One foot in front of the other for my first ultra marathon, The Cortina Trail

The trail - Cortina Trail 47km through the Italian Dolomites

Elevation - 2400m above sea level

Date - 24th of June

The goal - To finish and to be fit enough to have fun and enjoy it

When George, Tim and I started FATRUN London...yes I enjoyed running but only really while I was chasing a rugby ball around a pitch. If I'm honest I was never interested in running, especially street running; I found it boring, repetitive and uninspiring

However, when we began to cultivate a community and some of you came to our wednesday evening run clubs my mentality changed. It was not just a jog around the city streets anymore, it was a chance to meet new people, to catch up with good friends and let off some steam after the working day. 

Our run and brunch event brought together my love of cooking and eating with a great group of people and a relaxed mentality to running. I was hooked and we enjoyed a fantastic summer of pop up run clubs. 

(I'm now (just about) beginning to understand what Finlay Wild (six time Ben Nevis race winner) meant when he said ‘if you are running regularly, it is not a chore to start running and it is not physically hard to go out and run, it is relaxing.')

In August I took on the three peaks challenge with three other fantastic friends and it was an experience I will never forget. Certainly climbing Snowdon with less than 3 hours to go in order to complete the challenge in under 24 hours was the most tired and nervous I have ever been in my life. In the end we made it up and back with 15 minutes to spare and it was the furthest distance I had ever tackled on foot. 

The following month, I went over to the Swiss Alps for the North Face mountain festival and this peaked my interest for seeking out trails and running off road; discovering again how exciting it was to run in the mountains. 

In October, I jumped in with a crew seeking out 20 miles across dartmoor with a 20kg weighted pack. A sort of jog / walk / run during different segments of the challenge. It was an awesome experience again being hit with varied terrain underfoot and encapsulated by the crew I set out with and our conversations during a long day on the trail.

All these experiences stoked my hunger for finding time to get outside and out of London in order to challenge myself.  And, just last week I registered for one of Europe's biggest mountain trail races, the Cortina trail. It will be a tough and nerve racking 6 months preparing for the unknown, however it has provided me with a training goal for 2017 and everyday I am thinking about viewing that fantastic landscape as I stride out, meeting other like minded people and delving deeper into the trail running community.

If you'd like to chat about any of these events, or are thinking about giving anything similar a go, give me a shout at the next run club. Hopefully this shows that anyone can go from not enjoying running to their first ultra in no time, and I would encourage everyone to give it a go!

November Newsletter - FATRUN LDN


With Christmas approaching, this month's newsletter includes details of our FATRUN LDN Christmas Drinks, as well as our Christmas gift list. We also bring you our recommended travel destinations for spring next year, our workout of the month and two of our favourite spring running events for you to sign up to.

For further news & event updates, connect with us on Instagram & Facebook and we hope to see you on the 8th for some celebratory drinks.

George, Matt & Tim



Since starting in June, we've met over 200 people at various FATRUN LDN events, from Yoga for Runners to Autumn Night Trails, and from our Regents Park Run Club to our monthly Run & Brunch. 

To celebrate, we're delighted to invite anyone who has attended one of our events in 2016 to our FATRUN LDN Xmas Drinks @ our HQ, The Old Dairy Cafe in Fitzrovia on Thurs 8th December.

- £5 all drinks included (cash on arrival or pre-paid via eventbrite)

For more information, check out the Facebook event here.


For those of you who do your Christmas shopping before Christmas eve, here is a list of gifts that we'd recommend giving to any running obsessed friends or family members...


1) InjiInji Snow Midweight OTC Running Socks - $30

2) Iffley Road Training Log - £18

3) Swim, Bike Run: Our Triathlon Story by the Brownlee brothers - £6.29


4) Iffley Road Thorpe Granite Long Sleeved - £120


5) Sweaty Betty Thermal Earwarmer - £18


Madeira has an under-rated trail running scene, and being on the same latitude as Morocco it's also a super place to train over the winter months. Even better is that flights out there are cheap at under £120 return with EasyJet...and you can get an Airbnb for around £20 per person per night.

No brainer.

