Uncover your inner athlete!

Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be eaten.. Each morning in Africa a lion awakes - it knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve.

No matter if you are the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up you had better be running!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fighting the Big Body Squad

In the spirit of fighting back against the scourge that is obesity, I again choose to focus on this topic.

I was watching an amazing program last night called ‘Bigbody squad’ that highlighted the super obese in the UK and how the public health care system is having to make extremely costly changes and amendments to its facilities in order to accommodate these people and ensure that they are able to be moved. Having regular people over 200KG is not normal in any country.

Ambulances are having to be reinforced to carry the weight of these folks and one of the fastest growing industries in the UK is now producing and selling devices that can be used to move these folks around. One business reported that in a downturn he was growing by 400%. That is really unheard of and although I don’t begrudge him and his workers making money, surely the fact that so many are that overweight is a grave concern.

Tax payers are naturally funding all of this when the hard truth is that this is all very preventable if people would just move more, eat less and consume healthier foods. It really is not rocket science and is something  that I have personally done in turning my life around, so I fail to believe that others can’t follow my very simple steps to attain the same results.

It seems though that we are fixed on quick results and are not prepared to do anything the hard way even when it comes to the most important thing in our lives – our health.

If you do anything today, I urge you to get up out of that chair and step out the door.

Running together (while beating back obesity for life), stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Obesity - Have we stopped caring?

The following report by Monash University in Australia highlights some frightening statistics regarding the ever growing problem of obesity in Australia.

I encourage you to visit the link and read the full report, but a few shockers include:
  • ·     14 million Australians are currently classed as being overweight or obese. That is more than half the population of this country.·         If the current levels of weight gain continue in the population then by 2025 close to 80% of adults (8 out of 10) will be overweight or obese.
  • ·         Obesity has overtaken smoking as the premature cause of death and illness in Australia – translation: We are eating ourselves to an early grave!

Clearly something that we all need to sustain life (ie. Food) has become one of our biggest stumbling blocks. Caring for these obese folks also puts a massive drain on the health system when those doctors and nurses could be being used to assist in stamping out other illness.

Normal average sizes have gone up and up to the point that now I understand that 36” waist for men is normal and size 16-18 for ladies is ‘average’.  My measly 28” waist gets laughed out of stores when I have tried to buy jeans. Seems suppliers just don’t make my size anymore.

Those that know me know that ever since I lost 40kgs and broke a family cycle of weight problems and obesity, I have dedicated myself to helping others to fight back and lose weight to. I outlined my story in my recent book and for me the answer has become that I have taught myself not to even walk down aisles in the supermarket that stock sweets, soft drinks and other junk food. These aisles don’t exist to me.

My ethos is if you don’t buy junk you won’t eat junk and you don’t become junk!

Clearly it is not so easy for others. This is where the government could step in with a junk food tax with the money collected on this going towards education programs, but also more importantly helping to make healthy fresh food affordable to all.

Many it seems though have given up on things and resigned themselves to just getting bigger and bigger. I keep fighting though and spreading the word. Don’t give up. I beat it – you can to!

Running together (while beating obesity), stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller

Monday, December 10, 2012

Correlation between wealth and being overweight

Having grown up in Africa, I am well aware of the fact that in tribal culture, a larger person (ie. A fat person) is synonymous with wealth). The larger you are, the higher up the pecking order you are seen to be as you don’t have to work as a labourer or a warrior.

How does this relate then to western (so-called civilised) society then? I would say that it mirrors quite nicely the tribal society. How many CEOs of big corporations or Managing Directors do you know that are overweight?   From my own experience with these people, I would say that it would be around 85% of those in high ranking positions that I know.

Why is this the case? Surely these folks have ample wealth to be able to afford healthy balanced food and even to afford access to personal trainers, gyms, nutritionists and other health and wellbeing tools.

Did these folks just become lazy or is it that they only care about money and nothing else? This is really sad though as with all the money in the world, we are not  going to be around to enjoy it so long as we neglect the most important thing in our lives (ie. Our health).

Anyone can turn their lives around and get on to a path of health and wellbeing instead of just obsessing over money and waiting for the box. I am living proof of change having lost 40Kgs.

Please share your stories. Let’s help build an obese free society for the next generation.

Running together (while building an obese free generation), stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller

Friday, December 7, 2012

The suit that killed the inner athlete

This post is highly controversial, but I feel it needs to be put out there to provoke thought amongst those who may be affected by the syndrome without even knowing about it.

Have you ever noticed that the moment you (or a mate) attain a so-called proper job in an office or the city, your fitness slips dramatically? Ever felt that you couldn't/ didn't want to do the physical things that you had been able to at school or college? Find those that were really sporty just a short time prior suddenly lose interest or find that they suddenly need a personal trainer to get them fit when they were able to do it all themselves previously?

Talking this over with several friends and people at my gym I am starting to think that there is a direct link between working in a suit and losing fitness/interest in sport. It certainly happened to me when I was living and working in the City in London.

I transformed from someone who was willing and able to give most physical challenges a go to someone who at times found it hard to walk up stairs. At the peak of my fatness (opposite of fitness) I sweated profusely and was a mess really. But enough about me.

We could ponder all the while why this would be the case, but I put it squarely down to the fact that the inner athlete inside all of us is ruined as a result of putting on a suit. But this need not be the case if we monitor things carefully.

I have personally found that with a little discipline and willingness to either get out of bed a little earlier to train (training after work only works for very few in my experience) or to actually take some time to exercise at lunchtime then you can counteract the advance of unfitness and the spare tyre that invades the midriff of many office workers.

Nutrition is also important – discipline yourself to avoid the lolly and cookie jar and instead go with the fruit and vegetables if a snack is needed.

Staying fit in a suit is possible if you are willing to exert some effort.

Running together (while not letting the suit kill the inner athlete), stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Refocusing and remotivating

It is extremely disturbing to hear that so many people are having their employment terminated recently. This is obviously market cycles and really nothing that these folks can or could do about it except move on and refocus their energy.

Most of us have faced this scenario in our lifetimes and indeed I got the flick on my 30th birthday. I was training hard towards my first Comrades Marathon and had high hopes about the race.

Looking back that seems like a lifetime ago and indeed many times job termination can be a gift. It allowed me to refocus completely on what it is that is really important in life (this is something I have heard from many others who faced similar scenarios). Crossing the finishline at Comrades 2009 was important to me as it not only proved that I was stronger than my circumstances, but the love, spirit and camaraderie of the event helped me forget my own selfish circumstances and focus on what I could do to not only better myself but also on what I could do for others.

My full story of transformation is available in my book TheUrban Warrior – More than just an existence, which also captures my journey from fat to fighting fit again.

Unemployed? Recently got the flick? Rid the resentment and focus on getting fit and getting your life back. Find a physical challenge and work towards it. Completing it is one of the quickest ways of regaining self-esteem and confidence.

Open the window and take a deep breath – What’s that you are smelling? Opportunity!!! Step outside and embrace it!

I’d love to hear your stories here.

