – Man Flu is a real thing!
  5. Wear the right shoes, always tie up your laces (and your shorts)
  6. Stretch, dig deep, and push yourself and the hard work pays off


  1. Find Purpose. Write down and share goals

At the start of my journey I shared research suggesting writing down and sharing goals helps you achieve significantly more. In my experience a large part of this is the ‘oh crap, now I actually have to go through with this thing”, but what I have also found is that once you have shared your goals you will be surprised with the number of people that find a number of ways to go out of their way to support you. That’s both humbling and motivating.

My main motivation is driven from my experiences in the Gambia. Some inspiring experiences of the hard work and enterprising efforts to triumph over adversity, and others of feeling helpless to improve the otherwise dire circumstances of poverty and death.

Afruitica Development kabakama garden

I have personal motivation to use running as my ‘vehicle’ for change, with a desire to get fit, healthy, and focused.  How can I battle for health and nutrition of others, and not make the upmost of that which I have been fortunately blessed with. Health is slowly becoming a passion.


  1. Never underestimate the power of extreme weather!

So far I have run in the most beautiful rain storms, hail storms, snow blizzards, and gail force winds. Despite perhaps the grueling wind as I found in Southend (I have learnt the benefit of trying to plan a little better and run ‘with’ the wind where possible), However, I wouldn’t take back my other experiences with extreme weather.

Motivating yourself to leave the comfort of your home to run in the rain can be a miserable prospect, but equip with the right mindset it can also be exhilarating! I still remember vividly leaving work after a day in the office to be hit by nasty cold winds and a dramatic hail storm. My first thought was this is miserable and I stopped to give up. Then I reflected on my day in the office, and picked up my heels (and my head) and sailed forward into this wall of white ice and hail and as the adrenaline pumped through my body I had an ecstatic feeling of “Wow, this is really living. This is Life” and I smashed out a seasons best time, whilst feeling alive!


Oh and I have been challenged to a 35km town-to-town race in The Gambia in May, in 35-45 degree heat. I think I still might have something to add to this one later in the year!


  1. Never eat a packet of chocolate covered hobnobs before a run

My Southend run appears to have taught me quite a few lessons. None more so than the increased importance of diet when running. The packet of chocolate covered hobnobs the night before my early morning sunrise run was a big mistake, and there could have been worse consequences than the 3km stomach cramp, if it was not for the local councils investment in a public toilet port-aloo on the sea front. God Bless you the people of Southend!

More seriously, I have found far less appetite for unhealthy foods. No appeal for take away burgers of southern fried chicken. Instead I have taken to drinking chocolate milk (within 30 minutes of a run) to help my bodies absorption of protein, further helping recovery. I also have my own Super-smoothies, which will play a much larger role over the next 9 months.

A single 10km run can take up to 1000 calories, so I am also cautious to replenish this in ways that will not be detrimental to all the hard work put into the run, or make my next run any more difficult than it could be (I now find myself eating great quantities of fruit, timing my consumption of high energy foods, and snacking on nuts and dried fruit – can you believe it!)


  1. Listen to your body – Man Flu is serious!

I recently advised a colleague to listen to their body above any plan, and shortly after this advice, just as I was feeling the pressure to get back out onto the road after 6 days absence from running), to tick off another 10km,I was struck with Man Flu. Dom Dom Doooom!

If I am honest, I almost went out for a run anyway, because it was a part of my ‘plan’, but I am glad I didn’t. I have held off and I hope to recover more quickly. There have been plenty of other times where I have found the benefit of either running when my body craves it, or holding off when things are feeling tight. Getting the balance right is an art, and one I am still an apprentice to.


  1. Wear the right shoes, always tie up your laces (and your shorts)

My first school boy error on run #1 new years day with my buddy Terry, was not having the right trainers (in fact they were not running shoes at all), which left me hobbling for a week. Not tying my laces properly during the Alloa Half marathon meant that they were annoyingly distracting and less traction meant less effectiveness for all the effort I was putting in, as well as increasing the risk of blisters!

Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail – lessons that should never be forgotten

Not tying my shorts properly before my snow storm run among the Glencoe mountains, meant that my numb hands could not tie them properly throughout and I had to keep doing a funny jig to keep them up. Sometimes you have more important things to concentrate on, such as the stunning scenery, trying to spot the legend of the lynx, or just keeping alive in the snow, rather than keeping your pants up!

