My very first post on my new venture…
I am on a journey to take on two of the hardest races the world has to offer, on my journey I want to share my story and also help inspire people to think big and go for something they think is impossible.
Sometimes life throws some curve balls at you and you have to take a step back and re evaluate what is going on around you. This may be your work, social life or even family life – I have been reading “The Chimp Paradox” which has many mind blowing sections about how the brain functions and how to deal with certain situations. In the book it explains that life is not easy, easy is boring. If there was no challenges in life then life would be easy and therefore we would lack sense of achievement.
Achievement is relative to every individual, completing a 5k, 10k, half marathon or marathon could be an end goal for someone and this journey may take some time, but it is the sense of achievement and accomplishment that fills us with joy. Setting yourself a goal and a target I feel is a fundamental part in growing yourself as a person or an athlete and these goals are organic and move with you as your progress. The goal becomes bigger and the pay off bigger.
Learn from your mistakes and understand your body
On my journey i didn’t become and endurance athlete over night, my journey started three years ago. Fed up of my sedentary boring life i made the choice to train for an Olympic distance triathlon. I gave myself 3 months to go from a over weight chef to a triathlete. This journey was tough and I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, i read so much information about how to train like a triathlete that i was so confused with what training to do. I went into the triathlon in good shape as i had been doing so much training, but mentally exhausted with all the stuff i had to think about it. This was my first lesson I learnt. Don’t over think.
After my first triathlon things escalated quite quickly, little did i know that the UK triathlon season was coming to an end and wanted to cram in as many races as i could. I signed up for a half ironman, a duathlon, then on my birthday signed up for an 86 mile ultra marathon. My mentality was, how hard can it be and theres only one way to find out. I was always looking for the next challenge, this was a big move of the goal posts, i have always been someone to jump in at the deep end and see if i would sink or swim.
Learn from your mistakes and understand your body: I made a big mistake going into this ultra marathon and running the race. This was a pivotal point in my endurance career and a race that really set me on the right path of self discovery. I went into the race with a small niggle which would end up getting worse over 86 miles of savage hills. This race taught me a very harsh lesson on how not to run a race, listen to your body and get your training right. You learn from your mistakes right!? In short I ran the race like an idiot, i ran the first 40 miles in under 8 hours, then the wheels came off and I had to walk the second half. My body was telling me to stop but my mind was urging me to go on. I completed the race, but was in bits. I had torn both calfs and ruptured the lower part of my hamstrings on both legs. This left me pissing into a bucket with the help of my dad for the next 4 days! The lessons I learnt on this race have stuck with me for the rest of my training and race days. I have compiled a little list to hopefully guide you and inspire you, so you can learn from my mistakes. By following these principles I went back the following year to do the same race, finishing 3 hours faster and could walk to the pub after.
- Don’t get bogged down by training schedules – if your not feeling it or your tired give yourself a break from your schedule and do some mobility or strength work.
- Strength and conditioning work is key to any athlete. I thought in a very immature way and neglected the fundamentals – my thought process was if your going to do a running race then you just need to put the miles in! WRONG! Train the key muscle groups to support you on these long runs.
- Don’t confuse yourself with nutrition – Nutrition plays a massive part in your training and race day prep. It depends on what level your are competing at, but don’t confuse yourself with the fancy things that will not will give you marginal gains. Start with getting the basics right. Eat a healthy balanced diet and fuel your body correctly. Once you have this sorted, your body will function correctly then you can start to introduce more fancy products.
- Enjoy your training – Find ways to mix up your training. If you need to do a long run why not get a train out in one direction and run back to the house instead of doing the same loop. With air bnb taking over every corner of the world, there are endless places you can go for a very cheap weekend away.
- Reasons for doing the race – Understand the reasons as to why you are doing the race, is it to raise money for charity, a personal journey, to win, a time.
- Have a healthy work, social and training balance – Make time to train, but also make time to have a good work and social life. By understanding the reason you are doing the race you will be able to put things into perspective easier.
- Why – The races I enter i don’t enter to win, i do them to test my body and see how far mentally I can push myself. Dont get me wrong I push myself to my limits and if a race win or podium is there I will go for it. My mentality is if i dont hit my target or goal, then i look back after the race and see what went wrong and where I can improve. You are not going to get things spot on first time. You do these races because you enjoy a certain aspect of it – you need to find out what that is.
- Create an immoveable goal – Book into that race or event and give yourself something to aim for. This will give you the motivation to train and eat well as you wont want to disappoint yourself or others on race day.
Here is a link to the race report – Race Report
I will be updating my blog with advice on nutrition, training tips, races and much more…