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, January 29, 2013

Keeping it interesting

This morning it was again tipping it down with rain and not feeling the best, I ventured to the dry of the gym to get my workout in. I felt very much a fraud and a cop out for not going out in the deluge but I am running out of dry pairs of shoes and gear since this wet weather hit us. 

Climbing on the treadmill for the first time in about six months I felt very uncomfortable and although I mix my running up outside (track, park, trail, road and so on), I don't do much indoor running on the mouse wheel and it showed this morning. Normally I am happy as a lark and smiling even if things are tough when outside (as it was on Sunday when it felt like I was running through a lake), but today was different and I couldn't quite figure out how to recreate the feeling indoors. 

I got through the session fine, but it reminded me of he importance of mixing up the running surfaces so that we maintain our interest and that we are not phased when it comes to circumstance like this morning when we are forced indoors. 

What surface do you like to run on?

Running together (stride for stride on a life changing ride). - Sean Muller

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Morning and afternoon tea

In days gone by (and still in some industries) there was a morning and afternoon tea break scheduled to go with the lunchtime break. It was common to drink tea and eat a biscuit or two on these breaks.

Nowadays in our extreme work hard era we not only work through our breaks, but we also don't tend to get enough to eat. If you are training then these tea breaks are very important and a chance to refuel with some good wholesome food and snacks instead of reaching for the cookie jar or vending machine.

A bit of fruit, some yogurt and green tea will go down a great and help you to survive through the day without flagging.

Running together (while consuming enough food), stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The importance of training buddies

Training buddies are something that are invaluable in motivating one to get out there and run or complete your exercise for the day. I've not had problems with motivation in the past, but do find that my training is more substantial when I have someone to train with. 

The other person or people with you are there to share your good and bad times and happy and sad times of your exercise. You are also far more likely to actually get out of bed and fulfil your exercise commitment for the day if you know that someone else is relying on you. 

It's amazing with facts like these around how many people still believe that the way forward for them is to exercise on their own. Try building some community and know that you are helping someone out by training with them.

How is your group exercise taken?

Running together (while e excising as a group), stride for stride on a life changing ride.-- Sean Muller

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The importance of routine in exercise

A habit is formed by doing something for 2 weeks at a time. This is what science tells us. We repeat a pattern of things for the two weeks and it becomes a habit. It is quite frightening to think that this is all that it takes for us for example to become hooked on nicotine or junk food.

But there are healthy habits such as getting up and going for some daily exercise. I have always found that this is far preferable before work and best done by getting up that little bit earlier. It doesn't really matter if it’s a walk, run, bike ride, gym session or aerobics class that you choose to do, repeating this pattern for the period of 14 days will result in it becoming as natural to you as brushing your teeth.

Surely even the biggest haters of exercise and physical activity would have to say that in the greater scheme of things 14 days is not that much time to devote to doing things. As I have said continually here, the biggest killer for us in the west over the coming years will surely be that plain and simple fact that we are going to eat ourselves to death. Routine exercise can help combat this and offset any weight gains.

What exercise routine do you follow in the morning and how does it set you up for the day?

Together we can all beat this problem of obesity!

Running together (while generating morning exercise routines), stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller

Monday, January 21, 2013

Exercise in good and bad times

I am always astounded to hear stories of exercise and Phys Ed classes being cut from budgets as soon as things are not as rosy as they once were in the world. Sure we all have to make some sacrifices, but it seems as though these decisions are often made without thinking of what the true value of healthy living and sport are.

Playing any sort of sport for health, fun or competitively teaches us many things. The first of these is the value and outcomes of hard work. It also teaches kids early on the value of working and cooperating with a team. This helps no end when it comes to those kids venturing out into the business world for themselves. Not to mention the fact that we all make so many great friends through playing our sports.

Very importantly in today’s business world where contacts count for more and more,  running and exercising offers one the opportunity to network and make some great contacts in the business and commercial world.

Don’t stop exercising if you lose your job in the current market – if anything redouble your efforts. Physical fitness will build social and business confidence again! Take the hit and hit back.

Would love to hear about your stories of exercise in good and bad times.

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

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The value of the long run

Everyone training for distance running knows the value of the long run in producing success.

Failure to perform this run often on the weekend is something that all runners know will not help their cause. Typically all the science that one reads through the ages is that this all important run should be performed at between 10 and 20 per cent slower than your marathon pace. This in theory is the number that allows you to get the best possible beneficial workout for your goals.