Trail Running Info - Madeira Island Ultra Trail


With the off-season upon us, now's the time to focus less on Personal Best times and more on preparing your body for a long 2017 season. Here is this month's workout, our #2 whole body 30 min muscle endurance workout, which you can do at home or in the gym. The workout focuses on building endurance in muscle groups we use when running - hamstrings, glutes & quads - while also works on abdominal strength and some upper body exercise.

NB. if you're unsure how to perform each exercise, just head over the YouTube.

Kettle Bell Swings - 3 sets of 12 repetitions

Bodyweight Press Up Matrix - 3 sets of 12 repetitions including 4 close, 4 normal and 4 wide press (if you can't do this, rest your knees on the ground)

Glute Medius Isometric Hold - 3 sets of 30 secs on each leg

Split lunge with rear foot elevated on a bench - 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each leg (this is great for building quad strength and knee stability for those downhills)

Reverse Plank - 4 sets of 30-45 secs


The mince pies will be out soon and the last thing on your agenda will be signing up for a running event in March or April. So...we highly recommend getting signed up to your spring event now before gluttony takes hold.

If you're looking for a spring half marathon in London, the Vitality North London Half fits the bill. Guaranteed to be well organised, use this race as a good first step into half marathons or as a training run ahead of the London Marathon just over a month later. If you're looking for PBs, although the official race route hasn't been published, the course is likely to be very flat.

If longer distances are your thing, and (like most people) you didn't get into the London Marathon, the Edinburgh Marathon on 28th May could be perfect. Sign up with a few mates and finish the race just in time for a Sunday lunch.

Vitality North London Half
Edinburgh Marathon

Tips for your first ultra marathon in 2017

Race to the Stones: A well-organised, entry level ultra.

Race to the Stones: A well-organised, entry level ultra.

If you’re planning on taking on our first ultra in 2017,  I’m guessing you’ve probably spend a little bit of time looking at the different races available, read a few articles on how to prepare for these events, and probably joined the Ultrarunning Community Facebook group.


Without going into too much detail, here are a few things you should have on your radar as you prepare for your first ultra. Take these as a lead into the literature:


1)   Race nutrition. In ultra running, it’s vital to replace calories you burn during the race. This is different to a half marathon, and even a marathon, where you can get through without eating much at all(ie you have enough energy stored in your body as glycogen & fat).

How much should I eat?

A general rule of thumb that I've been recommended by a physiologist who specialises in supporting endurance athletes is to take in 250 calories per hour – I’m no nutritionist and this will depend on your body type, but this is a good starting point and seems to work for a lot of people. A lot of people I've spoken to about this will have less, or eat when they're's a case of see what works for you.

What should I eat?

Without trying to be boring, this comes down to what works for you. Some people will have a Peanut Butter Clif bar every hour and can go for 12 hours on just those, others will eat rice cakes with dark chocolate, others will eat baby food (yes, Ella’s Kitchen is genuinely the food of choice for many ultra runners), and others will mix it up and have a mix of ShotBloks, Clif Bars, Rice Cakes, Baby Food, other energy bars….others will take in calories in liquid form – coca cola (don’t make the mistake of going for Coke Zero), or TailWind Nutrition (this will draw a smirk from any experienced ultra runners, but it can do a job for some people, mayben including you).  The long and short of it is…above are some ideas for what you might want to eat, go out a try them & see how you perform.

2)   Equipment. The easiest way to find out what you need for the race you want to enter is to head over to their mandatory kit list. These will include headtorches, basic first aid kits, space blankets, minimum water capacity & a map…and may include waterproofs, a compass and other things depending on the time of year, terrain, and level of support provided by the race organisers.

Things you will (almost) certainly need are a race pack, trail shoes & socks. These three things can make a big difference to your race – not just because of the performance gains you get from good quality, and well-fitted, kit, but mainly because any issue with these three things can cause race-ending problems like blisters & chafing. 

For race packs, Salomon are smashing it at the moment – their race packs fit snugly on most people’s backs, are lightweight and have accessible pockets. A good alternative brand is Raidlight.

For shoes, there are a lot of brands out there doing good things, and your choice of shoe will largely depend on your feet & running gait. I would suggest getting yourself down to a coach or good running shop to have your gait & feet analysed. Having a shoe that doesn’t fit well and is uncomfortable will be mentally draining on race day. The other mistake people make is they’ll buy a shoe that isn’t appropriate for the terrain they’re racing on – for some summer ultras, road shoes are absolutely fine, for some winter ultras, you will need specialist shoes like the Salomon Speedcross 4. 

