James Appleton

Aaron Royle


Freelance Photographer

What does your standard training week involve?
My normal training week normally involves around 20 hours of training โ€“ usually somewhere between 70-80 miles of running,
mostly out on the fells but with a few flatter speed sessions, then a couple of easy recovery cycling sessions, a bouldering session
(or two if I have the time) and then a couple of circuit-style training sessions based around a British Military Fitness (BMF) class.

Where is your favourite place to train?
You can't beat getting out and properly off-road. I'm lucky to live right in the middle of the Lake District โ€“ famous for its fell-running history,
and I love nothing more than getting up on the ridges and into the mountain air with incredible views in every direction. No matter the weather,
it's always beautiful.

What is your favourite 2XU garment? When do you use it and why?
Personally I love my thermal 2XU compression leggings purely because I wear them pretty much anytime I'm not training, and
they're fantastic at adding an extra level of warmth in the colder months.

What is your favourite training accessory?
My favourite training accessory is my Garmin GPS watch โ€“ both for holding me to account and giving me feedback during hard sessions,
but also to check I'm not pushing too hard when I should be doing a recovery session.

What has been the toughest experience in your career and what did you learn from it?
The toughest experience I've had so far wasn't actually in racing, though it was physical. In 2010 when a volcano erupted in southern
Iceland I made the decision to get over there and try and climb to the fissure site on a mountain pass at the end of a harsh winter.
It was only an eight-hour hike, but I was carrying over around 35 kilograms of supplies, survival equipment and camera gear โ€“ that's way over
half my body-weight. I've never been so relieved to reach the summit of a mountain in my life as then.

Whatโ€™s the most common training mistake you see on the circuit? Any suggestions on how to avoid it?
The most common mistake I see is people training too-often at too-high intensities. Long, slow recovery runs are absolute magic,
and help your body loosen and repair. Learning to do them properly is vital, though most people get it wrong and still go out too hard,
causing injury or exhaustion.

What motivates you to train and race harder?
Not winning motivates me to train harder! I love running for itself, but I push myself because crossing a finish line first
is one of the most satisfying feelings.

Describe your diet/meal plan leading up to a big race:
I don't do anything significantly different leading up to a big race, though I do take extra care to make sure my diet is as varied and balanced
as possible and I'm not missing anything that would impact my performance. I probably try and drink a little more leading up to race-day to ensure
I'm hydrated, but I'm not a fan of carb-loading excessively โ€“ I think it's best to stick to what your body is used to.

How do you balance your training and racing life with life outside the sport?
I'm really lucky in that often there's cross-over between sport and work for me โ€“ going running with my camera allows me to get some pretty
incredible photographs that would take a lot longer to get to if I was on-foot. Also being self-employed allows me to work my day around my
training, so I can get out in daylight all year round and not be limited by that.

What type of nutritional supplement do you find most helpful (either for training or competition)?
I don't take any supplements at all โ€“ I firmly believe if you eat right and pay attention to your body you don't need any extra help. That said, a little bit of caffeine can go a long way at the right moment!

Best and worst thing about being a professional athlete:
The best thing about being a professional athlete is the constant endorphin high โ€“ I love the feeling of just โ€œglowingโ€ for hours after a long session.
The worst thing, if there's is one, is that my food bill each month is pretty astronomical!

In five years time, I'll be:
In five yearsโ€™ time I'll be a lot faster, stronger, and hopefully have won a lot more! If not, I'll still be trying.


  • 7th Spartan World Championships 2013
  • 3 x Tough Guy Winner 2009-2010
  • World Champion OCRWC team-relay event (GBR) 2015
  • OCRWC 12th place individual 2015
  • Peaks Skyrace UK 4th place 2015