Run / Walking Busselton Marathon... and loving it!

Run / Walking Busselton Marathon... and loving it!

Sydney Marathon (Marathon 13) was a really tough experience, both on the day and in the week after.  I felt like I had lost fitness, re-injured an old achilles problem and gotten very glum in the process of it all.  Not ideal.  

 

Fast forward 3 weeks and the 17 marathons fun bus was heading over to Western Australia.  This was my first ever trip to W.A and I was travelling there to run Busselton Marathon on Sunday 8 October.  Whilst I still had the nagging achilles issue that was stopping me from running, I was grateful to be feeling way more positive in the lead up to this one.  I was worried about my ability to complete the run, but positive nevertheless.  I was particularly worried when I discovered the day before that I hadn’t actually signed up to the run at all!  OOPS!!  I am starting to believe that there is such a thing as 'runners brain’…. its a thing….

Now I know what 11 laps of The Tan feels like...

Now I know what 11 laps of The Tan feels like...

Last weekend was awesome...

Marathon 12 was back on home turf, running 11 laps around the Tan Track in Melbourne, following some time away for Alice Springs Marathon the previous weekend.  I was really pleased with what I had done in Alice Springs and my aim for this marathon was simply to improve on that time of 3:22, only 7 days later.  I enjoy the challenge of backing up marathons one week after another and it gives the second run a bit more purpose.  I seem to get that little bit more determined to not be slower or fade at all.  It’s like a giant 'negative split' I suppose.  

On race morning, I had woken up early to the sound of torrential rain and howling wind at about 5 am.  Bugger.  The thought crossed my mind to just drop the run, eat lots, drink wine and simply reschedule, but the thought of then trying to fit another marathon into the remaining 4 months of the year, persuaded me to get my arse out of bed and get cracking on some coffee and breakfast.

Guest post: Being nervous is normal

How do you deal with the final nervous days before your big run??!  With this guest post on Running Fit Box blog I want to help you work through and answer some of the normal questions that you will have to face in the days leading up to your next running event.  Questions like "should I be carb-loading," "have I done enough training" and more!

Head over to the awesome Running Fit Box website to check out my guest post on this issue.

Enjoy!!

Guest Post: HOW TO OVERCOME EXCUSES AND SAFELY GET BACK TO RUNNING POST PREGNANCY

What do you think are the main things that stand in the way of getting back into running for new mums?  

This guest post with Sheree Brown from the awesome Port Melbourne Physiotherapy and Pilates explores exactly that!  Sheree and I explore accountability, motivation, overcoming excuses and how to safely get back into your exercise after giving birth.

Head over to the Port Melbourne Physiotherapy and Pilates website to check out this guest post.

1:53 half marathon to 100km record holder: Kirstin Bull

How do you go from a 1hr 53 half marathon to winning marathons and ultras, breaking records and representing Australia at the 100km World Championships?  Ask Kirstin Bull....

Kirstin Bull has won the Two Bays Trail Run and Great Ocean Road Marathon multiple times and smashed the Australian 100km record last year. For our FIRST EVER GO RUN PODCAST, I chatted to Kirstin about her running and even reminisce about her first ever half marathon. She chats about her training, coaching, strength and conditioning work, nutrition and her advice for new runners who want to hit the trails or train for ultra distances. We also discuss her wine or beer preferences ;-)

Check it out!

Kirstin is racing at the 100km World Championships in Spain in September and is fundraising to support that effort. You can find more info and donate here 

Good luck Kirstin!

 

Guest post: 3 tips to beat runners rut!

Whether you're stuck in a rut with your running at parkrun or anywhere else, there are ways to break through it. I chatted to Baroness of Melbourne, Danielle about what to do when this awful ‘rut' strikes.

Head over to the awesome Baroness of Melbourne blog to check out this guest post.

Why do I feel so guilty for running?

If you are a mum who feels guilty for running, this blog is for you!

"Gen is a former colleague of mine and when we met for coffee, we chatted about her running.  She explained how she struggles to find time to run but also, that when she does have the time, she feels horrendously guilty.  She is a mum of two young boys and works part time for a health charity.  She doesn’t want to leave the kids and feels that she should be taking care of them, entertaining them, doing some work or one of a million other things that are on her mind.  The end result? She bought a treadmill for the house, so she didn’t have to leave!"
 

Read the whole article on the Mouths of Mums website

“I've never joined a running group before. I'm probably going to be way behind even the slowest person there”

“I've never joined a running group before.  I'm probably going to be way behind even the slowest person there”

I am looking at starting a group specifically for beginner runners in Richmond.  It’s where I have lived for the past 4 years and I love running around the streets and parks, along the river and getting to one of the (thousands!) of coffee shops on 'The Island State'.