Running together (while refocusing and remotivating), stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller

Monday, December 3, 2012

Maintaining fitness over the festive season

Keeping fit over the festive season

I was reading an extremely concerning piece that said that your average Australian will gain between 3.5 and 6Kgs during the December and festive period. With some people (including professional athletes) gaining up to 10KG. This is an enormous amount of weight to gain in just a couple of weeks and the strangest thing is that most don't find the fact that they put on weight weird, they find the fact that anyone would be training and restraining themselves over this period to be weird. 

Gluttony and greed is essentially something that has only been around a relatively short space of time and probably really only from the Edwardian times. 

Why do we find it acceptable to  over indulge over the festive season? Being someone who has done so in the past, I can only say that it may have something to do with human greed and the fact that if it is there, we should eat it. Sometimes it is pure boredom to - what shall we do during the holidays? How about we eat and drink until we explode?

Socialising this festive season around something other than food will go a long way towards keeping your weight down. Keep the portions small, go for walks, go for runs, keep up the swimming or the gym but for heavens sake don't be idl or you will regret it again in January.

Running together (while eating reasonable portions) stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Running from hunger

Normally I don’t do too many book reviews or product endorsements, but every once in a while one comes across a book that is really good and that provokes some thought in me and is worth sharing with readers.

This week I reviewed a book called The Gold Mine Effect byRasmus Ankersen, an ex-professional footballer from Denmark who took a career sabbatical to go in search of real meaning of talent and why some small and at times inhospitable areas on earth continue to produce champions in certain sports while the west with all the money, comforts and technology can’t replicate this success.

To achieve his goal, the author goes to live and train with athletes in the mountains of East Africa (long distance running), the streets of Brazil (football), ghettos of Jamaica (sprinting) and in rural Russia (ladies tennis). The realisation that he arrives at is that the reason that the west can’t or won’t reach these levels is because they quite simply don’t ‘want it’ badly enough.

This desire to achieve is something that I also highlighted in my book ‘The urban warrior - more than just an existence. You see folks money can buy a lot of things, but it can’t buy hunger or hunger to succeed.

For alot of kids in these areas, sport is their only hope at a better life. There is no backup plan of going to university or learning a trade - they have one shot and therefore they throw the kitchen sink at it. Often their parents are alot harder on them than western parents where we still tend to pander to kids needs and let them get away with murder while buying them everything that they need. For many kids there is no mummy and daddy to buy them a computer or video games and other junk - they may want such things but know that they have to first probably train until they fall over to earn money to buy it themselves.

Running together (while hopefully not pandering to kids), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Glorified adult babysitting

This morning on conclusion of my run, I found my way to the gym. Nothing unusual about this as I often fine my way there to stretch and do some core work after the run itself.

Now one sees all sorts of different ways of working out while at the gym, but I witnessed what has to be one of the strangest this morning with one of the personal trainers just sitting next to her client as he lay on the floor and chatted to him for the entire 40 minutes that their session went for. He then handed over his money to her and they said goodbye.

This has got to be the easiest money that that trainer could have earned if not that day then in her entire life. No - she was not helping him stretch - no, he didn’t have any devices or rollers under his back. Quite simply he just lay there.

I’m still dumbfounded at what appeared to be glorified adult babysitting.

Nice cash if you can get it I suppose.

Running together (while hopefully actually doing something), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tai chi and the run

This morning while out on my run, I witnessed something which at first seemed a little out of the ordinary but then the more I thought about it the more ordinary it became in my mind.

I saw a bloke practicing tai chi and passed him twice on my park loops. The third time round he had started running and was moving at a particularly good pace. His action was very smooth and he looked completely in control of things and totally in the zone.

Once we were level with one another I struck up a conversation by commenting on his tai chi moves. He replied by saying that he felt they were integral for helping to get his mind and body ready for the run ahead.

Overall he said that they also helped with balance and improving that which as we runners know is integral to achieving success on the run.

While I am not adverse to doing a little tai chi myself, I have never witnessed anyone doing it prior to running. Makes sense though when you think that mental enhancements assist with physical enhancements.

What are your thoughts?

Running together (while practicing tai chi), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Friday, November 16, 2012

The power of human kindness

This morning while out on my run I twice witnessed the power of the human kindness in action.

At first there was a gentleman out for his morning walk who chose to shield a young lady from the morning rain with his umbrella as she made her way from her exercise boot camp back to her car in the park. Many complain that chivalry is dead and others still maintain that now that men and women are on equal footing on all levels that this sort of thing should not even be happening.

Personally I prefer to just see it as the kindness of one person towards another.

The second act that I witnessed was on completion of my run I headed to a nearby cafe for a morning coffee and some toast. It turned out that I was 10c short and the young lady behind the counter was willingly to reach in to the tip jar and remove the coin to help me out. Similarly another lady coming from her gym workout also volunteered to help me out. Now naturally I was highly embarrassed and didn’t wish to accept this token however small as times as tough for everyone.

They waved away my protestations and I was soon on my way with my coffee and toast in hand. Another fine example of the kindness of the human spirit.

Now naturally tomorrow when I pass by I shall return the 10c to the tip jar with a little extra just to keep the harmony sweet in the world.

Running together (while keeping harmony sweet in the world), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

4,3,1 cycle session

Ever since training with Sean Williams Sweat Sydney squad, I have been introduced to a session that I hadn’t really done in the past, although I am finding it to be highly beneficial.

It involves running a 4KM off of a 20 minute cycle, 3KM off of a 15 minute cycle and then a 1KM flat out. If you finish in the allocated time then you jog for the rest of the time left in the cycle and then begin the next one. As always much easier to do this sort of session in a group where there are people to push you but highly beneficial.

This session appears tough the first time that you do it but as you improve you find that things are a lot more comfortable and the faster pace comes a little easier.

I have definitely learned a lot about my running through performing this session and will continue to do it regardless of where I end up in my running.

Try it - you may like it!

Running together (while counting the 4,3,1 cycle), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Monday, November 12, 2012

A new friend to run with

This morning as I was out running through the park at 5am I heard the panting of someone behind me. Now not being fully light yet I was on my guard as to who it could be.
Curiosity eventually got the better of me and turned round to find that my suspected mugger was in fact a border Collie out for its own run and tailing me. The dog set a handy pace and appeared to quite be enjoying its little jaunt around the park to the point that it must have run close to 5KM with me. It had clearly done this sort of thing previously.
Then just as I was trying to decipher what I would do with it if it were to follow me all the way home, it disappeared on its merry way.
One could say that its adventure had ended, but then again one could say that its adventure had only started. As the saying goes - On the run there is no finish line.
Running together (while being urged on by stray dogs), stride for stride on a life changing ride. -- Sean Muller

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

100m lactate repeats

This morning was a whole new ball game for me in a session the likes of which I haven’t done in a long time.
30x100m lactate hills off of a 1 minute cycle.

While obviously very good for building one nice and strong, it was nonetheless a session that I can’t really say that I enjoyed. With time and with repeating it the value will shine through, but this morning it was tough to see that part.

A rewarding session and better than staying bed.

Running together (while doing lactate runs), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Friday, November 2, 2012

Bucking the trend of - I can'ts

This morning I was happily out on my Friday run when I happened to strike up a conversation with a beginner at the park. His first utterance was 'I can't run 7KM'. I replied with 'Let's see how you get on'. 

Long story short and 7KM later he was just fine as we parted ways. I could see as I ran on that he was just pleased as punch with himself and rightly so. He had managed to conquer something that he believed was impossible. All of this before 7am in the morning. 