For socks, injiinji make toe socks that are designed to reduce blisters, Hilly make some good twinskin socks that prevent rubbing…from experience, a thin Nike sock will degrade pretty quickly when you get into your longer training runs so I would avoid these.



3)   Training. Any good training programme will vary running intensities, and incorporate a level of strength work. A bad training programme will involve doing the same workouts time after time, training at a moderate intensity (where you’re just a little of breath for the entirety of the workout), and neglecting your strength work. 

If you’re doing a hilly ultra, I’d recommend doing some hill work – e.g. run around a hilly park for an hour, work to 90-95% of max effort when going uphill and then 50-65% when on the flats or going downhill – if you’re new to running generally, don’t do these for a few months as they put a lot of stress on your body and can cause injuries. The Kenyans do this in sand dunes…if you’re coastal this could be a good shout to really make things hard. 

I would fit back to back long runs into your training programme (ie. Two long days of 2-5hrs on two consecutive days). In the week, cross-training options are often more beneficial than running – particularly if you live in the city and can only run on pavements – as you’re less likely to injure yourself but can still reap the benefits in terms of cardiovascular fitness improvements.

Strength training. This is so often neglected. Though it’s difficult to programme without assessing an individual, from experience the most common areas of weakness for runners are in glutes, hip flexors, abdominals (to help you recruit your big muscle groups in your posterior chain when you run - glutes, hamstrings),and quadriceps (to prevent your quads burning (and knees collapsing) on downhills 8 hrs into your ultra). Single leg squats, side planks, glut bridges, split squats and lunge complexes are just a few things to check out on Google. James Dunne from kinetic revolution has an awesome collection of videos & tutorials on different strength exercises to add in to your programme. Try and fit 2 x 30-45min sessions into your week.


Guys, more than happy to answer any specific questions in the comments. Fire away!!!!



The Perfect Morning Smoothie in 7 Steps

Stripping things back, a smoothie is a useful tool for someone who is looking to squeeze in nutrition on the go during a busy day working and training.

They can be implemented at breakfast in order to set up the day or at the very least provide you with nourishing nutrients in case the day gets away from you and you end up grabbing non optimal options later on.

Liquid nutrition options like this are portable, cheaper if you carry them rather than buy the overpriced options in the hipster coffee shops and crucially satiating and lower in energy but high in nutrients if you choose the constituents wisely. This can be key if you are looking to operate a little lighter calorie with on rest days in order to manipulate body composition but bolster the immune system.

Choosing the right blender

There are many option blender wise  to name a few:

  1. Nutri bullet

  2. Vitamix

  3. Kenwood blender

Do not over think the model purchase something in your price range and preferably with portable detachments that you can take on the go. Something powerful enough to blend fibrous vegetables and ice.

A simple solution to filling the smoothie - 7 main types of ingredients

  1. Liquids - water, milk - cows, almond, rice, oat, coconut etc

  2. Greens - kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, romaine lettuce

  3. Ice and lemon - slows the oxidation of the fruits and veggies meaning more nutrition locked in for longer if you have the smoothie in the fridge at work or on your desk

  4. Frozen fruit - often cheaper and easy to store

  5. Binder - bananas, avocado, oats, nut butters

  6. Extras - cocoa powder, flax seeds, flaked almonds, chia seeds,

  7. Protein Powder - whey, pea, hemp, rice

Playing around with the options within the 7 pillars will allow a varied intake nutrients wise as well as different textures tastes and colours.

Ultimately a smoothie is not just for an instagram post it is used as a tool to add nutrition into your day and often allows you to consume certain foods you may not have done whole on your plate .

Matt @ FATRUN London



Last week, George completed the Stour Valley Path 100 - a 102km running race along the undulating Stour Valley Path trail. Here George gives some race day nutrition & hydration strategies to implement in your own 100km race.


Complete Stour Valley Path 102km within 13.5hrs. 