Besides these small details, running is a minimalistic sport, and you do not NEED all the expensive clobber. Saying that, I still might be persuaded to invest in a new pair of trainers, if I can take on the hassle of ‘wearing them in’ mid challenge.


  1. Stretch, dig deep, and push yourself and the hard work pays off

Finally, I have covered it in my blogs and no more so than “Re-Learning to Dig Deep” . No Pain, no gain. No guts, no glory.

From the start of the year I have set myself 4 goals, and I am going to have to keep stretching myself in order to achieve them.

  1. Complete 100 x 10km Runs (27 done, on track!)
  2. Complete a 5km run in under 20 mins (Best: 20:02, close!)
  3. Complete an official 10km run in under 40mins (Best: 40:29, close!)
  4. Complete an official Marathon in under 3 hours (Nowhere near!)

Good news is that I am on track for the first 3, although there is still a long way to go to achieve 100 x 10kms. However, the longest distance I have run this year is 25km, so a 42km marathon is still a little far off. Running a marathon in under 3 hours means running 4:11 per km consistently for 42 kms… yes that’s 4 minutes, eleven x 42!!

I didn’t run that for the 21km Alloa Half (averaged 4:26 a km), and I rarely run that for a 10km so I have a lot more to do on that one!


Here’s My 3 Month Stats:

Total Distance:  320+ km / 200 Miles

Total 10km’s:  26 x 10km

Total Runs:  23

Half Marathons:  3

Fastest 5km: 20:02

Fastest 10km:  40:29

Longest Run: 25km

Locations: Glasgow, Edinburgh, Alloa, Glencoe, Balmaha, Milngavie, Dunstable, London, Manchester, Southend, Belfast.


And finally, my overall target… to raise £2,000 for community development through health and nutrition in rural Gambia. I will need to pick up the fundraising, but through your kind support have raised £650 so far on


Please keep the donations coming, it means a great deal.

A huge thank you to you all!


Paul 🙂


Six Week Summary & Thank You!

6 Week Summary Running 10km Runs

Six Week Summary (2016)

Total Runs:    11

Total Distance:    150km

January:    105.98km

February (so far):    45km


Furthest Week:    45.17km

My fastest 1k:   4:00 mins

My fastest 5k:   20.59

My fastest 10k:   43:30

You can see a TOTAL Summary on my Results Page

“I’ve learnt its what you do with the miles, rather than how many you have run”

Charity up and Running

So 6 weeks have past since I kicked off this mad challenge. Since my last running blog I have been caught up in getting the charitable side of things set up and securing a partnership with the charity Concern Universal. For all those beautiful kind people out there you can now sponsor me at

So to catch up… 3 more runs completed.

Firstly I managed to squeeze in a lunchtime run on a trip to Manchester. I ran around the city, along the river, across bridges, past the cathedral and through the high street shops a little like a headless chicken; weaving my way around not really knowing where I was heading, only to just keep on moving.

Distance: 10km

Time:  43:14

Location: Manchester City

Secondly Isatou joined me in support, with her own efforts to get into running, with a 5km run completing a couple of laps of Alexandra park, and I pushed on to complete a further 5km to make up 10k.

Distance: 10km

Time:  55:09

Location: Glasgow: Alexandra Park

Joint Run

Thirdly, I hit the streets for a night run, and looped Glasgow City Centre. This was the first run of the year where I really felt like I was forcing it. Perhaps its just my energy being low with work, travel and running, but I think I will have to carb up before the next run! I have also got into taking Chocolate Milk after a run, and I might soon be tempted to try a Beetroot Juice before running – does anyone know any other tricks? I think I will need them.

Distance: 10km

Time:  46:00

Location: Glasgow City Loop


truly struck by the kindness and generosity of others

As with blogging, and fundraising in general, I always find it a little difficult to put my voice out there and inconvenience people with the request to donate, but I am always truly struck by the kindness and generosity of others. A big thanks for those that have run with me, promoted me online, or motivated me through conversation. Those that have donated, and those that are planning to donate, a big, BIG thank you. Not only have you given something to my project and the Gambian people and the communities I will work with, but you have given me something very beautiful also.

It certainly makes all the running worthwhile.

Until next time, Thank you!

Paul 🙂
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