Thursday, 6 December 2018

Design for Life - Manic Street Preachers

I have at three clients at the moment that I believe can represent their country at marathon and ultra-marathon distances, and together we are working hard on their levels of fitness and endurance to make 2019, their year. We are using technology to measure heart-rate, training efficiency and VO2 Max. We are also looking at marginal gains in making seconds saved into minutes off PBs primarily looking at their Power-to-Weight Ratio.

Part of that process is to look at how much they weigh and try and reduce the loading by using the right nutrition to strip excess body fat whilst maintaining muscle strength as every kilo of body-weight lost represents two minutes saved over 42.2km - totally FREE. As a marginal gain, it’s the most very effective way of cutting race times and a concept that any athlete can easily engage with, especially when they start to see their results improving.

I’ve been using this technique to get the most out of my athlete’s performances with great success for over 10 years’ now. Any shift towards a lower but healthy BMI above 18 is a good goal to have in place.

Over the past couple of years’, I’ve used the same weightloss technique (ULTRAdiet) to work with people that aren’t necessarily athletes but are wanting to improve their health and well-being - both physically and mentally. Stripping excess body weight, changing lifestyle habits and in some cases potentially extending lifespans and saving major heart and health related complications has been the aim. In an ever-expanding population, the upper limit is an initial client meeting has a whopping BMI of 65 but with weight losses of up to 47kgs (7.4 stones - 103.8lbs) the results speak for themselves. The average weightloss of any of my clients’, athlete or not is 10.6kgs - (1.6St - 23.5lbs). A significant amount that has a plainly visible effect.

In fact, the seven stone loss took just over 200 days - less than seven months to undergo the ultimate life-laundry, eradicate unwanted behavioural traits, set new targets and life-goals with a fresh self-image and confidence. Things that were previously thought impossible.

But then, the impossible is always possible. Well, that’s what I believe and it’s only the limit we impose on ourselves that confines and defines us.

I see potential in everyone - I see potential in people that can’t recognize their own potential. A gift of speed, endurance or strength of mind that’s been previously untapped. Having coached my wife Jenny to represent Team GB at 24hrs & 100km, to the Length of Ireland Guinness World Record and a sub three-hour marathon PB, I know what it will take for my international hopefuls to achieve greatness - and when they do, it will be super-rewarding.

The results that my dietary changes and thought processes make that drive people on to lose weight is super-rewarding for me too and being let into folks rivate worlds is a privilege and only drives me on personally develop my own ability to help more people become ‘Awesome’ rather than ‘Average’.

Our ULTRAdiet plays a major part in making those future plans happen. Developing strategies to avoid poor food choices, encourages folk on a daily, in some cases hourly basis to maintain a clear focus towards their goal - providing that support is my specialty.

So, ask yourself…

Looking ahead - How do you see yourself at the end of 2019? Exactly where are you in your life-plan? Do you even have a life-plan? - In December 2019, do you see a new, improved you? Happier, healthier and having matched up to your own inner abilities?

If you don’t know and you want to find thatperson, well you know where I am - And I’m here to help, just give me a call - it could be the most important call you’ll ever make.

It’s time to change the Inner You.

1,029 Lifetime Marathons, 250 ULTRA-marathons9 Guinness World Records & 15 Marathon des Sables

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Pink Floyd - Time

'And then one day you'll find, ten years' have got behind you'...

On these dark November days it’s far too easy to think of the impending Christmas Break and not to the end of 2018, that's just 36 days away. If you live life at a similar pace to me, the year has simply flashed by and it feels more like the 89th of August rather than the start of Advent - A 15th Marathon des Sables, a House-move and a mere Twenty-Two Marathons are now just dots in my rear view mirror. Whatever happened to the Long Hot Summer?

Anyway, apart from the obvious Christmas Day and Boxing Day Celebrations, the Winter Break provides an excellent time to build endurance with a series of Long Slow Distance runs - especially if you are running next year’s Marathon des Sables or have you eye on a Spring Marathon PB.

Yes, 2018 is nearly over folks - It’s time to start PLANNING 2019!