Completed the race within 12hrs6mins. Splits:

Start: 09:00

12 miles: 10:59

22 miles: 12:53

50 miles: 18:17

58 miles: 20:00

64.2 miles: 21:06


Pack - Salomon S-Lab Advanced Skin3 5 Set Running Backpack incl. 1l water capacity

Shoes - Salomon S-lab Sense Ultra

Socks - Hilly TwinSkins

Tee - Salomon Minim EVAC Running T-Shirt

Shorts - Nike Dry Challenger

Head Torch - SILVA Trail Runner II

Sunglasses - Oakley Racking Jacket Red/White


As is common practice, I aimed for 250 calories per hour, starting at 40 mins - i.e. eat at 40 mins, 1hr 40mins, 2hr 40 mins etc.

In terms of what foods I ate, I began by mixing it up between the following, which I carried in my pack:

  •  Clif Bar SHOTBLOKS (energy chews, basically the taste and texture of sweets) &
  • Clif Bar Peanut Butter (energy bars, more solid) - fortunately 1 pack of each of these is almost exactly 250 cals.

A couple of points on these:

As this was an ultra race, I needed to fuel with more real food rather than just gels to for some slower release carbohydrate. If this was a half marathon, I'd probably have stuck with 'fake foods' like energy gels and the odd coca cola.

This is entirely personal to me - I know my gut handles these foods OK during a race. It's worth experimenting with other foods to see what works for you. I'm also a big fan of eating baby food, yes baby food, from Ella's Kitchen and have heard others go for this one too (I'm not the only one I promise)) - it's real food and it's in convenient packs, why not give it a go?


As the race wore on, particularly from around hour 9 onwards, I realised I would be out there for longer than I had anticipated, so had to be flexible and think about eating other foods.

Had the race gone on longer (e.g. a 100 miler) I would have tried to eat more real food, but since I knew I was nearly there I opted for liquids in the form of Coca Cola & Squash with the odd banana chucked in - still roughly 250 cals per hour.

At the last aid station I was struggling and remembered one of Stephanie Howe's (elite ultra runner, North Face sponsored) key principles of race nutrition - listen to your body, if you body likes the look of a particular food at an aid station just go for it.

So that's what I did! For some reason my body was crying out for some watermelon (perhaps dehydration - see below for why that may be the case) at mile 58, so I literally stood there and wolfed down around half a watermelon in front of a few women who I felt pretty sorry for having to watch me do so.  


I was fortunate enough to have an hour with a brilliant exercise physiologist a couple of years back before taking on a stage race ultra in Spain. He recommended the following, and I've stuck to these ever since without having any issues: 

  • Aim for around 400-600ml per hour of water depending on the heat - ie. if it's hotter drink more.
  • Small pinch of Himalayan Rock Salt into each water bottle (I carry two 500ml water bottles on the front of my pack, which is pretty standard)
  • As a guide for how much salt to add, you shouldn't be able to taste the salt, but it should noticeably change the texture of the water, which should become more viscous.
  • Drip the water into your body over the hour rather than consuming in one go
  • I carry a small plastic pouch with the salt and take it out before topping up water at aid stations


I made a big mistake in this race with hydration in that I didn't anticipate just how long the distances were between aid stations - particularly in the first two thirds of the race. I ran out of water three times between aid stations and that definitely cost me time - not only did I suffer physically from the dehydration but psychologically it's tough to see your water bottle empty with 40 mins of running until the next aid station after you've already run for 6 hours. Those psychological losses can take their toll, increase stress, and take up energy. Add in the fact you have to slow down to conserve energy and this sort of thing can be disastrous. SOLUTION: If in doubt, take extra water capacity with you - e.g. a small bladder - for those mini emergencies, particularly if you know you have long distances between aid stations.

FINAL HYDRATION TIP: I've had pretty serious post-race dehydration issues in the past, having been admitted to hospital overnight after one ultra. Don't forget that your body is in crisis state even after you finish the race, so continue to take in good amounts of water - you might deserve a beer but try maintain your hydration levels as well!


We'd love to know your race strategies - get in touch with us on instagram or in the comments below, OR come along to our next RUN CLUB!!!






Three Peaks Challenge: How to climb the UK's 3 highest peaks in under 24 hours

Last weekend Matt took on the Three Peaks Challenge - to climb the three highest mountains in the UK in under 24 hours. Here he provides some tips on how to complete the challenge yourself, particularly focusing on the nutrition and kit required. Hope you enjoy it - if you have any specific questions on the challenge, direct message us on Instagram @fatrunlondon.