We just never know what we can achieve until we try. All to often the words 'I can't ' should be substituted for 'I am unwilling to try'. 

Running together (while encouraging folks to conquer fears), stride for stride on a life changing ride. -- Sean Muller

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Quality coaching

It is amazing what the presence of a good running coach can do to help one on the journey of running. 

Not since my sprinting days have I had access to a regular coach. All this changed this week when I joined one of Sydney's nicest running groups in Sean Williams Sweat group based out of Centennial Park. 

I have to be honest in saying that I have learned more in the last week about how to improve my running than what I have in the past couple of years. Amazing to see what a coach can pick up on and help you to improve on.

Now I am only part of the intermediate group, but am hopeful that I can improve my speed. Everyone can benefit from some analysis and changes we might not see in ourselves. Plus the group has been very welcoming of me. 

Good times!

Running together (while obtaining quality advice), stride for stride on a life changing ride. -- Sean Muller

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fighting back against obesity

Today I was reading that there are currently some 14 million Australians who are now being classed as being overweight or obese. This is an incredibly scary statistic to comprehend in a country of only about 22 million people this means that over half the population of Australia are overweight or obese.

We like most of the western world are eating ourselves literally to death.

All is not lost though - I know this because I fought my way back from sure obesity to lose 40kgs and get back my life. Making smarter nutrition choices and eating smaller portions is the key. Our bodies were not made to process copious amounts of processed and sugar laden junk foods. Remember it is very tough to overeat in terms of vegetables. The body simply will stop when it has had enough.

Get an hour of exercise each day - do something, anything - but move! Encourage the youth to and your kids to exercise and play sport. These are all simple things we can control, despite the fact that governments in their infinite wisdom are cutting finance to school sports programs while we face this epidemic.

Running together (while fighting back against obesity), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Spin to win

We have all often heard about the benefits of cross training to improve our running, keep us strong and to ensure one is keeping fit while not over training  Doing something else obviously also keeps one mentally sane and looking forward to again venturing out on the run. The growth in biathlon and triathlon and multisport combination events is testament to the fact that we as humans crave that variety in exercise in life.

Although I am a runner at heart, it makes no difference to me if you run, bike or power walk - merely that you are doing something to ward off obesity.

Spinning on a stationary bike for hours on end has not really held much of an attraction to me until very recently when a friend ran a very successful fast 14KM race off of only spinning training. How was he able to do this?

My belief is that the spinning was keeping him fit and that the race was not long enough to have warranted any longer conditioning runs. Other runners (far quicker than me) have also commented that a once a week spin hard spin session has significantly improved their leg turnover and many of them now build in a session on a spin bike post a long run much in the manner of triathlon brick session.

I started to do the same recently and although my longer runs in the week are only at about 22-24K at the moment, I am moving significantly quicker than I have in the past. The only change being that of the spin sessions.

I would love to hear from others their experiences with increased turnover.

Running together (while increasing leg turnover on the bike), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Age shall not wither them - 81 year old runners

Into my final couple of days in the old hood, I made my way up to the track which I love so much. Many miles have been run around that oval in the past couple of years and many new friends have been made through meeting other runners and boot campers.

This morning there appeared to be an older chap doing some laps and curious to find out just how old he might be, I ran with him as he moved along. Turns out that he is 81 years old. I almost fell over when he told me.

He wouldn’t have won any contests, but then again who cares - he is 81 years old and living proof that running at an old age (or any age for that matter) is by no means bad for you. To top things off he was running in a pair of shoes that looked like they had come straight out of the 1970s. Proof that it is really all marketing spin with regards to changing shoes every couple of hundred KMs.

What will we be doing at age 81? I sincerely hope that as many people as possible will be running and running well.

Running together (while observing some amazing older athletes), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Simple things on the run

This morning out on my normal 8K run I encountered a young boy out running with his father. Now the young bloke could not have been more than five and admittedly many five year olds in the west today would struggle to run long distances, but not this young chap. He had the biggest smile on his face and even his dad looked as proud as punch of him. And why wouldn't he be.

Nothing more simple, natural and healthy than a father spending quality time with his son out on the run. The young man was unconcerned about anything else bar having a good time with his father. Not a care in the world - just one foot in front of the other and happy days really.

Running together (while appreciating the simple things in life) - stride for stride on a life changing ride. -- Sean Muller

Monday, October 22, 2012

Caring friends

I haven't blogged in a little while but thought that it is time today.

Life has a funny way of taking turns that one doesn't see coming but that one can't really avoid. I have learned through the years  that for me indeed it is best to just listen to the signs and take it all in my stride and head in the direction of things. 

As many know, this week I am moving to the other side of town. Why? is the standard question. Not too sure why. I guess it is for a number of reasons. One being that I want to hang out wit some friends that I don't see nearly enough of.  Great running squads are another good incentive and of course being much closer to the beaches. 

Times like this really show me who my friends are and they have been coming through for me in spades. Offers of help with packing and moving and also with offers of gear once I get into the new place. Wow! How lucky am I?

The world is indeed a good place. 

Running together (while seeking out new opportunities), stride for stride on a life changing ride! Sean Muller

Thursday, October 18, 2012

New runs and new adventures

Shortly I’ll be packing up and moving suburbs.

Life has indeed been good to me in my current setup but the time has come for me to move on and so yesterday and today I have been getting in my last runs so that I can say goodbye to all my favourite routes before seeking out new favourite routes.

Change is always something that comes about in life, sometimes through force and sometimes voluntarily. For me this change is something that just feels right for me at this point in time. New adventures come when we least expect them and it is really the embrace of the change that determines how one adapts.

New routes - new adventures.

Running together (while discovering new adventures), stride for stride on a life changing ride. -- Sean Muller

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Daring to dream

Yesterday the world witnessed a moment in history that is unlikely to be repeated for some time to come. I refer of course to Austrian Felix Baumgartner’s leap from the edge of space. Now this has nothing to do with running, but everything to do with the power of fitness, self belief and not giving up on your goals in life. This man is supremely fit and dedicated 7 years of his life to being ready for that one day.

For those that are too young to have seen Armstrong’s walk on the moon, a new adventurer arose yesterday. One for a new generation to emulate.

Strange how in eras of uncertainly and turmoil like things were in the 1960s when the old record was set by General Joseph Kittinger there is a thirst for exploration and interest in activities like distance running where the body is pushed to the limit. Personally I think that such exploits are great. The world has not seen something like this in years and perhaps it may create interest in further exploration and a rediscovery of interest in space and conquering goals that are out there. Some merely for the sake of that they are there to conquer.

Running together (while conquering big goals and keeping fit), stride for stride on a life changing ride!-- Sean Muller.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Visitors from around the world

It is so pleasing to me that my humble blog has been attracting visitors from not only around Australia, but also around the world.

It is really rewarding that individuals from so many countries are interested in sharing in the joy and gifts that accompany running and a health and well being lifestyle. To have so many email into me and share their stories of joy and transformation of life on the run leads me always to reflect on my own journey and when it was in its infancy. So much goodness to be attained from this lifestyle and to influence others positively to do the same.

Happy Friday all - even from a rain sodden Sydney.