Really? Oh yes. You see, without a plan, there’s no hope. And there’s only 365 days until the next 25th of November, when I’ll be asking you just what you did in 2019 that made it a stand-out year - an ‘Annus Mirabilis’ rather than an ‘Annus Horribilis'.

Trouble is that it's dead easy to SAY you are going to turn over a 'New Leaf' in the 'New Year' but folk seldom do. Having the strength to keep 'On Point' with a 'New Direction' is super-tough. Doing it for 25 years' as I have livng 'Alcohol-Free', takes strength - takes concentration - takes balls. Doing it alone is even harder. But when you have a Coach to mentor your journey, interact with on a daily, sometimes hourly basis, it can make all the difference. It has for many people this year alone.

Whether you are trying out for Team GB, trying to lose weight or simply trying to be the person you've always wanted to be then I'm your man. Plucking up courage to make the call or drop the email is always tough. Doing it in January makes sense - doing it today is even better as you'll get an 36 days under your belt BEFORE 2019 even starts. What's there to lose - apart from 'Running Times', 'Excess Weight' or 'Addiction'.

Contact me now, I'm waiting to hear from you...

1,029 Lifetime Marathons, 250 ULTRA-marathons
9 Guinness World Records & 15 Marathon des Sables

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Freebird - Lynyrd Skynyrd - Part One

Emma Bird - AKA 'Birdie' in Full Flight...
'Cause I'm as free as a bird now'...

'Project Birdie' has been my pet project for the past 12 weeks or so to see if I can transform Marathon and Ultra-Marathon Runner, Emma Bird ('Birdie') from being an 'Average' Runner into an 'Awesome' Race-Winning Athlete. Emma contacted me following a recommendation from a previous client, saying that although she'd completed the Autumn 100 in 22hrs 25mins, her marathon PB was only 4hrs 4mins and had hit a bit of a wall concerning speed.

She immediately grabbed my attention because having completed a hundred well under 24 hours - her marathon PB simply didn't match. On speaking to Birdie, I immediately liked her no nonsense, open speaking approach and after breaking down some of her initial barriers to training faster and harder, we quickly found a happy balance to an agreeable training schedule, designed specifically around her busy schedule and highlighted some races to work towards.

Luckily for me, she's already built a huge base of 'Long-Slow-Distance' running, so a lot of the foundation and hard work was already in place and any opposition to spending hours out putting in the miles didn't exist. My task I felt was to shorten the runs, speed her up and add in some weekly 'Coleman-Power-Hours' to test her commitment and build the speed endurance that she'd need in the last 10km's of any race to succeed.

ParkRun became the speedwork part of the programme, with her 5km times quickly tumbling, much to the amazement of her Running Clubmates that didn’t know she was being coached.

Our first hurdle? Improving her 4hrs 4mins Marathon PB set in March '18 in Cyprus with only five weeks of working together. I was confident she'd smash the 3hs 56mins I'd set as a goal. And although the 4hr mark is always seen as a bit of a barrier, all I needed to do I felt was to add a huge dose of confidence to her tapering and rely on the training upgrade we'd put in place. I needn't have worried as I received a very excited Birdie phone-call post Richmond Marathon, announcing a new 3hrs 48mins PB saying she could have gone even faster. And she will, as sub 3hrs 30mins is now more than achievable.

Forward a month and a hard day out at the Beachy Head Marathon was excellent preparation for her biggest challenge to date - The Druid Challenge, a three-stage, three-day 84-mile Ultra-Marathon where I knew she'd shine not only in her age category (FV40) but could also podium. With a good hundred mile and marathon PB in the bag a sub-15hr Druid was certainly there for the taking. To soften the nerves, I recommended a steady run on day one, with a 5hrs 11mins (comfortable) time achieved. Her amazement of being second overall female and first age category only fuelled her determination and maintaining those positions, she ran the last day in a time of 4hrs 38mins for the 28 miles – simply amazing.

Our post-race analysis concluded that she would have won overall female with a quicker day one but contented with her overall result of FV40 winner and 14th position in the field of over 100 runners, it provides a firm foundation as we head into 2019 for faster times and even better results ahead. I asked Birdie what difference my coaching has made to her running and she said, ‘You've given me structure, belief in my ability and made me step out of my comfort zone!' - and how right she is.