It has been really interesting chatting to friends and locals about this idea, hearing what they think, what they feared and what they wanted to learn as a beginner runner.  These conversations have all shaped the way the group and sessions will look and feel, when we trial it in July this year.

One of the main bits of feedback I have got, is that we always seem to believe that we are going to be the worst or slowest person in the group.  In fact, not just the slowest, but WAAAAAAY behind all the rest.  One friend even said to me,

 “I've never joined a running group before.  I'm probably going to be way behind even the slowest person there”

That is a genuine fear that a lot of runners (not just beginners I might add…) have expressed to me.  It is also a fear that stops so many people from exploring running as a sport.  I have certainly experienced that feeling myself before joining a running group in the UK a few years ago, so I can definitely relate.

What would you ask a professional athlete?

What would you ask a professional athlete?

In April, I asked the runners at Go Run a question:

“If you had the opportunity to chat to a professional athlete, what questions would you ask them?”  

I had an awesome response, with some great questions. I think as recreational athletes we are often fascinated by the habits and lives of professionals.  How many hours do they train?  Do they do strength training?  Who are their idols?  What do they eat?  Do they drink alcohol?

It’s not very often you get the opportunity to chat to professional sports people and ask these types of questions, so when Vanessa Murray, a professional Ironman triathlete from New Zealand agreed to sit down at the end of April and chat with me over a juicy burger in Albert Park, I was really excited! 

Vanessa is a beginner in the professional Ironman game but has started off with a bang!  Last weekend she came 4th pro female in Challenge Taiwan and in early March came 10th pro female at Ironman New Zealand, running a 3:24 marathon in the process.  She is coached by Xavier Coppock at TEAM Tri Coaching and lives in Melbourne with her fiancé Shaun.  

I chatted to her about her triathlon beginnings, how her running has improved from 2 hour half marathon to 3:24 marathon, and what particular foods she enjoys most after training (a favourite topic of mine!)  Thanks for the questions guys, here is our chat…..  Enjoy!

Why are we so confused and frustrated with our running?

Why are we so confused and frustrated with our running?

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from a really nice guy living on the outskirts of Melbourne.  He was looking for a running coach to help him with his running.  We were talking about his goals and training over email and with his permission, I have given you part of the actual email correspondence that we had.  Check out his confusion….

"That's one of my problems at the moment, goals!  SO MANY OF THEM!  So my own training is in disarray.  I don't know whether to knock back and hit a 5-6 month patch of Maffetone running.  Then there's Matt Fitzgerald banging on about 80/20 running!  But on the other hand, we all want to go fast...and I KNOW i'm capable of going sub 3:30 over 42.2 and would LOVE to have a crack at a BQ, but for me thats a 3hr 05 marathon, which, well, yeah, I can't see that happening.  Basically, I think I've read way too much and now I have all these ideas in my head, but have no idea what's best for me."

WOW!  That’s a lot of goals, a lot of different methods and a lot of confusion to deal with.   Trust me, I can really sympathise with this.  It was not so long ago that my head was in this exact space.  It is a complete nightmare.  You don’t know where to turn, who to believe, what method or technique to try, what magazine or blog to read, what race to sign up to.  It sucks!  The sad thing is that this thought process is actually pretty normal amongst runners and is not exclusive to beginner runners at all. 

So where does our confusion stem from?

"I had to go longer and harder and faster every time"

"I had to go longer and harder and faster every time"

A few weeks ago I decided to reach out to the running community and ask a simple question that I needed help answering.  I posted the following question on the Go Run Australia Facebook page and could not believe the response that it got.
 

What is / was your #1 single, biggest challenge when you started running?


Now we’ve all been there as beginners, even some of the fastest runners you know probably began with those awkward, embarrassing first runs / walks and suffered from the same things that we do, but even with that in mind, i did not expect people of all experiences, shapes, sizes, abilities, ages to contribute to this debate.  I don’t know what I expected to be honest, but certainly not the detail and emotive comment that I got back.  The responses really shocked me in to action and I want to try and address the issues that were raised over the coming weeks and months in my blogs.  My hope is that these blogs will be able to help a few people in their own running journey whether they are just getting started, starting again or are seasoned veterans.

Today I am going to address the issue of wanting to go longer, harder and faster every time you run.  This topic was prompted by Ruby, who said...

"For me (the number one challenge..) was the idea that I had to go longer and harder and faster every time. As soon as I was fit enough to run for 20 minutes I'd push for 30, then 40 the next week and so on, unsurprisingly I got injured and fatigued and decided that was a sign I just wasn't meant to be a runner." 