Running together (while uniting runners around the world), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Monday, October 8, 2012

Smiles on the morning run

This morning on my run I encountered something that I view as being unique.

There was a group of ladies out running and each of them had the broadest smiles and there was lots of laughing and banter going on in the bunch. Now they certainly weren’t the fastest group I have ever seen, but they seemed to be having the most amount of fun of any group that I had seen in many a month.

Smiles, laughter and happy times were the order of the day even through the bleak weather. They just seemed to be quite content to be out enjoying the fresh air together and enjoying life as friends.

A truly fantastic thing to see and I could only but wish them well when I caught them on the way back home at a traffic light.

Running together (while enjoying the company of friends in the morning), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Running even when you intend not to

This morning I had not planned to run at all. With the clocks going forward for daylight savings time, I had fully intended to try and get as much sleep as I possibly could and then get in a gym work out instead. But as the saying goes - the best laid plans of mice and men.

The sun was up when I woke and figured it would be a shame not to at least get out and spend some quality time in it, I headed out and thought I would only do a lazy 6K and then my gym workout.

The 6 turned into 13K and I felt great as a result of getting it done. Seems as if even when I fully intend not to run, my body somehow still wants to do it. Noakes has written about this being the sub conscious governor being in  control and knowing that it likes the feeling of the endorphins it gets from the run and to me that makes perfect sense really.

Running together (while not even intending to run), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bonk running - coming to a grinding halt...

The bonk run is something that I have been experimenting with for quite some time. Put simply bonking is where the body exhausts the glycogen fuel sources and you literally have to come to a standstill. This can come at varying stages of the run, but for many people it can come at that critical 2- 3 hour mark.

Would there be any benefit to training to extend this mark or to teach the body to cope better when this point arrives? I set out to explore all of these things over the past couple of weeks.

Following a series of runs where I have been pushing the limits by not eating on the morning of the run, during the run or drinking anything, I can conclude that the point of bonking (ie. The point where I grind to a halt through lightheadedness) has been extended further and further.

What I have discovered is that the body is able to start tapping into the fat stores and using those as fuel once the glycogen has gone. This morning I had the added heat to contend with which made things less than pleasant but no doubt aided in conditioning the body (I believe in the same way that the sauna does).

Sure this form of training is not for everyone and some may dispute its safety or validity, but then again that is why I am here - to experiment and report back so that you don’t have to.

Does bonk running have a place? Certainly in my book it will be something that I will continue doing.

Running together (while experimenting with bonk running), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Using cross training recovery

This morning I reacquainted myself with the swim as a means of recovery and cross training. This is something that I had been neglecting for some time now.

Those that know me well know that swimming was indeed my first love and that the running and then distance running followed a way after that. I was never afraid of the water and would seek out and jump into almost any body of the stuff that I could.

Days of competitive swimming have waned, but I still advocate the use of the pool and more so the ocean to those I assist with their training as a means of recovery and recuperation. It is not only the different muscle groups that get utilised, but also the fact that one gets to mix in the training in hot and cold environments to assist in the repairing of the minor muscle tears.

Verdict - swimming thumbs up!

Running together (while using cross training recovery), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Rediscovering old favourites

All of us have a favourite run or one that was a favourite of ours but now that for whatever reason seems to have not been run that often. Mine used to be a 9KM loop that I frequently ran out to a local beach and back. I have not run that loop in ages until for some reason this morning I got up and decided to venture out early and get one of these done.

The morning was perfect - sun rising early on the way down and temps headed for 26c. Rounding the heads made me realise just how lucky I was to be able to enjoy such a run. Just amazing.

Made me realise that even though I have moved on, I should make more of an effort to get out and run this loop again for frequently.

Running together (while rediscovering old favourite runs), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The old pair of runners

Over the weekend I was clearing out some old clothing for charity and came across that one thing that all runners have in their closets. The old pair of shoes that you should have parted with already months previously - the ones well past their use by date, but the ones that you have a particular affection for never the less.

Although I don’t really subscribe to the life of a shoe - I believe that all of this is marketing on behalf of the shoe makers, this particular pair however had not only done many kilometres but also many a game of park soccer and general muck around. Time to trade them in.

As I placed them in the charity bin, I felt a little sad as we had shared many journeys together. But then just as suddenly I began to think about who might possibly be the next recipients of them.

Would they also have a passion for running? Would they be quicker than me?

To me it is fascinating to dwell for a while on this, but in reality wherever they end up, that person will no doubt have a much greater need for them than me.

Running together (while sharing old running shoes), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Using the subconscience to reach decisions while running

Sometimes in life we find inspiration and answers in the most unlikely situations. Many people feel as though we would have to do an extensive planning session in order to find answers to problems, but sometimes they just come from just throwing yourself into something else completely unrelated. 

This week I have had some big decisions to make and some that were difficult but that needed to be made at the same time. Coming out the other side is always Gratifying as it is that time where we learn from what we have done and where we are going in life. Only through mistakes can we learn and grow.

Many times I have found that only through indulging in something like running am I able to find answers that sit right with me. It is that sub conscience that gets working and results in us reaching a decision. So powerful but something that is not ever fully explained. 

Running together - while working the sub conscience. Stride for stride on a life changing ride! - Sean muller 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Encouraging fitness through simple challenges

When I was much younger and running on the track (many many moons ago) our coach used to always get us to run one more lap or one more repetition each time. Sometimes this would seem like torture and we would be retching in the rarefied air at altitude but we did it anyway as he was the coach and knew best.

This week one of my friends who I have been helping with his fitness asked me to set a simple challenge for him to complete. After racking my brains a lot I came up with the task of him just aiming to complete one extra session at the gym the following week. I knew he had been attending 3 sessions in the week and felt that was enough, but since I know that he has time to fit in an extra one, I challenged him to do that.

He has accepted this simple challenge and we shall see how he goes next week. Daily exercise is full of simple challenges that we can one another to motivate one another to live a healthy and happy life.

Running together (while setting and meeting simple challenges), stride for stride on a life changing ride!-- Sean Muller 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Improving the balance of the body

I don’t often give product reviews unless I think that something is really top notch, but this morning during my post run gym session I noticed something that had escaped me over the past few weeks.

Doing my normal set of one legged squats off of the gym bench (these help heaps with general stability and quad strength), I realised that both of my legs appeared to have equal amounts of stability and strength in them. Previously my right leg had always been my strongest and most stable (we all have a lead leg) with the left lagging behind a little.

Looking back at why this would be, the only reason that I can think of is the switch that I have made to training and running exclusively in the Nike Free range of shoes. Not only are they lighter in weight, but they appear to have helped with my range of motion and strengthening and stabilising the overall leg and foot. The last time I ran any sort of race in something a bit more stable was Comrades back in June of this year.

Overcoming fear of moving permanently into the Free type shoes was something that I had to contend with more so than the actual transition itself. Once that was conquered I feel so much better and stronger. Perhaps it is in my head, but I am sure that majority of people in the stability type shoes don’t really need them and that provided we are willing to work at keeping the body strong and healthy there is no fear of injuries.

Running together (while improving stability and balance), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Monday, September 24, 2012

CP Ultra magic

So yesterday a little bit of running magic happened in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney with the second running of the Centennial Park ultra marathon.