I always find it amazing how many folks seem to run the long run much faster than this and then are unable to backup their training the following week with quality sessions as they are too tired. This is not beneficial to the cause as we all require that bit of recovery time to get back to our best.

Trying out your marathon pace during portions of the long run is also advisable to learn what to expect on the day, but this is not something that one should be doing each and every long run as the principle of hard/easy is something that can benefit.

As with the pace, distance of the long run is also important as too many really long runs early on and one can get injured.

Running together (while using the long run to our best ability), stride for stride on a life changing ride. – Sean Muller

Friday, January 18, 2013

Mind power in healing the body

This morning I was speaking with and trading ideas with a personal trainer friend of mine at the gym after my run. We had struck up rapport in the past as she laughed at my exercise drills of hops and skips that I was doing and I was always commenting that at least I made her and others laugh in the morning. Nothing like beginning the day with a bit of positivity and laughter to set things up.

We got onto the topic of the power of the mind and what it can achieve to heal things and we instantly struck a common ground on this.

She shared with me her story in which she was injured and the doctors and physios recommended that she give up all exercise for life. Not one to lie down and die, she proceeded to study various papers and techniques of self-healing and with nothing to lose she set about performing these on herself to see if she was able to ensure any measure of healing. After about 2 weeks of the techniques everyday she not only felt much better but was also able to run and train once again.

This is just remarkable and something that I can relate to as I too had the same sort of experience with my ankle and the fact that 3 years ago I had lost hope with medical science and instead learned to heal myself.

There are a myriad of techniques out there that one can experiment with. The one I like in this video is the balancing the cortices.

But the keys remain that you have to first truly believe that it can and will work. Total focus and clarity is required. Don’t get distracted by naysayers and if in doubt rather keep it to yourself. If you don’t tell anyone they can’t pour scorn on to that which they don’t fully understand.

What experiences do you have with healing yourself?

Running together (while using self-healing), stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The power of the positive word

This morning while returning from my run, I encountered a older lady who was also out on her run.

We ran together for a few minutes as she proceeded to tell me that she had met me previously last year out on a run and that it was my small words to her of ‘good on ya’ that caused her to continue her running and progress to a point where she was not only running regularly but also entering short events and fun runs and thoroughly enjoying herself.

Although I did not remember our encounter this ladies kind words only served to prove to me the value of a kind or positive word to a stranger in helping to shape their life and keep them motivated. You never know what impact a few kind words may have.

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

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The marathon mid-week run

The mid-week run in any marathon training program is one that is often overlooked by those that tend to train on their own. There tends to exist a perception that there are only the 3 or sometimes 4 key sessions and that the others are either rest days or for some reason don’t count.

The keys are usually the Tuesday and Thursday speed sessions and the long run on Sunday. Saturday tempo is of course also valuable for those that can manage it.

Many however overlook the Wednesday run as one that can produce great benefits if exploited correctly. Legends Bruce Fordyce and Rob de Castella both said they felt that the mid-week run was integral to being able to succeed at the highest level in their chosen distances of the ultra marathon and marathon respectively.

How long should we be running then?

Ideally for anyone looking to take their training a bit more seriously they should probably start out at 15K and work it up gradually through the program to about 24K. Those that are doing less mileage and looking to merely complete the marathon, they could look at starting at 8KM and working it up to about 15KM at peak.

As with everything though caution is the buzz word and slowly slowly will catch that monkey. Don’t force things – just let it all unfold.

Running together (while incorporating the mid week run), stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The 5K time trial

The time trial and in particular the 5KM time trial is something that is severely overlooked by many in their training programs as a tool to measure how they are tracking.

So many folks (myself included at the start of running) like to think that they can set a new PB each time they complete the time trial distance. The objective of these trials though are not to make them into races. They are there to help us to test pace and see how we are tracking. If they become easier to complete at the same amount of effort then we know that we are on the right track with them.

Racing each and every time will only ensure that your legs are tired and that you won’t be able to complete any more of the designated sessions that are allocated for the week. By maintaining a constant pace and pushing hard but not too hard you will get the best value from these sessions.

The time trials also act as a guidance mechanism to show us when we are ready to increase our training intensity. This is great for those that don’t get to race regularly. They are best done with company but should form an essential part of any training program as a safe way of testing oneself.

Are you doing 5K time trials and if so what is your experience?

