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I love running, I love the outdoors, I'm learning to love triathlon and I'm passionate about getting people moving and showing them what their bodies are capable of. I'm an office working dad of 3 who understands the challenge of a work life balance and it's impact on exercise. But who knows the importance of being active for both body and mind and wants to show others how awesome it is to be a runner. Come and run with me!
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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!
Have I mentioned that I did an Ironman? I’ve certainly managed to shoehorn the subject into most social conversations over the past 2 weeks and of course used my race backpack for tri club swim practise. It does feel like it happened in a different life time though and I’m sure if I tried to run a marathon today I’d fail miserably. Can your fitness evaporate in 2 weeks of rest?!
Post race rest
I’ve consciously given myself lots of rest since race day, I’ve focused on refuelling (and yes cake and beer counts as refuelling) and generally giving my body and mind a well deserved break. But as I pass the 2 weeks post race mark I can feel that I’m hitting the danger zone, the one where you start to feel tired and lethargic all the time and can’t quite comprehend that 2 weeks ago you were at peak fitness. If you’re not careful you become a grumpy, irritable and low on motivation. I think my wife would confirm that I’m definitely in that zone!
I can feel myself getting twitchy, inevitable when you complete a goal you’ve worked towards for so long. The post race blues would be another way to describe it, good to give yourself a break but at some point you need a new focus ,whatever that is, rather than going cold turkey. I will always be a runner and love just heading out with no pace or distance goal, but I also know that having some sort of goal is a good thing for me.
This time last week I had just finished The Lakesman iron distance triathlon. Writing that feels a little surreal, did it actually happen? Did I actually finish an Ironman? Well this large piece of slate says I did so it must be true!
It’s always a weird feeling when you complete a big race or challenge, something you’ve been working towards and dreaming of for a long time. I’ve spent every Sunday night for the past 30 weeks planning how to fit my training in around family and work life, every time we made weekend plans my first thought was always ‘does it stop me doing my long ride?’. Commitment and obsession are definitely the required values of a wannabe ironman.
Why The Lakesman?
The logic went something like this; an Ironman is going to involve pain and suffering so if I’m going to do one I might as well do it in a location that inspires me. I’m a trail runner at heart and there are few towns as closely intertwined in trail running history as Keswick. Having a course that went past most of those famous peaks seemed just perfect. How could you ever choose Bolton instead?
Add to that a reasonable entry fee (£275 – still a lot of money to do a race of course, but given what’s required to put on a race like this I’m sure justified), incredibly positive feedback from the inaugural race last year and a race ethos that focused on the athletes and not the brand and I think you have a winning package. Read more about The Lakesman race review
My ironman training hit a bit of a bump at the end of March, a couple of weeks where I didn’t hit my training sessions and to be honest lost the motivation to much training at all. Training for something like this requires such commitment and personal investment from both a time and mental perspective that if you don’t get everything right in your week from a non training perspective then it makes it very hard to get the training piece right.
There is another triathlon, even more important than swim/bike/run, that must be in balance if you want to be able to hit the paces and distances that your plan dictates. That triathlon is family/work/training and as I’ve discovered you can only do the last one well if the first two disciplines leave you with the mental and physical energy you need. I’m trying to do 11-12 hours of training a week at the moment and I’ve learnt that as Monday evening ticks around again and I head for my swim session that this triathlon has to line up well if I’m going to get my 3 runs, 3 bikes and 2 swims completed. There is some leeway in the week for moving sessions around but not much and only 1 rest day to play with. Not easy but then neither is an Ironman!
I don’t have a physically demanding job but I do manage people and that can be very mentally draining at times, which is ok if you just want to go for a nice run after work to clear your head but not so much when you need to do a 1 hour turbo session and then get up at 5.20am then next day for a 1 hour run.
I have 3 small children (2, 4 and 6) so the family aspect of this triathlon can definitely be physically and mentally draining. As any parent knows you can feel utterly exhausted as you collapse into the sofa in the evening once all your children are finally asleep and the house is tidy. My wife and I have a great partnership and know that we both need our time to train (she’s training for a sprint triathlon currently) so we find a way to fit it in but that doesn’t of course mean the quality is there. Read more about The real triathlon
This week is week 16 of my 30 week Ironman training plan which means I’m officially into the 2nd half of the plan. That sentence is both scary and exciting in equal measure. I’m now closer to the end of the plan than the start! Embarking on week 1 of this plan way back in November the race felt an awfully long way away, now it feels frightening close. But now is not the time to panic, you must trust in the process and the plan you have chosen. But it is a good time to reflect for a moment on the progress you’ve made.
Strava tells the truth
Training for an Ironman is all consuming, it’s relentless, tiring, intense and just plain hard. Some weeks have felt great, others a washout. Work and life have very rudely got in the way on a number of occasions, times when you have to remind yourself that you’re doing this for fun and training isn’t your first priority even if secretly you wish it was. Despite feeling like I’ve missed a few sessions when I look back at my training log on Strava I’ve still been doing at least 6 hours training since the start and into double figures consistently now. Easily the most training I’ve ever done and I should remember how much of an achievement that is in itself having started a new job in January and with 3 little monsters at home. Read more about Half way to Ironman – half way to hell?