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!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Never judge a book by its cover

This is the saying that is universally recognised. But this morning I found that it also had a lot of relevance for runners to. 

A friend and I were out in the park doing our normal 14k Monday run when we spotted a rather portly chap with an awkward looking running style.  Following a quick chat between us, we had universally agreed that his style had to be some sort of hindrance to his running. 

Nevertheless we could not have been more wrong as he closed in on us from behind and was then gone like a rocket. Sure we weren't going particularly quickly, but it did shock me to hear afterwards that that bloke regularly broke 3 hours with that stance and just proved to me again the old adage that if something is working for you and you are not getting injured frequently (which this stride was for him) then there is no reason to change it.

Sure perhaps some style correction may have helped a little, but in many cases it is probably not warranted. 

Running together (while not judging on appearance) , stride for stride on a life changing ride! -- Sean Muller

Monday, February 18, 2013

The universal language of runners

A friend was sharing her recent overseas marathoning experiences with me and it was amazing to hear how she described the feeling that was present in the pack while running.

Very few of the other runners spoke any English at all and she was among one of only a small handful of westerners in the field. This mattered not as the primitive bond of running and the runner brought them together as a group.  While spoken language prohibited the normal banter that one might in these sorts of races, there was still plenty of positive body language, help and sharing that you would expect.

The main thing she said was that she just felt instantly welcome in amongst all these other runners. Truly a sport that transcends race, gender and language barriers.

Step out the door and experience it for yourself.

Running together (while breaking down barriers), stride for stride on a life changing ride!—Sean Muller

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Heart health and running

Tomorrow is Valentines day and many around the world will spend this Hallmark day by sending chocolates, teddy bears, cards, roses and other overpriced junk to those that they love or those whose affections they wish to earn.

I did hear about a novel gift that couples were giving each other this Valentines Day - a visit to the doctor for a heart checkup. Granted it is not as romantic as a traditional Valentines Day gifts and gestures, but it is far more important in the greater scheme of things in life.

When last did you get your heart health checked? Sure you might think that as a runner you are fit enough not to worry about this, but over the past year I have had several close friends and training buddies all confide that they suffered some heart scares. This caused me to go out and get myself checked last year. 

Now I received he all clear even though the doctor was shocked that my resting pulse was only 38. I had thought this was normal if one is training, but apparently the medical profession still classes it as being on the low side.

Go out and get yourself checked folks. It isn't just old overweight people who smoke who have to worry. It's painless and I'd rather know than not know as with any other ailment, if caught early loads of things can be done.

Running together (while checking your heart health), stride for stride on a life changing ride. -- Sean Muller

Monday, February 11, 2013

Visualisation vs obsession

I'm 30k into the middle of a 35k training run yesterday when I start thinking  about the event that I am putting all this effort into completing (the Virgin London Marathon). It is not unusual for me to spend some time each day thinking about an upcoming event, but this one seems to have so much significance behind it for me. 

Firstly I will be catching up with all my family and friends which will be great, but also because I have put so much effort into the training. I was commenting to a friend at the gym this morning that this is the hardest that I have been training for any event including the Comrades Marathon which is over twice the distance and has much harder hills in it to boot. 

I followed the exact advice that I have given to anyone that I have assisted in that it is important to think about the event, but also to focus on some things outside of this to enable you to achieve balance. 

Sometimes this is very hard as you walk that fine line between continuing to visualise a great race, which is proven to be good for competing in the event and aiding a good result and obsession.

The great Cathy Freeman said that effective visualisation and seeing things in her mind was helped her to Olympic success. In fact she used to leave visual aides all over the house to help remind her of what she wanted to achieve. 

What are your thoughts on visualisation and harnessing it?

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

Friday, February 8, 2013

Training not straining

This week I was reminded of the importance of using training for precisely that – training and not racing or straining.

Many times when we as humans find ourselves in a large group then the tendency is for us to get competitive and a training run of a certain pace turns into a race to see who can make it home the quickest. This is by far not the way we should be using our training sessions.

Training should be comfortably hard but not leaving everything lying on the track so that we are suitably wiped out for the next session. You want to be able to get out of bed and run a good session the next day to.

There are no medals, ribbons, trophies or prize money for the hardest trainers in the group.

In short – save your best efforts for the race day. They will be suitably rewarded then.

Running together (while not straining in training), stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Importance of eating before the long run

This past weekend I attended a unique running camp that my coach holds every so often. The camps are designed to bring people together and training in different sessions to help to improve their running and also to allow people the chance to meet new training buddies and friends.

Given that all the runs were over trails or on the beach, things were pretty hard going and forced one to work pretty hard.

The Sunday morning session was as usual where people headed off in different distances and at different paces. Running 32K over the trails on the morning I made the extreme rookie error of not eating anything prior and also of leaving my water bottle back at the camp.

I was pretty much good to go until around the 28K mark where I started to pay the price with the head going a little fuzzy and having trouble doing maths of where the next KM marking would be. As soon as this feeling of bonking came on I knew I was in trouble and it was for lack of pre fuelling.

I should have known better, but it goes to show that the old adage of doing better when you eat before a long run is so true.

Running together (while managing at least a banana beforehand), stride for stride on a life changing ride! – Sean Muller

Friday, February 1, 2013

Using running to get through tough times

Sometimes as simple as it sounds, all I need is a nice run to make everything seem normal once again. 

I was taken into confidence by a friend the other day who had said she was feeling very depressed and close to ending it all. This was quite an eye opener for me and luckily I was able to sit down with her and chat to her about the importance of getting some help and talking to a professional. 

We all have our days where we have some things go not the way that we wanted them to or the way that we envisaged. Something feels just right or we feel very trapped and without options to get out of things. As much as we look at the situation, we can't see a way clear. 

I had a bit of a downer myself yesterday when a situation didn't go according to  how I had hoped. That said I managed to get back up this morning and progress again.

It helps then to have something like running where we are able to turn to something constructive and positive that requires minimal energy and something that makes us feel normal again. 

There is always always a way folks even if it looks bleak and as though there is no way through there is always a way. Having exercise helps us as we are then able to just focus on plodding forward and making some kind of headway. 

Take care of your mates!

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