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!

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