Make sure you are 'Birdie-Watching' in 2019 as there's a lot more to come - I'll keep you posted on her progress and if you are stuck with 'Average' PB's you might find that my coaching can help you achieve the times you are more than capable of, just like 'Birdie'. All you need to is contact me here.

1,028 Lifetime Marathons, 250 ULTRA-marathons
9 Guinness World Records & 15 MdS

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Hard Times - Human League

I must say I enjoyed The Druid Challenge at the weekend especially as it was my 250thULTRA-marathon. It gave me the opportunity of meeting up with a lot of clients both new and old as well as some very special friends that I’ve met and ran with over the years.

The event celebrated its 10th Anniversary in style and it’s amazing just how fast those 10 years have flashed by. I remember one lady runner from the first year that impressed me so much that I ended up marrying her but that’s another story. The chance to talk to the runners on the Saturday Evening, got me thinking about how much has changed not only over the past decade but also the twenty-five years I’ve been running off-road marathons and ultras.

As I put on my trail shoes, calf-guards, speedos, compression shorts, short-sleeved shirt, long-sleeved shirt, running-jacket, rucksack (packed with mobile, battery-pack, headphones, gels, energy-bars and a hat – I smiled thinking about the short-shorts and vest I wore in my first Ultra along the Grantham Canal back in 1995. 

I ran that race marathon-hard on a very warm August Bank-Holiday without any of the above kit or supplies as I remember. There might have been some Soreen at some checkpoints and some Jelly Babies but it was a lifetime ago and the race has blurred now in my rear view mirrors. The feeling of accomplishment remains though – Races like Rowbotham’s Round Rotherham 50, The South Downs 80 & The Grand Union 145 are all deeply etched into my DNA having raced and given them my all.

In my opinion there’s nothing better than to have given your all. For instance, hitting the finish line after running the 55 miles from London to Brighton, (on the road) having run all the way is something I’ll never forget. Rocking backwards and forwards with my adrenaline still pumping and heart-beat throbbing was a wonderful feeling – those London to Brighton Medals (I did it three times) ers hard fought especially as you had to RUN the whole way and have a sub 3.30 marathon time even to qualify. Walk – and you were picked up by a minibus. I wonder how many modern-day ‘ULTRA-runners’ could manage that?

Did I run hard at Druid? I sure did, and I gave it everything I’d got which isn’t much post GBS I can tell you.

I believe if you are going to do something, be something or achieve greatness within – you have to live ‘The Dream’. I’ll be living ‘The Dream’ again tomorrow and will add more then.

Nos Da…

1027 Marathons, 250 ULTRAS, 9 Guinness World Records & 15 Marathon des Sables

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

John 00 Fleming - Passion - Continuous Mix 1

‘Success is measured by how high you set your bar’. The thought came to me whilst listening to the above track on a long walk home to Cardiff. The 1:16:39 minutes of the track gave me ample time for my thoughts to drift, and consider how even simple mundane tasks can become a case of success or failure, as we tackle life’s daily tasks.

I’m not suggesting that your evening commute should become a target for a Personal Best – I’d leave PB’s to races as there aren’t any medals for getting home from work one second quicker than before and if everything became a PB, then living under such pressure would be simply become unbearable. 

Even PB’s in Races can have negative connotations I believe. You see I always ask my clients what they predict when we are working towards their next ‘A’ race. For someone chasing a sub 3.30 marathon – having a PB of 3:45, a 3:35 would have been an undoubted success. Now chasing a sub 3:29.59 - a 3:30:00 is an annoying failure by 1 second – and there are plenty I know with a 3.00.00 and a 3:15:00. None of whom are truly thrilled about their time, I can tell you no matter how good it was to run quickly. I remember a 3:30:55 which really cheesed me off as I needed a sub 3:30 to qualify for the London-to-Brighton 55 mile Road Race.

Then again setting the bar so low that you ALWAYS achieve your goal, well that’s a slow decline to ‘Averageness’ in my book. I mean, why even bother? Winning every time must become boring – where’s the interest and the thrill in achieving something that becomes ordinary every time you do something?

