Proper preparation

It’s a long time since I had a proper job but deep in the mists of time I recall a mantra at work along the lines of “proper preparation prevents poor performance” Or was it “proper planning ..”? Well all the planning and preparation in the world didn’t prevent a few calamitous work performances by yours truly but you can apply the mantra to running and it rings truer.

I’ve decided to liken my preparation for the Alloa Half Marathon to a military campaign which I’m going to fight on four fronts. Firstly and most importantly the running programme. Secondly diet. Thirdly exercises to strengthen muscles. And last but not least mental confidence.

So how is it going?

The running itself is great. No sign of the injury recurring. I feel comfortable and the programme I’m following is challenging but possible. It includes two long runs a week so as the distance builds it will be a challenge fitting the second long run into my weekly schedule. The Sunday morning long runs make me think I’m preparing for a marathon but I reassure my tired legs that it is only a half this time round.


Diet is okay but not prefect. Several scones, Aberdeen butteries and sweet desserts have crept past security but I’ve lost my Christmas weight and have not totally lost control. No alcohol until March!

I’ve fallen short on muscle training, stretching, fitness training and strength endurance. I need to build this up. It is not my favourite thing and I avoid gyms like the plague but I need to do more.

Lastly mental confidence. It is too early to pysche myself up for the actual race but I’m building confidence in my running. I’m very happy about that because it is not a natural strength. Each completed run is a step nearer achieving a good performance and hopefully a personal best on 15 March.


How to make a scone

Yes I will get back to running and possibly even squash soon but today I’m thinking about scones. Easy stuff I hear you say. Bung a few ingredients in a bowl; mix them up; put them on a tray and cook them. Bingo! It was precisely this chain of thought that saw me foolishly several weeks ago invite some folk to the house to sample my home-made scones. But let me tell you it is no easy matter. Firstly if you read the recipes – a pretty good place to start – you will get different measures and ingredients in each one. Some include tartar which I previously thought was stuff that gathered on your teeth or the type of sauce that you get with fish and chips. Some have eggs, others don’t. And so on. Secondly when you come to make them the consistency is always difficult and you end up altering the recipe to get the brutes to bind together. Thirdly when you cook them they don’t always rise as they should. Fourthly when you do overcome barriers 1-3 above you end up with scones that are grey inside. After my second failed attempt (the grey insides) I commissioned my dear wife to make a batch that were edible. Here is the photographic evidence.
It should be held in mitigation that I helped measure the ingredients and pour them into the bowl.

I grew up thinking I couldn’t make anything except a pig’s ear. That’s because my mother used to say : “You’ve made a real pig’s ear of that!” She used other expressions that I didn’t understand. “You’re making more noise than a baby elephant!” What does that mean to a child growing up in a north-east fishing village? And her favourite expression when I did something she didn’t appreciate : “That’s the height of stupidity!” Reply by me : “What’s the height of stupidity?” Mother : “Measure yourself and find out!” Yes my mother was a real encourager.

I still can’t make very much come to think of it. Certainly not scones! Fortunately there are plenty of people in the world who can make really great scones.