Getting a coach

I did something radical in November, something that I thought I’d never do because I just didn’t need to. I got a coach. Even now it feels a little odd saying that, after all I’m a qualified coach myself with plenty of experience, so why do I need a coach? Well let me explain.

I’m not one for cheesy motivational quotes or sharing inspirational words on Instagram but I do have a few personal mantras to help guide me through this crazy world and the following is in the top 3 – “stupidity is doing the same thing twice and expecting a different result”. Last summer I found myself writing weekly training plans and then consistently struggling to complete even 50% of the plan. Not because I physically couldn’t, but rather I wasn’t able to hold myself to account as I had in the past to be disciplined in getting the sessions done.

With this on my doorstep I wanted to be fit enough again to be able to go on adventures
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I’m not lost I’m having an adventure

There are many clichés about following your dreams “life’s too short” “this is not a rehearsal” etc, or my personal favourite “just fucking do it”. Well that’s exactly what we’re doing, I found myself a new job near Swansea and we’re in the throws of relocating from Wiltshire to the Brecon Beacons. Searching out a life lived more outside, in beautiful countryside and maybe even at some point in the future not involving an office (or at least not everyday). Right now the reality of that move is me living in an Airbnb Monday to Friday until our house move completes in the hopefully not too distant future. Let the adventure begin!

Fuelled by the adrenaline and excitement of being here and actually bloody doing what we’ve talked about for years I decided take advantage of not having family responsibilities in the evening and head into the Brecon Beacons for an evening run. I thought I’d keep it simple to begin with, a couple of hours post work in an area where I did my navigation course 2 years ago.

With map in hand and a pack full of the essentials for running in the hills I headed up the Beacons Way from the car full of the joys of a glorious summer evening. Not knowing at that point that it would be significantly more than a couple of hours before I’d be back there again. […]

The no plan training plan

Sometimes you need to push yourself to stick to a training plan and get through a tough period. Sometimes, however, you need to listen to your body and mind and back off. This is one of those times. I’ve never been a prolific racer but the whole idea of taking part in a race at the moment doesn’t motivate me at all. The discipline of training and then the hassle of race day just to get a medal doesn’t appeal nor does religiously following a training plan.

Maybe I’m a bit jaded from such an intense 6 months last year building up to my Ironman? Whatever it is I’m currently using the no plan training plan. I don’t have a colourful table on my fridge telling me what I’m doing each day, instead I’m just doing what I feel like (or don’t feel like for that matter). I’m still trying to train as a triathlete and do all 3 sports each week I’m just doing so without feeling I HAVE to get the sessions done. It’s really quite refreshing.

Enjoying the view rather than worrying about the pace

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barbury castle

Stop, re-calibrate and listen

Wednesday last week we all sat around the breakfast table feeling very sorry for ourselves. None of us wanted to be out of bed, none of us wanted to be heading out into the dark and cold to work/school/childcare. I had tonsillitis, my wife had a throat infection, our youngest had an ear infection and the older 2 children coughs and colds. I think we lead a healthy life, we get lots of exercise and fresh air, we generally eat well with lots of fresh fruit and veg but this winter has been pretty darn miserable.

In these busy modern lives that we lead it can be hard to stop and rest, I work in finance and being off at month end isn’t really an option. So I ploughed through it and then crashed for 2 days afterwards as my body screamed at me to rest. But rest and listen to our bodies we must, especially if we are endurance athletes who at some point this season want to try and push our bodies. There is no point pushing on with sessions when sick, better to recover properly and quickly.

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Training with YouTube

I don’t like gyms. In fact I might go so far as to say I hate them. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll see photos of sunrises and muddy trails not selfies with a latte as I leave my morning yoga class. In fact I’m not even sure there is anywhere within a 10 mile radius of where I live that I could go to for some pre-work Pilates. But despite all that incorporating some strength training and stretching into your week is very important and a good way to help prevent injury.

Fitting it in isn’t easy, especially if you have to work around a class schedule at your local gym/leisure centre plus normal life commitments. My training budget is limited so I have to make the best use of it that I can which is where YouTube comes in. A quick search for yoga or strength workouts will give you an almost unlimited choice of videos to follow on demand from the comfort of your own home. Personally I think this is a great way to get your strength training done during the week and takes away one more excuse for not doing it.

With that in mind I thought I’d share a few of my favourites that I use all the time, you can also find a strength and conditioning playlist on my YouTube channel here.

Yoga for runners – Ekhart yoga

This is my go to video whenever I feel I need to stretch. At 20 minutes long it’s short and to the point and easy to do once I’ve go the kids to bed in the evening. Plus of course being able to enjoy a Savasana at the end!

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