Knowing where to set your bar? Well that’s the $64M Dollar question. If you work for a large corporation, your latest PDR will have no doubt pointed you in the right direction. If you are bit more of a one-man band - well your nearest and dearest will probably be your best critics. I'm great at setting folks 'Bars'...

Personally, I’ve always set my bar high. Very High – but not so high that things have been unachievable. Possibly a little safe but on the whole but pitched just about right for my desires. Achieving has always been the aim and I’d say I’ve had a good run for my money.

So, maybe you could consider where you pitch your aims and aspirations. Are they too outrageous – never to be achieved? Or are you just bobbing along, not rippling the water and in need of a new vision.

Listen to the track, you have just over an hour to consider how high your 'Bar' needs to be, and when you find out, please let me know. 

1025 Marathons, 248 ULTRAS, 9 Guinness World Records & 15 Marathon des Sables

Sunday, 14 October 2018

More than this - Roxy Music - Day 5

SUNDAY - I thought this blog could build as the week unfolds. It’ll be interesting to see where it takes me. I know Bracknell and Bromsgrove are on my work itinerary with plenty of adventure – plus whatever else happens in between – that’s the beauty of my job, as it makes every day, different.

You see I’m always amazed when people say they ‘do the same old things’ yet talk about wanting more out of life’. I’m not sure I can get much more out of mine. Talk about getting ‘Value for Money’ eh. Anyway, it got me thinking and that’s why I chose ‘More than this’.

And it’s a long time since I’ve used a Roxy Music Track to highlight my thoughts but this 1982 single (reached #6 in the UK Charts) and has some great lyrics. As with all Roxy music, it’s perfectly recorded and mastered and sounds as fresh as it did when I first bought ‘Avalon’ all those years ago – only better now it’s been digitally remastered and not on scratchy vinyl.

I could feel at the time there was no way of knowing
Fallen leaves in the night who can say where they're blowing…


Thirty-six years on – more than a lifetime for some, I really had no way of knowing what lay ahead – Sure the leaves have fallen, re-grown and fallen many times over with a relentless frequency. Life has flashed by but I've never worried as I love the thought of not knowing what lies ahead. I mean, no-one truly knows where they are heading – that’s the beauty of this wonderful life we are all living out and what I find exciting.

The world's a different place to 1982 - our use of plastic has come and gone in that time. We've wrecked the planet  and now it's biting back... 

The power of nature – the wind and the ocean underlines just how fragile our world and our existence are. How we manage to get to any age considering the ‘Russian Roulette’ we play just living out life every day, amazes me. As a young boy, I remember being a regular at my local hospital’s A&E department with a whole spectrum of accident damage, mostly to my head (answers a lot). 

Might be worth thinking about your journey into work today… It's something I'm going to concentrate on this week too...

As free as the wind and hopefully learning
Why the sea on the tide has no way of turning…



MONDAY - Makes you wonder if we ever do learn, especially this Monday evening after a day’s hard labour with a pneumatic drill. You see us chaps, however old we get, still believe we’re eighteen. I know I’m probably fitter than I was back then and I’m certainly more healthy than I’ve ever been but as for being S-T-R-O-N-G, well I’m not. My arms are killing as I’m typing, mostly my forearms and shoulders as they are plainly just not used to prolonged hard work. 

Typing just doesn’t build endurance and strength - fact.

This got me thinking about all the people stuck in offices that must be simply wasting away - through a lack of conditioning. Your average builder, no matter how many sugars he might have in his tea and what his hip-to-waist-ratio is, has better conditioning than an office-based Triathlete. I’m not sure whether there’s enough hours in the day to reverse the corrosion of being desk-based and sedentary for a large proportion of the day.

My six hours in the car tomorrow won’t help my cause that much either. Good news though is that I clocked up 21,000 steps today mostly carrying a heavy drill and so no further training is required – I’m going to think on about putting more conditioning into my schedule. It’s gotta help…

We’ll see eh? And I’ll add more to my weeklong Blog tomorrow if I can raise my arms and have a great Tuesday – and think on about how S-T-R-O-N-G you really are…

More than this, there is nothing
More than this, tell me one thing…



TUESDAY Tales of ULTRAdiet success and woe fill my inbox on a Tuesday morning and as usual there were plenty of ‘Losers’ – Rarely do I see a ‘Gainer’ but this week there were more ‘Stay-the-Samers’ than usual. Most came with a pretty limp excuse if I’m being honest, but after some research I might have found the ‘Common Denominator’ of their failure .

