• Paul

Dragons Back Race 2021 - 60 days on.

Two months have passed since I ' toe'd the line' on the 2021 Montane Dragons Back race.

I thought I might update how the past 60 days have gone if only to remind myself what to do and not to do once the 22 event is over.

It's fair to say that on returning from the event I was not a happy chappy. Disappointed, annoyed, upset and dissolutioned with the whole thing. Also I hurt alot. My quads took the worst of the physical damage closely followed by my feet.

On leaving the event on the morning of day 3 I could barely climb into the taxi and certainly couldn't climb the railway bridge at Machynlleth to get to platform 2! I elected to use the lift.

At Machynlleth waiting to catch the train.

My feet looked fine, no blisters, no hot spots nothing. Over the next few days they really started to hurt. Mainly the ends of my toes and toe joints. Clearly my shoes were too small and I'd sustained impact injury from the descents over the previous 2 days.

2 weeks post DBR

The 2 weeks after the event in hindsight I did something that at least for me was plain idiotic. I was physically not in great shape but still I managed to run again on September 10th. 4 miles.. 4 whole miles! I ran again on the 12th September. 11 miles and this one really hurt.

11 miles of pain!

Left hip really aching, knee clicking and feet not great. By mile 7 I should have stopped but no I kept on running.

Over the next 10 days I ran 34 miles, by September 20th I'd covered 49 miles. Pathetic by pre DBR standards were I'd averaged 45 miles per week.

I'd also started to go to the gym. My post event thoughts went along the line of;

' too much running not enough strength work'.

Solution: Join the gym and work the legs. Possibly not the most brilliant idea. I immediately started using a stair stepper, all the leg weight machines, box jumps, lunges. You name it I was now doing it! Yes!...

I've also started parkrunning again , running approx 19/20 mins and had reintroduced intervals into my weekly cycle.

This should get me fit again...

Or maybe not!

Definitely a pattern here. DNF'd a major event and maybe trying to get some sort of order back, run myself fit and pretend I was perfectly ok. Needless to say it just caused massive overload on an already broken body.

Long story short here's my training log since DBR to mid October:

This pattern continues until the end of October , by that point I'm no longer capable of long runs , 10k is agony. A deep pain in my hip, buttock and hamstring that develops after about 3 miles.

I decided to talk to my trusted sports therapist.

Various suggestions, sheets of stretches/exercises I should do. Then a video. A simple message concerning Load, capacity and training intensity.

I realise or at least wake up to a simple fact, I overloaded on DBR , I'm still overloading , I haven't allowed any recovery and now I'm in danger of a real lasting injury.

The last 10 days of October my mileage drops dramatically and I go into a walk, run routine. Trying to do 10k per session without feeling any pain. This goes well, after 5 days I'm back to completing 10k in about 1 hour running 80% of each mile.

Then we get to Halloween weekend. Fran and I have planned to go to Wales for some DBR recce's of day 3 . Based out of Dolgellau, the rough plan is to follow DBR day 3 route out of the town, up Cadair and off along the route to Abergynolwyn. Next day across the Tarren hills to Machynlleth.

Planned day 3 route

The weather changes our plans, we managed to get to 680m before the wind blows Fran off her feet. Wind chill making it feel about -2.

On the way down from Cadair.

We make about 2220ft elevation and have a great run back down along trods that have turned into streams. Great fun, the part you always see on promotional videos for various races.

Cadair Idris shrouded in cloud

On the slopes below Cadair

The rest of the day we go for a run to a pub on the toll Bridge and watch the sheet rain then run back.

Strangely my hip/leg pain appears to have cleared up, I manage a steady 10 miles when we get home at the start on November.

That pretty much brings my post DBR 'recovery' up to date.

So things to do and not to do post 2022:

List of things not to do..

  1. Don't go running in the first days after returning!

  2. Don't rush into any hasty decisions.

  3. Don't listen to the nonsense that some people decide enlighten you with regarding your race.


  1. Take time to heal.

  2. Reflect on whatever happens on the event.

  3. Make a sensible recovery plan after a couple of weeks proper rest.

  4. Talk to people in the know who have been on the event or similar. It makes you feel better!

Read Part 1 The race report here:

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