"Just trust the process"

We all question our training at one point or another.  As a coach, one of my roles is to make sure that runners can look back on their training, be proud, see progress and gain confidence from it.  One of my favourite phrases in this regard is, 

"Just trust the process" 

In this interview I chat to Sally who recently ran a half marathon personal best time, knocking 4 minutes off her previous time.  She talks about how we managed her injury concerns, how she found it difficult to run slowly in her training runs at first and she talks us through what it feels like when you know your time is going to be a good one!  I love Sally's story.  To me, she is a great runner and a pleasure to work with because she learns, adapts and isn't scared of a challenge!  Enjoy!

Are you ready to run? If the answer is "YES!" then sign up here for your own running coach and personalised monthly training plan to get you running stronger, longer and faster.  I will get in touch straight away and we can begin working on getting your running to where you really want it to be!

"But I don’t look like a runner"

"But I don’t look like a runner"

I hear this phrase quite a lot, particularly from those who are relatively new to running or lacking a bit of confidence.  It is usually said in the same sentence as “but I’m not a runner.”  This (as you are about to find out) frustrates me!  I believe that if you run, you are a runner, you can be a good runner and you should think of yourself as one, no matter what your shape or size.

I think part of the problem is that we are led to believe there is a certain shape that we should all be aspiring to look like in order to become the perfect runner.   Yeah sure, the guys and girls who are in the top 10 finishers of the marathon are usually pretty much the same shape (small, skinny, run / fly effortlessly and weigh about 50kgs) but after that, the similarities end.  I know guys who are 90+ kilos and run a 3 hour marathon and well as girls who are 5 feet tall and run a sub 20 minute 5km.  Go figure.  

Most of us are not in that elite category of runners and training for the upcoming Rio Olympics, nor will we ever be, so why do we need to adopt the same shape, weight, height, cadence and posture as these guys?  The answer is that we don’t.

"There's no way I can run 5k!"

I have heard this quote from lots of runners when they first start running...

"There's no way I can run 5k!" 

In this interview I chat to Maddie who also uttered those words at one point.  Maddie talks to me about how she went from "the girl who can't run" at school, and not running even 3 years ago, to a marathon personal best time at Melbourne Marathon in October 2015.  I find Maddie's story inspirational and I loved hearing about how she overcame some of the stresses associated with running and in particular the question of "what are people going to think of me?" in her most recent marathon.  Enjoy!

Are you ready to run? If the answer is "YES!" then sign up here for your own running coach and personalised monthly training plan to get you running stronger, longer and faster.  I will get in touch straight away and we can begin working on getting your running to where you really want it to be!

"What will people think of me?” Recognising the real fears of real runners

"What will people think of me?”   Recognising the real fears of real runners

In my last blog I wrote about getting goosebumps when trying to choose the right event for 2016.  I got an amazing response to this blog and even had one of the Go Runners suggest that the idea of a first marathon gave her goosebumps and that we start working towards that as a new goal.  AWESOME!!

Before we all get carried away, it is important to recognise that goosebumps are just the start…  Now the tough stuff starts.  Time to overcome all of those real but hidden fears that we put in the way of ourselves when training for these events.  This blog is about recognising those fears. 

Even as a coach, I am not somehow immune to these fears.  In fact, I am one of those people that wants to be good at something before they try it.  This means that if i don’t think i will be good at it, I either don’t do it, or it takes A LOT of persuasion to get me to try.  This has been the case with numerous sports, from swimming as a kid, through to pilates as an adult, even my running has required a lot of work on this front.  My mum will tell anyone who cares to listen about my swimming lessons as a kid and how much I hated them, because I wanted to be able to swim already.  I don’t remember those very well (selective memory perhaps??) but I do remember signing up to train with a local football team in the UK one summer and being so petrified of going to training that I pretended to be sick, hid upstairs and refused to leave the house.  Now, lets get one thing very clear. I loved my football.  I played all day and watched it most evenings.

So why the drama?

I was absolutely petrified of not being good enough and of what people might think of me.

I can’t even dismiss this fear as being something that I only had as a kid, because I still care what people think.  I remember it took almost a year of persuading and waiting for me to try pilates, which I now love.  I remember putting off my first parkrun in Melbourne for weeks, whilst my wife, Kathryn went, raved about it and met some of the best friends we have ever had.  I have now done over 100 parkruns.  I have no doubt that I am getting better but Kathryn keeps telling me that I still care too much about what other people think.  I am a work in progress…..aren’t we all?

Over the past three months I have been doing a lot of listening to the runners I coach and others, hoping to understand more about some of the fears that exist for real people around their running. I have heard stories that really do make me sad.  Fears like...