People came from all over the country to take part in what has become a great part of the Australian running calendar. Many of the usual suspects turned up, along with new faces who soon became friends.

Over catering was the buzz word of the day with people turning up with so much more than any of us could ever eat.

Granted not a big event in number terms, but an event with a big heart.

Community in every sense of the word!

Running together (while fostering a sense of community), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Encouraging that first run

One of the guys that lives in my apartment block always seems to see me going out for my early morning run. He goes to collect his coffee and then later goes to work. He has remarked that it is insane for me to be out running at 6.30am. He only sees me on the way back from my run and not at the start. I have always said to him that he is welcome to come along and join me on the run if he likes. Every time I have been turned down and called things like ‘lunatic’.

This morning I spied him leaving the building in some running gear. He muttered something about trotting around the block and seeing how he went. I shall see how long he lasts and indeed if this is a fad for him or not.

Good on him for giving it a go though and I hope that he sticks with things.

Running together (while in some way encouraging random people on their first run), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Positive changes throughout life

I was reading this morning about a chap who after taking up distance running had used the positivity and strength that he gained through that in order to make other great changes to his life.

Since conquering some distances and adopting a bit of discipline around his training program, he has been able to carry that through to his work and other areas. He had felt that he was being held back by his job in the past and that it was going nowhere, but just didn’t have the courage to throw in the towel (the whole security blanket aspect of things). Now not only has he packed in his old job, but been able to land another one which he really enjoys and where he is finding true fulfillment.

This all happened as he was able to really start to believe in himself and open himself up to opportunities in other areas of life. A truly remarkable story and one that just goes to show the positive power that running can bring about.

Running together (while effecting positive change on things), stride for stride on a life changing ride! Sean Muller

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Second anniversary of the Centennial Park Ultra

This coming Sunday in Sydney a good friend and her husband will be hosting the second Centennial Park Ultra Marathon. There is both a 50KM and a 100KM option with runners completing laps of the park.

While many people would question the sanity of those running loops of a park in quest for a distance, there is method in this madness as it provides an ideal and safe opportunity for people to venture into the world of ultra running without getting lost in the bush.

Now it is usually the same little community that attend these events and also volunteer their time, however you always get a few characters who seem to come out of the woodwork such as two young chaps  last year who asked me when they would start to hallucinate and ‘see God’ during the 100KM. As it is a safe ultra, there was no hallucinating or seeing God and everyone finished just fine.

Anyone in the area who is interested should come on down this Sunday. A great community event and introduction to ultra running.

Running together (while building the ultra community), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hometown marathons

Yesterday was a chance for me to give a little back to the running community through acting as a pace guide for the 3.30 time goal for the Sydney Marathon.

I always enjoy doing some community service and watching new comers enjoy their first steps into the sport. 
A perfect day out with great friends. A world class race that Sydney can be really proud of. Something that I would encourage all runners to consider if they are in Sydney during September.

Running together (while supporting hometown marathons), stride for stride on a life changing ride -- Sean Muller.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hoping for knowledgeable staff

Yesterday I accompanied a friend (who is a far more accomplished runner than me) into the city to pickup our race packs for tomorrow’s Sydney Marathon. There is always something special about a home town marathon and one that just makes you proud of your city and what so many people can achieve together in a positive way.

Now after negotiating our way to the Expo and picking up the numbers etc, we were just ambling about and decided to pop into a well known mainstream sports shop. In hind sight we must have looked like a right number of rookies holding our race bags and we were descended on by two young sales folks who must have thought us suckers.

We were looking through the new arrivals of shoes and both know exactly what we like and what we don’t like, but we seemed to have this lot insisting that we try on shoes that we would never wear in a month of Sundays. Their knowledge of things was also patchy at best.

As much as we politely refused, they kept insisting. Kudos to them for keeping up though.

Eventually the one girl said - ‘look I am a runner, I know what I am talking about’. ‘So are we’, we replied. ‘Yes but I have run a half marathon’, she exclaimed. At that point my mate looked at me and we just didn’t have the energy to continue with things and left the shop.

Disappointing to see that even though I rarely go into these sorts of shops, they still haven’t bothered to even update staff with even a basic knowledge of what they are selling the customer.

Running together (while hoping for informed views on shoes), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Thursday, September 13, 2012

5 year anniversary

This weekend marks the 5th anniversary of my first marathon. It has meant many KMs run between then and now and also plenty of weight has been shifted. Most of all though it has meant the formation of so many great friendships.

If I was in a relationship with myself then I would surely have to reward myself with a gift made of wood (traditional) or silverware (modern). Probably the best silverware would be the medal from this weekend’s marathon.

I sometimes have to pinch myself to remind myself that I am not dreaming and that I have come full circle as if back to my childhood fitness levels and beyond. 5 years ago I stood on that same start line still overweight and not even sure what my body would do at the end of the marathon event. I survived and from then onwards it has really been upwards from here on in. Quite frankly if I have been able to beat back the demons that I faced in the lead up to that day then anyone can.

Running together (lighter - while enjoying life on the run), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Monday, September 10, 2012

First timers

There is not much that beats the excitement of someone running their first real event. Ordinary people doing great things and rising above what they ever thought possible.

Lately I have seen the owner of my local coffee shop out and about running. She is looking great and each time I saw her she seemed to be taking to it like a duck to water. Well yesterday she confided in me that she was running this Sunday’s half marathon in Sydney in memory of a girlfriend who passed on from breast cancer. Now having had friends and family suffer at the hands of this hideous disease I immediately made a donation to her cause. But what impressed me the most is that this lady made a decision on her own that this is what she was going to do to honour her friend and that to do it real justice she had been training well and following a program diligently.

Amazing really what the human spirit can do if we are willing to explore it a bit. Here was a lady - a grandmother no less with no running background at all who had no other expectations other than to set out, complete the event and honour her friends memory. In my humble view point there can be no greater thing for her to do and I reassured her that the way she was running she would surely do her friend proud.

Running together (while honouring our friends), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Seeing real change

This morning while out on my run I happened to bump into a group of people I had randomly met and spoken to while running last year. Those that know me know that I randomly speak to people while out running - builds a sense of community and you get to know others that share a passion for your sport.

One of the ladies in the group had appeared to have lost a fair bit of weight and was looking really good. She commented that me sharing my story of weightloss with her had led her to persevering with the running and joining a spinning group at her gym. Well I am just blown away and extremely humbled that my simple story could have motivated this lady to actually turn her own situation around and get fitter. Her boyfriend even commented that her whole attitude towards things had flipped around and that their friend circle was now based around those interested in keeping fit, healthy and running. They also recounted how they have started entering more events and are finding joy in completing different distances. Again a wonderful achievement by them!

Running together (while hearing good stories of healthy positive change) - stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My weightloss journey in book format

Today is an extremely exciting day for me.

It is the day that I officially published my first book ‘The Urban Warrior - More than just an existence’. I have poured my heart and soul out about my weightloss journey and what went into the 40KG loss of weight and the complete life transformation that accompanied it.

‘The Urban Warrior - More than just an existence’ is so much more than just my tale of change. It is raw and frank and asks hard questions of us as so-called modern intellectual westerners.