‘Meal-Times’

Yes, ‘Meal-Times’ – the modern day waistline Kryptonite. It’s simple, folk just don’t know whento eat. Grabbing food during a busy day leads to two breakfasts, three lunches and at least two suppers. Sprinkle in a couple of Starbucks and an odd bottle of wine and it’s ‘Diet Anarchy’ – keeping an eye on one’s food intake is simply impossible.

So I had an idea to rectify the problem - Try regulating your mealtimes to the following. Breakfast at 8.30am (post exercise) - Mid-morning Snack at 11am – Lunch at 1pm - Mid-Afternoon Snack at 4pm and Supper at 7pm and see how you get on – NEVER EATING THE NEXT MEAL BEFORE THE FIXED MEALTIME. And of course no picking allowed… 

It could be one of the greatest ‘Lifestyle Changes’ ever invented.

Post-War, Rationed Britain ate to their meal-times like a British Rail Timetable and even now the older generation that I know follow this eating pattern with great effect. It’s worth a try isn’t it? And if you are 69kgs and stuck in ‘The Diet Doldrums’ (you know who you are) it could be the push you need for 63kgs success.

I’ll let you know if this revelation makes anydifference to those that adapt to living on CMT (Coleman Meal Times). and I’ll soon know whether this is one of the better ideas I’ve had on the M4 – I mean what else do you do with six hours of FREETIME.

Let’s see what Wednesday brings, luckily based back in Cardiff…

It was fun for a while there was no way of knowing
Like dream in the night who can say where we're going…


Wednesday – TBH I’ve always been really proud about setting my Treadmill World Records and it was only in taking them down, that I noticed the date – 17-18thOctober 1998. Twenty years’ ago today! A complete lifetime ago, and as I remember it was a weekend where everything went to plan and I beat the existing Guinness World Record by more than seven miles.

Setting a further four World Records during the same 24 hour period – well that was the icing on the cake. Not many people, let alone athletes have ever managed that.

Before I was ill, I thought there was always another World Record in me – but nine is enough for anyone and I’ll always have warm thoughts of knowing right from the start of the 24hrs that I was going to be the New 24hr Treadmill World Record Holder.

As if you are fit – you’re fit – and you just know…

No care in the world maybe I'm learning
Why the sea on the tide has no way of turning…

Thursday - I’ve been setting some new folk onto ULTRAdiet and it always sound really brutal when I’m going through the do’s and don’ts. So, rather than a ‘How-to-do-the-diet’ and ‘Why-you-should-do-the-diet’ Blog, I thought I’d share some feedback from another client battling his addiction to alcohol, rather than sugar. It has the same sentiment and he offers more than one way that I helped him beat his addiction but I’ve highlighted just one aspect of our work together.

‘I was desperate when I contacted Rory. I'd been drinking far too much for far too long. I really wanted to stop, but after numerous failed attempts knew I needed some extra help.  

Help, Rory certainly gave me and now almost two years later, I remain completely alcohol free. Reflecting on why this worked for me, and what Rory brought to this successful attempt had one main factor:

Accountability - This seemed brutal to begin with, but was absolutely the thing that kept me pushing on when things got tough. I knew that every evening, I had to report in to Rory on how things had gone. It just wasn’t worth the grief of having to explain that I had slipped up … and before I knew it I'd been alcohol free for a week, then a month, then three months etc’. 

For the record he’s still dry (and in this group) and sure it was tough. If it was easy, he wouldn’t have reached out for help but by sticking at it, one day at a time it soon built and once in the groove – he became the driver and became the person that didn’t want to break his winning streak.

He became a WINNER.

