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Bob Graham Round

The 'Bob Graham Round' is a fell race held in the Lake District (United Kingdom) where the challenge is to climb 42 peaks in 24 hours. The race starts and finishes at Keswick and, providing you do not get lost, the total distance is approximately 72 miles.

Before You Start

Prior to starting any training program, it is recommended that the athlete have a medical examination to ensure it is safe for him/her to do so.

Running Pace

Taking a very simplistic approach, we could say that as we finish and start at the same place then half the course is up hill and half down hill. If we complete the down hill sections at 10 minute/mile pace and the up hill sections at 20 minute/mile pace then with an average pace of 15 minute/mile pace the 72 miles could be completed, without rest, in 18 hours.

Training Plans

The training plan consists of eight phases where each phase comprises of a repeated four week program and each week contains five training sessions. The workload in the first three weeks of the four week program increase each week (easy, medium, hard) and the fourth week comprises of active recovery and tests to monitor training progress. The aim of the four week cycles is to:

  • Build you up to a level of fitness (3 weeks)
  • Test, recovery and adjustment of the training program (1 week)
  • Build you up to higher level of fitness (3 weeks)
  • Test, recovery and adjustment of the training program (1 week)
  • Build you up to an even higher level of fitness (3 weeks)
  • and so on

Remember a training program is athlete specific and the results of the tests in the fourth week can be used to adjust the training in the next four week cycle to address any limitations.

Training Program

The following is an example 32 week training program leading up to the Bob Graham Round. The objectives are :

  • Weeks 1 to 16 - build up general strength and endurance
  • Weeks 17 to 28 - develop specific endurance and strength. The weekend sessions are to
    • familiarise yourself with the course and rest points
    • develop the right pace
    • sort out nutrition and fluid intake
    • develop the right psychological approach for a long run
  • Weeks 29 to 32 - taper to the race.

Any application of this training program is at the athlete's own discretion and risk.

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 Weight Training
4 miles
8 miles Weight Training
4 miles
Rest Weight Training
4 miles
1hr Fartlek Rest
2 Weight Training
6 miles
12 miles Weight Training
6 miles
Rest Weight Training
6 miles
1½ hrs Fartlek Rest
3 Weight Training
8 miles
16 miles Weight Training
8 miles
Rest Weight Training
8 miles
2 hrs Fartlek Rest
4 Weight Training Cooper Test Weight Training Rest Weight Training 2 hrs Fartlek Rest
5 Weight Training
8 miles
16 miles Weight Training
8 miles
Rest Weight Training
8 miles
1 hr Fartlek Rest
6 Weight Training
12 miles
14 miles Weight Training
12 miles
Rest Weight Training
12 miles
1½ hrs Fartlek Rest
7 Weight Training
14 miles
18 miles Weight Training
14 miles
Rest Weight Training
14 miles
2 hrs Fartlek Rest
8 Weight Training Cooper Test Weight Training Rest Weight Training 2 hrs Fartlek Rest
9 Weight Training
14 miles
2 x 9 miles Weight Training
14 miles
Rest Weight Training
14 miles
1½ hrs Fartlek Rest
10 Weight Training
15 miles
2 x 10 miles Weight Training
15 miles
Rest Weight Training
15 miles
2 hrs Fartlek Rest
11 Weight Training
16 miles
2 x 11 miles Weight Training
16 miles
Rest Weight Training
16 miles
2½ hrs Fartlek Rest
12 Weight Training Cooper Test Weight Training Rest Weight Training 2½ hrs Fartlek Rest
13 Weight Training
2 x 8 miles
2 x 11 miles Weight Training
2 x 8 miles
Rest Weight Training
2 x 8 miles
1½ hrs Fartlek Rest
14 Weight Training
2 x 8 miles
2 x 14 miles Weight Training
2 x 8 miles
Rest Weight Training
2 x 8 miles
2 hrs Fartlek Rest
15 Weight Training
2 x 8 miles
2 x 15 miles Weight Training
2 x 8 miles
Rest Weight Training
2 x 8 miles
2½ hrs Fartlek Rest
16 Weight Training Cooper Test Weight Training Rest Weight Training 2½ hrs Fartlek Rest
17 Rest Weight Training
2 hour run/walk
2 hour run Weight Training
2 hour run/walk
Rest 4 hour run/walk 4 hour run/walk
18 Rest Weight Training
2 hour run/walk
2 hour run Weight Training
2 hour run/walk
Rest 5 hour run/walk 5 hour run/walk
19 Rest Weight Training
2 hour run/walk
2 hour run Weight Training
2 hour run/walk
Rest 6 hour run/walk 6 hour run/walk
20 Rest Weight Training Rest Weight Training Rest Rest Rest
21 Rest Weight Training
2 hour run/walk
2 hour run Weight Training
2 hour run/walk
Rest 6 hour run/walk 6 hour run/walk
22 Rest Weight Training
2 hour run/walk
2 hour run Weight Training
2 hour run/walk
Rest 7 hour run/walk 7 hour run/walk
23 Rest Weight Training
2 hour run/walk
2 hour run Weight Training
2 hour run/walk
Rest 8 hour run/walk 8 hour run/walk
24 Rest Weight Training Rest Weight Training Rest Rest Rest
25 Rest Weight Training
2 hour run/walk
2 hour run Weight Training
2 hour run/walk
Rest 8 hour run/walk 8 hour run/walk
26 Rest Weight Training
2 hour run/walk
2 hour run Weight Training
2 hour run/walk
Rest 9 hour run/walk 9 hour run/walk
27 Rest Weight Training
2 hour run/walk
2 hour run Weight Training
2 hour run/walk
Rest 10 hour run/walk 10 hour run/walk
28 Rest Weight Training Rest Weight Training Rest Rest Rest
29 Rest 1 hour walk/run Rest 1 hour walk/run Rest 2 hour walk/run 2 hour walk/run
30 Rest 1 hour walk/run Rest 1 hour walk/run Rest 1 hour walk/run 1 hour walk/run
31 Rest 1 hour walk/run Rest 1 hour walk/run Rest 1 hour walk/run Rest
32 Rest 1 hour walk/run Rest Rest Rest Bob Graham Round