Why do we struggle to beat obesity when we have the most sophisticated science on the planet? Why are tribes people living without access to all our luxuries so much happier and healthier? Why do we continue to invest so much time, energy and money into pursuits that will only send us to an early grave? All these and more are asked in the book.

While it is exciting to see that I have my first sales already, this book is about so much more than money. If it can reach out to anyone who is overweight or obese like I was and help to motivate them to change then my job as a human being is done.

Running together (while motivating others positively), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Attempts at trail running

This weekend was one of those moments that reminds me why I got back into running. Friends and I headed down to the south of Sydney for The Coastal Classic 29KM bush run.
The course is renowned not only as extremely challenging as it features a number of different aspects of trail running such as single track, beach running and up and down cliff tops, but also what I learnt later in the day, the potential to go the wrong way. This is just something that one doesn’t encounter in road running in that you almost always have someone on hand to point out the route.
From the start I felt good and was running well. Noone was passing me on the flats and very few were coming near me on the uphills either. The downs I have yet to master and how some of the people fly down them like rock rabbits I have no idea. They seem to have some suicidal wishes. 
The 21K mark came and I was lying a good position and hoping to give the last 8K everything while heading after a bunch of blokes just ahead of me.
2.5K into this split of road I thought that something was not right as several blokes were coming back down and saying to us that it was the wrong way. The sign had however been pointing in the direction of the inland trail, but we found out that this had been switched by someone who was out to sabotage the race. I hope that it was not another runner ahead of me, but very disappointing to say the least and not the ideal way to turn any novice like me onto trail running.
Cest la Vie - it happens apparently that in trail one needs to get lost for some reason.
Running together (while getting lost on the trails), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Downsizing and living more simply

2012 I have dedicated as the year where I downsize more and get rid of loads of the things that I either don’t need or haven’t used in forever and a day.

Granted I don’t own heaps of things and don’t horde junk for the sake of it, but was thinking that things are starting to creep up on me and if I ever have to relocate it is much easier with less stuff. How much stuff do we really need to be happy and content in life? It is definitely a Western tendency to buy of heaps of things that we don’t need merely for the sake of acquiring things.

The one thing that I was having trouble with was thinning out all the merchandise, t-shirts, caps, towels etc that come courtesy of completing an event these days. Unlike the old days, these are now all technical garments meaning that effectively they will last forever no matter how hard you are on your clothing.

So what to get rid of out of this lot? Each garment has its own tale that it can tell, but naturally I can’t keep all of them and I don’t really want to part with them as they don’t have the same relevance to someone who didn’t do the event.

I have not purchased any running gear in the past 3 years due to having too much of it already and with each event overflowing one with more and more.

Any ideas on how to solve this dilemma?

Running together (while downsizing and living closer to the Earth) stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Using my past to help others

Everyone likes a good news story -something that people can relate to and hopefully something that can bring about some positive change in those that may need.

I was given the chance this past week to share my story in the local media about my 40KG weightloss as part of a campaign to publicise the very well organised Sydney Running Festival. I am fortunate enough to know the organiser as a friend and am always happy to give a positive plug to him and the positive work that his team does in the running community.

There are always queries of me through this forum as well as from friends and other contacts about my story and I think it important to keep reminding myself of those days, not only to help others, but also as a reminder of a time that I don’t ever want to go back to.

I am confident that I am never going back to those days, but can only hope that through sharing my story, others to will be able to turn their lives around for the positive.

Running together (while sharing tales of past days) - stride for stride on a life changing ride. -- Sean Muller

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Increasing participation for success

For a number of years I have been advocating that the way to increase activity in athletics amongst all of society is to provide increase access to good facilities. What do I mean by this?

Quite simply each time we build a stadium we should be also laying a track around it. This is common practice in Europe and North America and hence you find even the most obscure stadiums in residential areas that have tracks around them. This means that all of society has access to these facilities and are not stuck for areas to exercise. It provides a safe environment for all and something different for those for whom the gym is a place they get intimidated by.

Ron Clarke and John Landy have been campaigning for this for many years and even costed it up for the Government some time ago and the overall cost is not that much more than merely building the stadium.

Perhaps something to consider in the push to increase the medal tally in the track and field at the next Olympics. Grassroots access to build interest and convert it into success.

Running together (while building grassroots interest) - stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Race nerves and learning from mistakes

This morning I was chatting to a young lady who has started to work at the front desk of my gym. She informed me that she was planning to run her first half marathon in September at the Blackmores Half Marathon in Sydney.

Discussing her race strategy, she was musing about how much she should be drinking along the way. This got me thinking back to my own first half marathon where I was so unfit an unprepared that I had to stop at 11KM and vomit. I still remember things vividly as I had just purchased a new white long sleeve top to run in (it was freezing) and had a lady ask me if I was alright when I stopped. She also of all things was interested in me not messing up my new top by saying something like ‘Son don’t vomit on your shirt'.

I probably drank too much during that event myself and had no pacing strategy of any sort and hence the vomiting (but I suppose we have to start from somewhere).

Asked on my advice on drinking, I advised the young lady against carrying a hydration pack so that she wasn’t weighed down unnecessarily. One can easily get by with a few sips from each aide station.

Obviously one will rarely ever get things completely right as a novice, but we go away from each event with some more knowledge about ourself, our body and how we might improve in the future. This is what keeps running fun.

Running together (while continuing to learn), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Monday, August 20, 2012

Defying all odds and refusing to giveup

Every so often in the running community you come across stories of people who despite incredible hardship and pain inflicted on them just stubbornly refuse to give in and are fighting back. They are the true heroes of humanity. They are the ones who characterise the running community and show what we are truly capable of.

I first encountered the story of a brave young lady by the name of Turia Pitt. Turia was one of the runners who was caught in the horrific bush fire in the Kimberly region of Western Australia in the Racing the Planet event. Racing the Planet despite being hopelessly unprepared for the event and ignoring warnings about the fire being close to the running trail, have now proceeded to try and shirk the responsibility for the injuries to the runners in question. This is unforgiveable really and I am part of a group who hope that not only is the company forced to pay damages, but that no one in the running community supports them ever again.

Turia has demonstrated the power of the human spirit and is rising above and fighting back.

I saw her last night on 60 minutes and encourage you to watch her incredible story on the link below.

Running together (while witnessing the true human spirit) - stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Family tree of good distance runners

I was most interested to learn through various literature that I have been reading that although all the theories about the East Africans being great distance athletes as a result of living at altitude their entire lives is only partly true. 

Almost exclusively when one looks at great distance athletes through the ages, they are mainly born and raised in rural or farming areas. The poorer these individuals are (regardless of if they are East African or not), the more likely they are to succeed at long distance running. This theory is backed up by Brother Colm the Irish chap who even in his 70s still coaches some of Kenyas worldclass athletes. He states that in all his time in Kenya he has not witnessed a athlete from the big cities become a success. 

Why the success of these folks from rural/farming areas? Quite simply because they are used to hard work and struggle and that is what long distance running is all about. City folk just don't have this inherent hardness bred into them from birth. 

Sure there will be exceptions to this rule, but I would wager that in the future this trend will continue regardless if the athlete in question is born in Africa or in the west. 