To climb the three highest mountains in the UK in less than 24 hours




Ben Nevis Elevation: 1350m Distance: 17km

Est. Time: 7-8Hrs

Our Time: 4Hrs 38Mins

Scafell Pike Elevation: 978m Distance: 8.7km

Est. Time: 5Hrs

Our Time: 2Hrs 52Mins



Snowdonia Elevation: 1085m Distance: 10km

Est. Time: 5Hrs

Our Time: 2Hrs 27Mins



Shoes - North Face Ultra Fastpack Mid GT x boots and North Face Ultra Cardiac shoe

Trousers and shorts - North Face Venture ½ zip, North Face speed light trousers, North Face Kilowatt shorts

Jacket - North Face Pursuit Jacket

Water Bottle - Camelbak water bottle 750ml x 2 for taking up the mountain + one team member carried an additional 2 litres.


I weigh 90kg and aimed for 2 litres on each mountain to stay hydrated.

If you want to be really accurate with your rehydration after each mountain climb, try this out (it involves bringing scales with you in the car as you go):

One simple way to ensure you get adequate rehydration is to weigh in 120% of water you've lost. So, if I weigh 90kg before mountain 1 and finished mountain 1 @ 89kg, I would rehydrate with 1.2 litres.

Rehydration is especially important for this challenge compared to say a half marathon or 10K because we're climbing over 24 hours, effectively doing multiple events, so we need solid rehydration to be as prepared as possible for climbs 2 and 3. Obviously in a half marathon, you can go home and relax after that single effort without having to get up and do it again a few hours later.


Tip: You must take into account transporting the food as it is hard to keep things cold and space is key variable with bags and bodies in the transport vehicle.

Morning & Lunchtime Before - chose more low GI options such as oats (flapjacks and porridge) as well as sweet potato in with my lunch.

Evening Before - I chose white rice in with a chilli and granola with berries before bed higher GI

On the Mountain - This is person dependent. Practice what works best with your body to avoid gut stress as well as fullness and make sure you can function on what you choose both mentally and physically.

I used kendal mint cake, jelly babies and milk chocolate - a combo I have used before and I know works for me. Some like gels, others rice pudding. Hone your process, more on this in my next blog.

Between Mountains - more real food. Here are some good options:

Nuts - brazil & cashew

Fruit - bananas, blueberries, oranges

Sweet potato cooked

Almond butter

Butternut squash and coconut soup

Dark Chocolate

Coconut oil and coffee

Chicken breasts, hummus and cooked beetroot


"The entire 23 hours and 45 minutes required team-work and hats off to three fantastic friends, epic effort chaps.
The Dyke brothers Tom ‘the General’ leading from the front and Lewis ‘captain transport’ as well as Julius de mattos formed a solid support system throughout the journey.
Ben Nevis seemed smooth enough to start with we had been in the car all day driving up and biting at the bit to climb. We started at 6:10pm and fresh legs however began to waver as we set to yomp up the mountain in around 2 and a half hours. Reaching the summit the cold and tiredness started to settle in however we sought to refuel and begin the descent.
At this point it is important to mention if you are taking on the challenge I would recommend you work on descending hills, something I did not put onus on and certainly had to struggle through some knee pain which ultimately slowed us down overall.
Scafell was a bleary eyed scramble at five in the morning, with only 2 miles up we relished the upward challenge however the gradient of the mountain certainly brought a new challenge. Often using hands and feet to scarper up it was a taxing climb.
We met slight adversity in the form of heavy traffic between Scafell and Snowdon leaving us an ascent and descent time of under 2 hours and 40 minutes just to make sure we can within the 24 hour time limit.
We ventured up the pigs trail and at this point the legs were intensely tired. This is where team moral has to stay high in order to push each other on. We chose the minors trail for the descent. It is a sharp drop initially however feet meet level ground and we ran the final 3 miles in order to make it within the time cap.
Certainly the best physical challenge I have done in a group to date. Spanning the country hustling through breathtaking scenery and attacking a physical challenge with some awesome mates."