You can too – just stick with it 

Friday – At long last, or not really as the week’s just flown by and it’s been most rewarding all round. Today was a cracking day with a couple of highlights. This morning I coached the athlete with the most potential I’ve ever had. He literally destroyed the cooper test and was cracking out over 21kph at the end of the 12 minutes only to feel slightly cheesed off that he could have run further than the 3750m in 12 minutes. No names, as I’m keeping his name under wraps, but ‘Simply WOW!’

And ‘Simply WOW!’ too for Cat Savage as she’s now cracked off more than 4.17 stone since May 15thand is firmly set on conquering Mountains, Deserts and whatever comes to mind next as she’s now living life to the full. I walked for a couple of hours with her today and her enthusiasm is infectious to say the least.

I admire them both for different reasons but then I admire anyone that makes a conscious lifestyle change. And the beauty is, everyone has the ability to be ‘More’ – I’ve witnessed it a lot this week and it’s been most refreshing and over-whelming to say the least

Amen

1025 Marathons, 248 ULTRAS, 9 Guinness World Records & 15 Marathon des Sables

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Sign o' the Times - Prince

Sign o' the Times - Not a good advert...
According to an article in ‘The Times’ today, leading international experts are saying that ‘Britain is institutionally prejudiced against the obese’.

‘Weight discrimination is rife, and doctors need to be trained not to dismiss heavy patients, according to the World Obesity Federation. About half of obese people say they have felt judged because of their weight in social situations and when seeing a GP or going to hospital. A quarter of all people admitted that they would give a job to a thin candidate over an equally qualified obese applicant’.

Well I’m not sure that comes a big surprise. Because we ALL judge. It’s in our DNA to take stock of anyone we meet and size them up. Firstly, to see if they offer a threat – I do it myself, I seem to look at people and go through a facial-recognition programme to see if I recognise them. I’m not sure that’s unique to me but it’s something I often find myself doing – mostly when I’m walking in Cardiff City Centre. Having lived in Cardiff for 8 years I get lots of positive results. The strange thing is, when I’m a long way from home with a zero chance of meeting anyone ‘familiar’ I still do it – how weird is that – or is it just human nature.

Anyway, back to ‘The Times’ article and we know not all Obesity is self-induced and Obesity due to a medical condition is super-miserable. A prolonged course of high-dose Prednisolone will ruin the waistline of anyone unfortunately fortunate to be prescribed it. I gained 15kgs in a matter of weeks during my GBS recovery, which took ages to shift. A tight ‘Lifestyle and Exercise’ routine did the job and got me back to normal.

As it does for the general head of population. A normal and healthy BMI of 25 or less can be as little as 200 days away for anyone who puts their mind to changing their lifestyle - even for those as heavy as 130kgs and 1.83m tall having a BMI of 38.8 (classed as ‘Severely Obese’ btw – not FAT anymore).

I know this as many of my clients have achieved just that.

As a Lifestyle Coach, it’s really frustrating that I can’t help more people in the UK achieve a healthy, fulfilling and extended life at their ‘Natural Weight’. It’s a real no-brainer. The health benefits are plain and simple, yet folk would rather moan about being ‘discriminated’ against, rather than taking action. 

Elimination of the ‘Obese Discrimination Issue’ all together would be a far better use of time and energy IMO. Reversing ALL of the health issues below, should be a priority for anyone with a BMI of 25+ let alone 30, 40 or even more – my record encountered so far is 65! 

·      High blood pressure
·      High cholesterol
·      Type 2 diabetes
·      Heart disease
·      Stroke
·      Gallbladder disease
·      Osteoarthritis
·      Sleep Apnea
·      Cancer
·      Mental illness

Aren’t these reasons enough to lose weight?
Our ‘Buy Now – Pay Later’ attitude, sugar-loaded fast food and sedentary based lifestyle means the ‘Obesity’ issue in the UK will grow at the same rate as the nation’s waistlines.
As for changing how we perceive overweight people – I can’t see that changing as ‘Overweight = Lazy’. Day’s off through illness and special working conditions also frighten potential employers. My crusade is to help people firstly realise there’s help out there to change and then make a positive, prolonged drive to never feel discriminated against for being ‘Obese’ ever again.
1025 Marathons, 248 Ultras, 9 Guinness World Records & 15 Marathon des Sables