Running together stride for stride on a life changing ride. - Sean Mu

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Soft western nations

This past week of training and holidaying out in Hong Kong, I have observed in action some things that I have long suspected. The key one being that the Chinese have a far greater work ethic than we do in the west and that this indeed carries through to their sports and subsequent success at the Olympics.

Sure they didn’t win many medals in the track and field, but were cleaning up in just about every other sport available. How do they do it? There have been numerous cries of doping ever since Ye Shiwen their young 16 year old female swimmer left most elite men for dead in her wake in the first week of competition. History and science says that this should just not be possible ranted those in the know - hence she must be doped up to the eyeballs on some East German type steroids.

What those critics fail to mention is that China has adopted a real efficient business-like approach to producing champions. Firstly they went after many good coaches in the west (including many Australian swim coaches) and secured their services through paying these people a decent wage for their expertise. Secondly and perhaps most importantly they have a natural respect for the coach and trainer in China and comply implicitly with what is asked of them. This must have been something completely new for some of the western coaches who moved over there.

We have no less talent here in the west than the Chinese do, but what we do have is a lack of people who are willing to really hurt to make it count. Our athletes are too fond of playing video games or posing with celebrities for photos on twitter when they should really be putting aside those mobile phones and focusing more on their sport.

All too often the western approach to sport is the following: First I will go get drunk and maybe land in some trouble, then I will chat up some girls and maybe land in some more trouble, then I might shoot some commercials and send some tweets - then some more tweets and finally I might do some training just if I feel like it mind you.

Chinese approach - work hard, then work harder - then work harder still and then finally come home with the gold medal. No molly coddling - no mucking around. It is so true that hard work and discipline will win over sheer talent all the time. When you combine the talent and hard work then you get the type of swimmer of the calibre of Ye Shiwen.

Running together (with better work ethic) stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Calling it like it is - no mucking around!

Running with the local squads here has opened my eyes to the differences in culture to attain success. In the west it is severely frowned on to insult peoples weight. We are taught to molly coddle each other - fat is big boned and other such political correctness. 

Now as many know, my own weight loss was sparked by insults from friends who called it like it is. This worked for me and I have worked extremely hard to lose the 40kgs that I have over the past years. Now at 67Kgs and 7% body fat, I thought that there was nothing wrong with how I was progressing. That was until this week.

The Chinese coach of the squad I was running with here in Hong Kong commented that I was not bad for a white guy, but that I need to lose some more weight if I want to keep up and get better - 'Too fat' - there you have it folks - no molly coddling that one. 

There have been criticism of Chinese athletes at the recent Olympics, but they clearly push their athletes who comply and as a result attain good results. It is my view that perhaps we have become a little soft all round in the west enjoying the good life too much. 

I witnessed an 85 year old Chinese man this evening running at 5minutes 30 per KM at the track. He had not an inch of fat on him. All I had to say was 'Wow'. 

Running together (while experiencing different coaching techniques) - stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Using running to transcend language barriers

Having for the past couple of days been running with various squads and by myself over at Happy Valley in Hong Kong, I am so glad that I found this place on Monday. 

The people at the track are very friendly and even though some of them dont speak massively great English, they all smile and say hi. They have been very welcoming of me into their particular groups and it just goes to show the power of running the world over. 

An initial comment about the weather - it has not been below 30c this week (even at midnight) and the humidity is at about 90% and above each day. 

To put it bluntly, this makes last year's Sydney Marathon seem like child's play. 

I admit that the running here seems to be of a much higher and more serious standard than in Sydney. They don't muck about and when they run they run hard and fast until some fall over or vomit. One of the chaps translated the coaches comments as such - 'just run as hard as you can until you fall over'. I guess it does not come much simpler than that really in terms of understanding what is being said and implementing it. Simple but seemingly very effective at producing results. 

Now I may not understand all that she yells at us about, but I do know from translations and also just through figuring it all out from body language that she means business. They listen and again this hard long fartleking favoured by the Asian countries seems to deliver for them and as the saying goes. 'If it ain't broke don't try mend it'.

I am going to try and bring some of this learning back to my own teaching and running in Sydney. I figure though that it may be a little hard as we seem very reluctant to take the hard road in the west and want everything very easily in life. 

Running together (Hong Kong style) - stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Running in Hong Kong

This week in Hong Kong has been positively one of the best of my life. It has been truly awesome to just cruise around this great place and just get lost in a way. 

My last visit to HK was with my ex and left alot to be desired, but not to dwell in the past, this time it has been very good indeed.  That was then and this is now.

Last sunday I headed off for a run in the hills and up to Bowen Road , a very popular running route. The running scene here is very strong indeed and even some of the older blokes in their 60s were keeping well up with the younger crowd on what were some extremely steep hills. The group were amazed at me being able to keep up in conditions that I can only describe as being like running in a Turkish Bath. 

Then thanks to a very helpful fellow runner, I was pointed in the direction of Happy Valley race course as a place where one can do laps and intervals safely without traffic. I felt for the fellow who was being asked all sorts of questions as if by virtue of being an expat meant he was subjected to a life of questions from tourists like me. 

I was very impressed by the facilities on offer for free including hockey, soccer  and various other sports. 

In the interests of keeping this shortish, I will provide further updates soon. Need less to say that those saying Hong Kong doesn't have a vibrant running and sports scene needs to think again. 

Running together (while exploring overseas), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Supporting local community runs

Make no bones about it I love my local charity fun runs and think that there is nothing better than turning up at a smaller run and seeing the community in action. Today was an excellent example of this in my local fun run 10K. A decent size field of a few hundred runners ensured that one was able to run and not be impeded. Although the course was very hilly, it was a highly enjoyable morning out. Great to catchup with some folks that you only ever see once a year at these sorts of events.

True to form with these sorts of events, there was also a 5KM race which attracted a number of families and friends running and walking together. Not sure if it is the excitement of the Olympics or what, but so good to see so many youngsters out and about representing the future of road running in Australia.

Running together (while supporting community running) - Stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Olympic ideals - embrace them everyday!

I get excited by the Olympic Games - I always have. In fact every four years when those magic rings are displayed and the sporting competitions get underway I get a real sense that anything can and will happen in life. After all those competing at the games are merely ordinary people - someone’s father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, cousin etc. The only thing that sets them apart is that they happen to excel at one or many sports.
We are Olympians in our own right and although we may not walk away with a medal, we can embrace and embody the Olympic values of fairness, honesty, sportsmanship and peace in each day that we live. It is not that hard to take these values into our hearts and lives and ensure that we do our very best each day in all that we do.
Running together (while embracing the Olympic ideals) - stride for stride on a life changing ride -- Sean Muller

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The power of raw eating

Since losing major amounts of weight 7 years ago, I eat as much raw foods as I can during the day. Sometimes I have to force myself to get things in, but then I just reiterate how much I am loving the idea of clean eating and the fact that I look and feel so much better than I did those years ago and indeed better than I did all those years ago.
I also (and many friends think that I am mad) sometimes just eat raw veggies for breakfast or nuts and oats for dinner. You see back in the caveman days, our systems were not designed to be just eating the standard 3 square meals each day and when we were out hunting on the plains, we generally snacked on what we could along the way. Hence this method makes complete sense for us and is something that we should definitely follow.
Not to be content with just having this simple method of weightloss for myself, I have been recommending it to anyone that approaches me about losing weight. And it is successful if we stick at it. A friend reported losing 10kgs through eating more raw veggies and filling up on them. Easy really!
Running together (while eating more clean raw foods), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Doing other things..