Matt - Performance Nutritionist & Co Founder @fatrunlondon


3 Simple Daily Exercises for the Desk Bound Runner

We spoke to many of you at the FATRUN Run & Brunch on Sunday about how to fit becoming a better runner into a busy working life. For most of us, the odds are stacked against us - we work long hours at a desk where eating optimally is difficult, and often end up missing workouts or runs because we simply don't have the mental or physical energy left to give.

We've got a number of workarounds and solutions that we'll share with you over the coming weeks, but today we wanted to focus on a topic that was specifically mentioned on Sunday - how can I negate the negative impact of sitting down at a desk all day on my running performance?

To keep things simple and actionable, we've put together our top 3 exercises in a video below.

How can I use these exercises in my daily routine?

Our recommendation is to spend 5 minutes when you wake up, 5 minutes before you go to bed, and 5 minutes before you go on a run doing these exercises in the following programme:

Couch Stretch (lunge) - 30 seconds hold on each side, 3/4 times each side
Supermans (variation - hands and knees) - 10 each side, rest 30 seconds, repeat once more
Wall Stretch - 10, rest 30 seconds, repeat once more

Any questions or comments? Write us a comment below or get in touch via instagram or Facebook!!!



Nutrition Blueprint #1 - What's Your Goal?

This series of blogs, articles, e-books and podcasts brought to you by Matt & George will strive to provide you with nutritional nuggets and tempt you to employ self reflection and honesty with your own approach to food and body composition.


A good friend of mine and a wonderful nutritionist, Ben Coomber, highlighted an important point in one of his recent podcasts (Ben Coomber Radio) - "are you really doing enough to attain what you are working towards?" It seems simple but the majority of people we work with present barriers, make excuses and almost have this defeatist mentality when I mention ‘have you ever tried tracking your intake?.’ It's our natural response.

Do you have a body composition goal in mind, or do you have an upcoming race that you want to nail?  Are you in season and looking for that edge in terms of recovery between races or are you training for an event for the first time and you are keen to learn how to bullet proof yourself against injury?

As busy Londoners, there are so many other stimuli that grasp our attention, leave us flapping daily and deny us the time to focus on defining a goal for ourselves. However, if you CAN cement in some kind of goal, for example it could be performance orientated such as a race or a physical challenge with a group of friends, or body composition related say preparing for the beach, a party packed full of people you have not seen in a while, a wedding or your birthday etc, then your mentality will automatically shift.

With that focus, you will become more receptive to learning about how to optimise your nutrition and as a result your recovery, sleep and body composition to ultimately help you achieve your goal.

In the end there is so much information out there, you just need to start building a blueprint that works for you.

Task number one assign yourself a goal and start creating habits that will directly aid your ability to reach this goal, trust us it can be done around your current lifestyle, work, social life and kids, you just need that accountability first.

We can begin to help you with the rest.



London's Top 3 Autumn Running Events

Often the best way to get into running either as a new starter, or after a period off, is to take the plunge and sign up for a running event. Even better is to sign up with a few mates, do it for charity, and/or tell everyone you know that you're doing it so that there's no turning back :O

Running season kicks off from September and runs into early November and there are plenty of events in London, from 10k races to marathons, to put your hat into the ring for. We've trimmed down the full list into our top three that we think you should go for.

If you're already signed up to a race, or are thinking of doing so, head down to one of our Run Club Tuesdays for some midweek training.


"Spaces are available for speedy sprinters and jovial joggers, to prance and prowl their way through the Zoo. The ZSL London Zoo Stampede will provide runners of all abilities with an unforgettable experience. The Stampede will involve running through the zoo, before heading out into Regents Park."



"The Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon takes place each October, starting and finishing in the stunning Hyde Park. Runners take part in the 13.1 mile route through Central London, taking in the spectacular sites of the capital and the beautiful Royal Parks.
As well as all of the fantastic runners that take part, thousands of spectators also join us for the Food & Fitness festival to cheer on their friends and family and share this amazing day"



"On 18th September, 'Richmond RUNFEST' celebrates its first Olympic-cycle by introducing a full distance river running Marathon through the Royal Borough of Richmond-Upon-Thames.
Starting inside the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the race will tour Londons' greenest borough, running through the historic Hampton Court Palace.
The Richmond Marathon is expected to raise over half a million pounds for charity and will run in conjunction with The Richmond Half Marathon, the Kew Gardens and the NIKE Kids' Mile."