Running together (while using 5KM time trials to test the fitness), stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller

Monday, January 14, 2013

Are you Waterlogged?

There has been so many contentious things written about the amount of water (or lack thereof) that we consume or need to consume to survive in our daily lives. This is even more important for long distance runners and ultra athletes.

It is common knowledge that the body consists of majority water and that this is something that we need to survive, often though we follow advice blindly without first thinking it through and this is something that I certainly did when I first started running.

I recall how I was so worried about getting a drink that I used to head out for a 15K run with a 2L Camelpak and make sure I was sipping every 15 minutes as was mentioned on the Gatorade packet that I had. I’m now certain this was only a buying ploy as I now head off many times for 30K runs with no water and find that if I stop and drink to thirst then I am fine and don’t need to worry. I also find that I feel a lot lighter than I have in the past if adopting this strategy – after all extra water is just extra weight and something that we as distance runners don’t need.

Professor Tim Noakes wrote recently about the dangers of over drinking a in a race and in life in his text Waterlogged’. It really does make one think twice about drinking more.

What are your experiences with drinking our over drinking?

Running together (while watching out for overdrinking), stride for stride on a life changing ride! –Sean Muller

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

12 hour running madness

Ask anyone why they climb a mountain and they will reply ‘Because it was there’. Now ask people why they would choose to run up and down a walking track next a lake on Sydney’s Northern Beaches for 12 hours straight. Most reply – ‘Because it was there’.

This past Saturday evening and Sunday morning I spent down at Narrabeen on the Northern Beaches of Sydney helping out a friend who was organising the 12 hour running event that was taking place. Now the rules for a 12 hour event are as it says on the packet – run as much as you can in 12 hours.

Due to the event taking place at night it is important to have some crew to assist and provide anything that was not provided by the official race organisers. Think eating potato chips, bananas, jelly sweets, sandwiches and just about anything else that you can think of in between.

It really astounded me to see how quickly some people headed off from the gun, but also how they all managed to keep going through the night with their spirits so high. Possibly the hardest time was at around 1am-3am when loads of crew mates were sleeping in tents and yet things had to continue for the runners.

It was so pleasing to see that some chaps from the US Navy turned out to run our humble event and they actually ended up coming third in the pairs competition. Good on them!!

The Narrabeen 12 hour race is something that I would recommend to any ultra-runner looking for something to do while in Sydney in January. A truly unique experience and one where you really see the human spirit coming out in spades. Made me really proud to be part of this group of people based in Sydney.

Running together (while fighting sleep demons through the night), stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller

Exercise and relationships

Have you ever stopped to think about the relationship between exercise and relationships?

This is something that I have been thinking more of over the past couple of days due to having a few friends going through some issues with their respective partners. 

Most people, regardless of their attitude to life will agree that one should look good to attract a potential partner. Crash diets, primping and preening and last minute trips to the gym all occur prior to social situations where we might meet a potential partner. What most don't realise is that no last minute exercise the day prior to a date will do any good. Exercise and nutrition must go hand in hand and be part of ones daily regime for life if one is to see sustained difference. 

Funny then that after putting in the effort to land ourself into a relationship, many decide that they have had enough of the exercise business and fall into a comfort pattern where they become extremely slovenly.

When said relationship terminates then suddenly they start to become more active again and so the cycle begins yet again. 

These observations lead me to believe that very few of us humans have that sustained discipline to maintain healthy change. It also shows that despite us supposedly being the smartest being on Planet Earth, we can't seem to learn from our mistakes.

Running together (while maintaining exercise in a relationship), stride for stride on a life changing ride! - Sean Muller

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 discipline

So folks unless you have been asleep for the last week, you will now know that 2013 is here and the usual New Year resolutions follow. People make all sorts of outlandish claims about weight, money and health and relationships.

While talking to some of my friends a few days ago they to had such outlandish ideas to put forward. The one main thing missing however was the small but powerful concept of DISCIPLINE. DISCIPLINE is something that is more often than not overlooked while people are attempting to make changes to their lives irrespective of time of year.

To make change, you have to be able to sustain things and this involves discipline in everything that you do.

Having adopted discipline into my life while losing weight I can confirm that for me that was the one thing that outranked anything else in my quest to lose weight and keep it off.

Easy to say – hard to maintain. How disciplined are you?

Running together (while developing and maintaining discipline) stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller