Monday, March 9, 2015

Peter Buchanan: Adventure runner and submergathoner

Having taken 9 months off, it seems very fitting that we hit the ground running so to speak - with our second ever male contributor on We Do Run Run.  You're in for a treat!  Peter Buchanan, a 52-year-old self-employed painter and decorator from Edinburgh has got some serious mileage under his camelback.  His career allows him to 'take days off when the sun shines to go running.'  We like this kind of career.  Over to you Peter...

1.  I started running in the late 90's to offset the middle aged spread after giving up 20 years of smoking. I began to remember I had always run as a child and in no time it was the largest part of my spare time.  I began to race regularly at the weekends. I would appear to have some natural ability and was very pleased to notice that.

2.  I run because with a bit of effort and training I have some success – something that has eluded me in the art world.  I wear Hokas for long flat stuff, Salomons for trails and Inov8s for hills.

3.  The last run I did was a cycle! When I am not racing at the weekend my fave rave is to go for an adventure – catch a train or bus somewhere and run 30 miles over a few hills with a map and a sandwich in a backpack. Sometimes with friends, sometimes solo but ALWAYS with a camera, which has become the replacement for doing paintings that didn't sell.

4.  My current fave bit of kit is my off road bike - cycling is very much on the menu this year, although I have always cycled. (I don't have a driving licence.) I don't really have the patience or flexibility for yoga, preferring boxercise and circuits.

5.  I am involved with 2 challenges currently:
Number 1: my girlfriend dared us to keep doing open water swimming once a week throughout the Winter. So we have been putting on the wetsuits, gloves, socks and hoods at the weekend and doing about 15 minutes (before your face goes numb and you can't speak) at the beach along the coast. The water is around 3 degrees at the moment (about the same as in your fridge) and it takes longer to get in and out of the kit than we spend in the water. Several times recently we have done an immersion without wetsuits. It's one of these experiences that isn't wholly enjoyable while it's happening but exhilarating. I haven't found I am building resilience against the cold yet, but there is a real near-death-experience vigour about it, that is equivalent to recreational drugs as a twenty year old.
Number 2: to mark 100 years since WW1, a (slightly eccentric) friend proposed a group of us run a 30 miler once a month for 4 years, passing a different war memorial each time. Initially I thought this was unrealistic but so far, 7 months in, it is going well and my blog is filling up with a collection of war memorials, previously hidden in plain view.

6.  I feel most alive running down the beach in new trainers

7.  I am currently listening to Mix 8 (see link) when I run. However most of the time I don't run with music.

8.  As mentioned above, I participate in a weekly submergathon. A weekly splash and dash along the coast. It helps because it wipes your mental slate clean.

9.  I started eating Star Bars and Boosts on long runs. They keep me going as well as any overpriced sports bars but taste better.  I have a fairly healthy diet although the battle with the bulge is constant. I don't eat junk food. I have reduced alcohol consumption to modest amounts. I did all the bad habits in the first half. You have to put a line through them in the second half. Running is a fair swap. Fitness in youth is optional, later it becomes imperative.

10.  I am currently enjoying spin classes which are useful low impact workouts in addition to the running.

11.  I'm bringing primal scream to this blog: If you are flagging horribly in a long race have a good bark at yourself and those around you who seem to be in need of a pick­me­up. It often does more good for the shouter than the shoutee.

12.  I don't have any issues (suitable for discussion here!)

13.  I am not really an inspirational quote person. However I did smile wryly when I saw the following quote, though it is more in line with the hardcore competitive me than the more relaxed person taking photos of the sunset:

Now I am not trying to sell myself as a tiger but I do think there are far too many sheep, slumped on the sofa, watching dreck on the telly, shovelling crisps and chocolate into themselves, wondering why their lives feel empty. I would encourage them to get out and walk/run/bike/swim NOW. It quickly becomes enjoyable and will save your life.

If that didn't make you feel inspired to go and run 53 miles well you're reading the wrong blog. There's more of where this came from, just head over to the aptly named 'Best part of the day' Peter's online running journal.  Thanks Mr Buchanan for getting We Do Run Run back in action! 


  1. I love Peter's online journal- always has the best pictures!

  2. Yes, I love reading Pete's blog - never dull - and always great photos.