Running

The mind games we play when getting back into running

The mind games we play when getting back into running

It’s 5:30 AM.  I roll over and think, “I can’t be bothered.”  

I’ve got a slight hangover after one too many wines last night, but I’m trying to get back into a routine of exercising regularly.  The battle rages in my slightly hazy head.  

"Do I get up and run, or do I stay here in bed and potentially feel guilty about it for the rest of the day?"  

No movement.  No movement in the rest of the house either.  Not even the dog wants to go out, and she probably needs to pee more than I do.  

"Why is this so difficult?  I hate feeling like this.  Just get up and go!  This was so easy 6 weeks ago!"

"Did I get my shoes and running gear together last night?…. No.  Eurgh.  It’s too difficult.  I’m going to leave it.  Oh come on…"

….and so the battle rages until I decide one way or the other.  To run or not to run, that is the question.

It’s a rubbish and emotionally exhausting way to start a day, but it’s the way that so many people start theirs.  Welcome to unstructured training and time off for the Type A runner!  After 6 months of solid training, dedication and commitment, with almost no morning procrastination, now is the time for rest and recharge, but like many runners after their big race, I feel like this.

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: 'How to Translate Running Chat - 9 phrases you need to know'

Even as a running coach, I get frustrated with 'running chat’ at times. As runners, we seem to have developed our own language, which nobody outside of running knows about.  This guest post on the Tri Chicks website is designed to help you translate some of the main phrases that you may hear from other runners.  Head over to the awesome Tri Chicks website and check out my guest post on this issue.  

Happy learning! 

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.

Guest Post: Running form - Head Position

The awesome guys at Nokkon have done a list of 10 things to consider with your running form. This post is number 6 on the list and focuses on one of the least considered areas of running form, I believe, head position.  

When we think about running form, head position is often towards the bottom of the list of things we look at, but it is actually very important for our body alignment, as well as our overall attitude.

Head over to the awesome Nokkon website to check out this contribution. 

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.

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!

"Do you think I need a training plan?"

"Do you think I need a training plan?"

Training plans are a hot topic amongst athletes and runners in particular.  As a coach I provide personalised training plans for my runners and I also answer my fair share of questions about training plans from friends, family and other runners. In fact, I was asked this seemingly simple question by a beginner runner in an email a couple of weeks ago:  

"Do you think I need a training plan?”

She was looking to improve her 5km time over the coming months and was weighing up whether a training plan would work for her.  At first this seems like a no-brainer for a running coach to answer. Yes.  Simple.  But actually it is nowhere near as easy as that.  I wish!  

Go Run Australia is still young, but even in this first year, I have noticed a few things about who responds best to training plans and who is sometimes better off doing their own thing.  I have no problems with either way.  I have plenty of close friends who would never dream of getting a running coach and are improving and enjoying their running regardless.  For others, with the help of a coach, they have improved beyond what they thought possible and are getting the personal best times that they were after. It is a very individual thing.

One of those people who is continuing to go from strength to strength with the help of a training plan is Sally.  When I asked her what she thought of her Go Run training plan, she said, 

“Loving it! Structure and routine is great for me and being accountable to someone.  I don't have to think or stress about my training plan now!” 

For me, as a runner I have personally made greater progress than I thought possible with the help of a coach and a tailored, individual training plan.  There is no way I would have been able to complete 2 Ironmans, 2 half Ironmans, get half marathon and marathon PB’s in the last 2 years without it.  

So what can I genuinely, honestly advise people who are asking this question,"Do I need a training plan?”  

Are my shin splints frustrating? "**** yes!!"

Are my shin splints frustrating?  "**** yes!!"

A few weeks ago when I asked people what the number one challenge for beginner runners was, several people responded with injuries of various types.  Amongst the most popular (wrong word, I know!) was the dreaded shin splints.  As I promised at the time, I will be following up on your responses and getting opinion and expertise to help us overcome these challenges for beginner runners.  So, I asked Sally Maple from Port Melbourne Physio and Pilates to give me some expert advice on shin splints, what they are, why they occur and how we can treat them.  Here goes….

So what are shin splints?

"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!

" ...and then #FlywithGus was all over Facebook”

" ...and then #FlywithGus was all over Facebook”

This week I met a woman of true awesomeness for lunch (yes awesomeness is a word).   I love meeting up with Leigh.  I always come away with something random to research, a new book to read, a new run to try, a new restaurant to visit and usually a headache after drinking one too many long black coffees.  

I think Leigh and I have similar approaches to our running.  Yes, there is a competitive element which we both relish, but there is a release, a calm and an element of self development that comes with running, which we truly enjoy.  I met Leigh through my local parkrun (Albert Melbourne parkrun) and she has been a great supporter to me as I set up Go Run.  She was actually the first person to ever wear a Go Run running t-shirt!   Over the past couple of years, I have watched her 5km times tumble, her friendship group grow and her running horizons expand, whilst also watching her go through a lot with the illness of her son, Gus.  

Gus passed away at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne a week after last years 'Run for the Kids' event.  Whilst at RCH, Gus spent time in several different wards, ICU for 3 months, Sugar Glider for 6 months and his final 2 months in Kelpie. He was a much loved patient and constantly astounded everyone with his good humour and resilience at every turn. Gus, Leigh and their family were exposed to many carers - doctors, nurses and just about every type of allied health worker. They cared for Gus as if he was their own child. They doted over him and appreciated every small milestone of his treatment as well as consistently showing generosity of spirit, selflessness and tenderness over many months.  All of this helped Gus, Leigh and their family through the darkest parts of their hospital experience.

The 2016 'Run for the Kids' is now only a couple of months away and Leigh is on a mission to raise $20,000 for the Royal Children’s Hospital, because of the extraordinary care the staff provided to her son in 2014 and 2015.  Under the banner of ‘Fly with Gus,’ the #flywithgus hashtag is now all over Facebook and their story is in the Herald Sun and on the Run for the Kids website.  There are now 30 runners who have joined the #flywithgus team to run the 16km course and it looks as though this number is going to keep growing.  Whilst a ‘Leigh on a roll’ is a force to be reckoned with, I think even she has been surprised with the generosity of her running friends and the wider running community.   Over our lunch, the phrases “but they didn’t need to do that” or “and I barely know him/her” kept on cropping up as examples of generous runners who are now supporting the #flywithgus cause in one way or another.

"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...