Notes

The pace the runs and walks should be conducted at are as follows:

Weeks Run Walk
1-16 7-8 min/mile Not Applicable
17-32 10 min/mile 20 min/mile

Training Notes

The following information is provided to explain in more detail some of the activities detailed in the training plans.

General Information

Warm up and cool down

Before and after all training sessions it is important that you have a good warm up and cool down. As a minimum both the warm up and cool down should comprise of:

  • A gentle jog - 1/2 mile
  • Stretching exercises - see stretching page on my website.

Monitoring recovery from training

It is important that you are fully recovering from the training before embarking on the next training session. Your heart rate can be used to monitor how well you are recovering. See the Orthstatic heart rate test on my website for details. Do this test on a daily basis and keep a record in your diary.

Diet and Supplements

The simplest way of checking if your energy intake equals energy expired is to monitor your weight. For information on the number of calories required each day, the breakdown of fat, protein and carbohydrates have a look at the nutrition page and the nutritional tips page on my website.

Depletion of the body's carbohydrate stores and dehydration are two factors that will limit prolonged exercise. Due to the nature of this event, this will be a problem that needs to be addressed. Consider the use of sports drinks during training in order to replenish carbohydrate stores and rehydrate you. Try a selection of sports drinks to determine which one suits you best. Also, consider the use of drinks containing Choline.

The main task of blood is to transport oxygen to all parts of the body. The oxygen carrying components of blood is haemoglobin and a drop of 10% in haemoglobin levels can reduce performance by 20-25%. To ensure maximum blood enrichment the Colgan Institute in San Diego, California, recommends the following:

  • Eat moderate meals every 4 hours
  • Ensure a daily intake of fruit, vegetables, cereals, fish and low fat meals
  • Highly saturated fat foods to be avoided
  • Have a blood test every 6 months - primarily to check haemoglobin levels.

Schedule

You will require an ordnance survey map covering Penrith and Keswick (OS Landranger sheet 90). The following is a suggested route with times.

Section 1 - Threkeld Time
Depart Kewick 03:00hrs
Skiddaw 04:15hrs
Great Calva 04:55hrs
Belencathra 06:05hrs
Arrive Threkeld 06:35hrs
 
15 minute recovery

Section 2 - Dunmail Time
Depart Threkeld 06:50hrs
Clough Head 07:33hrs
Great Dodd 08:00hrs
Watson Dodd 08:09hrs
Stybarrow Dodd 08:19hrs
Raise 08:32hrs
White Side 08:39hrs
Low Man 08:50hrs
Helvellyn 08:55hrs
Nethermost Pike 09:10hrs
Dollywagon Pike 09:21hrs
Fairfield 09:58hrs
Seat Sandle 10:20hrs
Arrive Dunmail 10:41hrs
 
15 minute recovery

Section 3. Wasdale Time
Depart Dunmail 10:56hrs
Steel Fell 11:28hrs
Calf Crag 11:50hrs
Sergeant Man 12:23hrs
High Raise 12:38hrs
Thurnacar Knott 12:52hrs
Harrison Stickle 13:00hrs
Pike O Stickle 13:14hrs
Rossett Pike 14:05hrs
Bowfell 14:38hrs
Esk Pike 14:59hrs
Great End 15:29hrs
Ill Crag 15:44hrs
Broad Crag 15:54hrs
Scarfell Pike 16:06hrs
Scarfell 16:31hrs
Arrive Wasdale 17:17hrs
 
15 minute recovery

Section 4. Honister Time
Depart Wasdale 17:31hrs
Yewbarrow 18:19hrs
Red Pike 19:05hrs
Steeple 19:25hrs
Pillar 19:57hrs
Kirkfell 20:47hrs
Great Gable 21:30hrs
Green Gable 21:45hrs
Brandreth 22:05hrs
Grey Knotts 22:15hrs
Arrive Honister 22:35hrs
 
15 minute recovery

Section 5. Keswick Time
Depart Honister 22:55hrs
Dale Head 23:30hrs
Hindsgarth 23:50hrs
Robinson 00:20hrs
Finish at Keswick 02:00hrs


Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work then the reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2001) Bob Graham Round [WWW] Available from: https://www.brianmac.co.uk/bgr/index.htm [Accessed

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