This morning as anyone in Sydney can attest, the weather was horrendous. Strong downpours and cold winds. Normally I look forward to my long runs (especially if it is cool and clear) as they help to knock the cobwebs out and set me up for a great day. This morning however I was for the first time in a very long time dreading setting foot out of the door.
Once I did I thought I had hit a very lucky patch as the sun was shining. Not so lucky as I rounded the corner at about 2km in and heavens opened and the rain started to fall heavily.
Rather than risk a thorough drenching, I rather turned tail and headed back home instead. In hindsight I could have pushed on, but then having already completed a perfectly good week’s worth of training, I figure sometimes it is better to just listen to the body and to take it easy.
As mentioned many times before, it is these moments that the body needs to be able to do other things - mow the lawn, talk to the family or in my case tackle some writing that I have been putting off for a while.
Running together (while doing other thing as well) - stride for stride on a life changing ride.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Expectant miracles

While providing coaching services to folks, it always interests me how some of them expect that not only are you offering them free services (I never turn down a request for help), but they also expect you to perform miracles when they have very little or no fitness or background in running.
Chatting to another mate the other day, I would be a rich man if I could count the amount of times that I have been asked about the true secret to running or if there is something that they could do a scant 2 weeks out from an event and expect rabbits and abit of magic hocus pocus to suddenly make them able to complete the distance in a great time.
The truth ultimately is that no amount of hoping and praying and get through without some good old fashioned work. Sure some people will have more natural talent than others and will be able to complete certain events based purely on this talent, but with increased training comes increased comfort of completion to.
Instead of looking for magic potions time would be better invested in proper planning and training to get stronger so that the event would be more comfortable.
Running together (while planning well and training properly), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The one minute repeat

This morning I indulged in one of my favourite workouts of all time - the one minute repeat.
Many of you know that my first and true love is the track and hence these sorts of workouts are ideal for me. Friends have always questioned the validity of me completing these sorts of repeats when training for a longer distance race, but I know that they work.  Not only do they help to increase the VO2, they also help to promote running economy and get us running in a more efficient manner.
I would suggest starting at 5x1 minute hard and 2 minutes steady and advance from there. I have gotten up to 20 previously and then emptied my breakfast on the side of the track, nut definitely something to look into to enhance your running.
Running together (while performing lung busting 1 minute repeats) - stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Sardine runner..

These little oily fishy smelling things are the latest in my running arsenal. I was introduced to them by a friend a little while ago and he swears by them as being one of the best things for his running and overall wellbeing and I now I eat heaps of the things - very cheap to which is a great thing.
I feel that they provide me with all that I need in terms of protein and when mixed with some quinoa and stir fried veggies they make one of the most complete meals around.
Despite the fact that many had said they wouldn’t try this meal, I have managed to convince some friends of the benefits and they have embraced it  for themselves.
I would be keen to hear what your experience is or what you use as your powerfood.
Running together (while eating sardines) - stride for stride on a life changing ride -- Sean Muller

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dropping the weight to go faster

When I first started out in long distance running, I was unsure as to what shoes I would need, since I had no experience and was hence guided by the sales folk at the store. 

No great  surprise then that they put me in the most expensive shoes after diagnosing that I needed extra support. These shoes happened to be the Asics Kayanos and I continued to run in these until last year I started running in the Nike free out of an attempt to cut costs and diversify my running with something lighter.

At the end of last year I visited a friend and one of his coaching contacts analysed me properly and gave me a pair of the Nike free 3.0 to try. They reminded me of my old track spikes that I used to wear and I was sacred of trying them until this past week when I just decided to break them out and the results were immediate. I feel heaps lighter and faster on my feet wearing these frees. 

Based on what I have experienced and seen, I now believe that we have been sold a load of rubbish for many years about how many people require massive support in their running shoes. 

I don't ever think that I will go back to running in support shoes. 

Running together (while wearing minimal shoes) stride for stride on a life changing ride. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Training the lungs and beating asthma

Three years ago I bought a Powerbreathe respiratory exerciser to see what all the hype was about. This morning while using it I can report that over its lifespan I have now taken it down to about 2cents per use.
The Powerbreathe, although it has its critics can be used safely to help to increase VO2 and also to speed recovery of breathe and that can only be seen as a good thing for athletes and in particular long distance runners. It allows us to operate and train at a certain level without that gasping for air feeling setting in.
Like anything involving the lungs (and particularly for first time users) it must be approached with caution and care. I followed to the letter the instructions when first acquiring it and only now am having the courage to vary the workouts somewhat.
Again it does have its critics and I am sure that their arguments are valid to them, but if you have a spare $60 sitting around, it is not the worst investment that one could make. You of course have to use it and that involves a twice daily ritual of breathing through it while looking slightly like a dork.
Another plus about the device is that it has been proven to be able to help to combat asthma and in fact a friend of mine who suffered terribly has been able to cure her asthma and throw away the inhaler after using it for 6 months so a worthwhile investment indeed.
What are your thoughts and experiences?
Running together (while increasing VO2) - stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Green tea benefits

I had written on here many times about the benefits of green tea and how it can assist not only in everyday life, but also in our running and other sports.
Being an excellent substitute for our daily coffee for many people, green tea has been well documented to not only provide good levels of antioxidants and for lack of better words - cleansing agents to the body, but it also seems to place me in a state of serene calm and stops the brain from sometimes moving into overdrive.
The main reason though why I like it is because it is renowned to help to burn more calories and fat when drunk after a large meal.
The main surprise that I did learn though was that it can also increase VO2 in athletes and in particular runners. Again not something that I fully understand the science of, but definitely something that I am happy to pursue if it does indeed assist.
I encourage you to also do research of your own and lets share the results.
Running together (while drinking green tea) - stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Never judging on first appearance

I was always taught to give people the benefit of the doubt when it comes to life and sport in general. Sometimes though - just sometimes one is faced with a situation where you let your ingrained human nature of judgement come through. For instance I have a chap that I work with who I found out is in his mid 60s and close to retirement. Now many in the organisation have described him as being a runner of a decent standard and having family that are also of good standard. At face value he does not seem overweight or overly unfit, but I still struggled to put the picture together.
Everything became clearer this past week when we started talking about sports and the Olympics and this individual clarified that he indeed was a runner and that one of his sons only just missed out on qualifying for Kona in the Ironman by a whisker. This is a fantastic achievement and just goes to show that one shouldn’t judge a book by the cover. Often talent comes out from the most least likely sources and quite frankly one should always be respectful of others as you never know who that person is or what they are capable of.
Running together (while not judging on first appearance) - stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Promoting a top event

Normally I am hesitant to provide any endorsements of events over others through my website, but on this occasion I am going to make an exception and do a blatant plug for my friend Wayne Larden’s new event in The Sydney Harbour 10KM.
The event takes place this Sunday and the course is extremely flat and fast and the chance for those who want to run a personal best, but also run on a flat course along an interesting stretch of Sydney Harbour.
There is still time to enter - visit the website and support the event which is a great new edition to the Sydney running calendar.
Running together (while supporting new events) - Stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller