How to run a marathon PB, even when you fly 200,000km, in 45 flights, in economy!

How to run a marathon PB, even when you fly 200,000km, in 45 flights, in economy!

Almost two weeks ago, someone I have coached for 5 months, Scott (aka Dr. Scott), ran a personal best time of 3 hours 41 minutes in the Gold Coast Marathon.  It was his 7th marathon and 4th attempt to PB at the distance after an outstanding first marathon effort back in October 2010.  To say I am stoked is a MASSIVE understatement!


Now, running one marathon is impressive.  Running seven marathons is really impressive.  Running your fastest of all seven, by 73 seconds is super impressive, but none of this comes even close to the real story here….

During the 5 months that Scott and I have been working together on this marathon preparation, Scott has flown over 200,000 kilometers, on 45 separate flights to far flung places like China, Germany, Korea, Brazil, Netherlands, Portugal and more!   

That is more than 5 times around the world!  All in economy!  Whilst marathon training…Craziness!

WHY does Barack Obama find time for basketball??

WHY does Barack Obama find time for basketball??

Have you seen those videos and pictures of Barack Obama playing basketball with friends and college players?  I remember looking at them and thinking A. Wow! He’s actually pretty decent and B. How the **** does he find the time to do that?!?!?  He’s the President of the United States!!  Not only that, but every morning when in Washington, Obama hits the gym between 7:30 and 8:30, alternating cardio days and weights days.* Impressive, right?

This last couple of weeks, I have noticed so many people talking about how little time they have to run.  It has brought back memories of a cringe-worthy conversation that I had with a CEO, when I lived in Belgium 6 years ago.  I was chatting to the CEO of one of the biggest hospital trusts in England about her running......

How to stop runners 'bonking', or hitting the wall

Have you ever 'hit the wall' in a race? Not a great feeling is it?

I recently chatted to ExecutiveStyle about late race fatigue and some things to consider when looking to beat the dreaded 'bonk'!  Thanks very much to Laura Hill for the interview and write up.  

Check it out here.

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.

From Injury to 5km PB!

Returning from injury is not easy.  It can be frustrating, annoying and tests our patience to the limit.  It was great to chat to Jane recently about how she has gone from serious injury to 5km personal best times by training consistently.  I loved this quote in particular...

"The first few weeks were hard, but you just have to get out there and do it!  

Jane has come back from a stress fracture in her foot, to running with confidence again and smashing personal best times at her local parkrun in Melbourne! Jane talks me through what she thinks of her Go Run training plan and how she keeps consistently training despite lots of travel with her work, by telling herself to " just get out there and do it."  She also shares some of the awesome events that she is considering for 2016. 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!

"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...

"I just want to get fit and stop getting injured"

 I hear this phrase from runners all the time... 

"I just want to get fit and stop getting injured."  

Particularly at this time of year, we have a tendency to go too hard into a new fitness routine, too soon.  There is no quicker way to undo all of your hard work, than getting injured, and trust me, getting injured sucks!  The mere thought of it was enough to persuade me to do a short 5 minute video talking to Physiotherapist Sally Maple about running injuries and how to prevent them. I ask her about areas to watch out for and stretches and exercises to help keep you injury free.  

Click below!

Use the power of goosebumps to find YOUR event in 2016

Use the power of goosebumps to find YOUR event in 2016

If you are anything like me, the Christmas break has meant a quadrupling of my food and alcohol intake, accompanied by many reflections on the year that has gone, discussions about what races I enjoyed, questions about whether I am actually any fitter this time around and bold predictions for the new year.  As runners, this is usually accompanied by animated conversations with friends and planning around events and races that we want to sign up for.  

With so many events on the running calendar these days and entry costs going through the roof, it is becoming tricky (and expensive) to decide which event is actually the right event for you.  I see so many people sign up for events that they don’t really want to do and / or have little motivation to do well in.  

I want you to use the power of goosebumps to avoid that!

I have just gone through this process having had a pretty great 2015, with PB’s at half marathon, marathon and half ironman distances, as well as my first ever Ironman.  However, I struggled to find the right event to sign up for 2016.  You know, the one event that keeps you motivated and gets you out of bed in the morning when you really don’t feel like it.   

Read on to get a little insight into my slightly quirky, random thought process, when deciding to sign up for Ironman New Zealand and how this can help you pick the right event for you in 2016.

Dealing with taper time

Dealing with taper time

Many of you will be lining up to start your races at the Melbourne Marathon Festival in less than two weeks time.  Congratulations on getting this far!  You will mostly have gone through the tough, long preparation for the 10km, half marathon or marathon distances and now entering a taper period, to freshen you up for race day.  This is a weird and wonderful couple of weeks where things are more likely to go wrong than right.  Many people can derail their races during this period, so I thought it would be useful to run through five 'race ready' tips with to help keep you focused and ready to roll when you get to the start line in under two weeks time.

Here goes...

Why did I get a coach?

Why did I get a coach?

In the lead up to my first Boston Marathon I spent hours poring over running training plans.  I would take elements of each plan and change my own plans for the next day, week and month.  Sounds like good, adaptive, evidence informed work, right?   Yeah, but no, but…

This constant adaptation became over-complicated, obsessive and wasteful.   The need to adapt stemmed from my tendency to over-think things, and the need to know that I was doing the right training.  The problem was that I simply didn’t know.  I didn’t know what was right for me and couldn’t distinguish the advice, supposed evidence and opinion from the thousands of resources available through Dr. Google.  I was paralysed with too much information and wasted a lot of valuable time and energy worrying about it.