Thursday 22 February 2024

The Light Pours out of Me - Magazine

'Is this still life?'

I was speaking earlier today about how my ultramarathon career got started and unlike my clients, I didn’t start off speaking to a running mentor.

Instead, it was a copy of ‘Runner’s World’ magazine which first caught my attention and propelled me towards running even longer distances than the standard marathon of 26 miles and 385 yards. It was the November 1994 issue that really fired my imagination. It was published whilst I was training for my first London Marathon and contained a special feature on ultra-running - the task of running beyond a marathon. Inside there was a picture of an American lady called Ann Trason, and there was a feature on her running the Western States Endurance Race in America. It was that image that rocked my world. I saw that photograph of her running up the Rocky Mountains and I just thought, ‘That’s what I want to do!’

Of course, I didn’t have a clue how I’d make that dream a reality. I just saw a photo of her and thought, ‘Gosh, she looks great!’ It just looked incredible, brilliant. It was like, ‘I want some of that.’ What she was doing was totally surreal to me, it was different to anything I’d ever seen before, it was totally ‘far out’ and way beyond any running concept I had ever come across. What she was doing was also completely off my scale. 

But I just sat there looking at that amazing amount of freedom she was experiencing and thought, ‘Wow!’

There was also an article on Alberto Salazar who’d won the prestigious 56-mile Comrades Marathon in South Africa. I just saw these people and thought, ‘That’s it. That’s my destiny.’ I felt inspired to go and grab some of what they were having. I knew that it was possible if I trained really hard - having run my first marathon I’d acquired a taste for distance and knew I could go a lot further. 

From that day forwards I was hooked - I was fascinated by the concept of ultra-running and the next logical step for me was to really start upping my mileage. Not that I’d been taking running lightly up until this point - by now I was already testing myself, I’d tried a week running 10 miles a day every day - it was brilliant! I did them all in about 80 minutes. I just went and ran them. It was great. It does sound bizarre now, and I’m not being glib, it was just what I really, really wanted to do. It was the sense of freedom that it gave me. I was thinking, ‘Well, I wonder how many other people are running 10 miles a day. I wonder - is anybody else doing what I’m doing?’

My new training regime became nine miles in the morning and nine miles in the evening, four days a week. Then I’d run 20 miles on a Saturday and 20 miles on a Sunday. That’s as technical as it got. I know suddenly running all those miles sounds like I was in self-destruction mode, but I wasn’t. It was a positive mental and physical building process. Naturally, I had some initial aches and pains, like lots of runners do when they start, but my body adjusted very quickly to the new regime, and I’ve never looked back – not once.

What’s driving you forwards to achieve your dream?

1,178 Marathons - 276 Ultras - 9 GWR - 16 MDS







Monday 19 February 2024

Nosebleed - Deaftones


My-oh-my, that was a weekend to remember. Probably the worst weekend of my life, trumping GBS and previous surgeries many times over. Yes, I had Septoplasty Surgery on my nose on Friday morning.

Septoplasty is a corrective surgical procedure done to straighten a deviated nasal septum – the nasal septum being the partition between the two nasal cavities. Ideally, the septum should run down the centre of the nose. When it deviates into one of the cavities, it narrows that cavity and impedes airflow. My deviated nasal septum or crooked internal nose occurred when I was 14 or so when I face-planted the gym-floor during a basketball match at school. My facial injuries were then topped by a direct whack on the bridge of my nose with a very hard basketball later in the game. It's apparently the reason why I'm partially deaf.

Well I only just had the surgery, as I nearly copped out of the procedure at the last moment when my surgeon told me of the ‘two weeks of post operative misery’ (his words) I'd have to endure and alsothat I wouldn’t be able to run, bathe or drink tea for the foreseeable future. Add to that the blocked nose and chances of failure and the 48 years I'd endured septum displacement option.


However, I did have the pressure of 40+ people in my Coleman Coaching WhatsApp Group cheering me on. Failure in that environment would be ridiculed severely and it’s only the thought of that plus a good talking to from my wife Jen, that got me calm enough to get on the theatre slab, well that and some Temazepam.

How was the surgery? 

It’s the worst thing I’ve ever made my body experience - I did have to choose to do this. Coming out of the anaesthetic with a nose that felt like it’s been pummelled by a very angry bare-knuckled Mike Tyson will hopefully give you some notion of the level of pain I endured. The nasal-pain went well past eleven along with the amount of times I said ‘Fuck!’ FUCK it hurt!!!

Maybe it would have been better if I’d read the small print about what the operation would actually be like but like most big picture thinkers, I just thought the less I knew, the easier it would be. However, 48 hours on and I'm a whole lot better than I thought I’d be and I’m off the drugs, drinking tea and have enjoyed a couple of baths without any of the expected complications.

I’m very grateful to have such a wonderful wife that nursed me (again) when the going got tough, and her wise words were needed to point me in the direction. Add some amazingly supportive messages from my friends and clients and the world is a much brighter place than it was on Friday.


Will I smell any better? Let’s hope so eh? Will I hear any better? Well only time will tell.

I am glad I did it. And I hope that if you are ever in a similar situation, you’ll man up and take the plunge into the world of the unknown. It's always a good gauge of how tough you really are I've found.

1,178 Marathons - 276 Ultras - 9 GWR - 16 MDS - One Nose

Tuesday 13 February 2024

Take it to the Limit - The Eagles

Have you reached your limit...
There are many reasons to embrace sobriety. Health concerns, personal growth aspirations, and the sheer embarrassment of always getting drunk and messing up are just a few. And if you do decide to go 0%,you’ll find the impact on your life extends far beyond the state of being abstinent. 


At its core, sobriety embodies a commitment to self-care and well-being. It represents a conscious choice to prioritise mental clarity, emotional stability, and physical health over the fleeting euphoria that alcohol brings. However, achieving and maintaining sobriety is seldom a straightforward path. It requires unwavering dedication, support, and resilience to navigate the daily challenges life throws at us and the many temptations that will be encountered along the way.

 

For many individuals, the journey toward sobriety begins with a moment of awakening, it did for me. A realisation of the destructive patterns and consequences associated with booze. Whether sparked by a personal crisis, a wake-up call from loved ones, or a rock-bottom experience, this moment of clarity serves as a catalyst for change. It ignites a desire for a better life and sets the stage for embarking on the arduous yet rewarding path of recovery.

 

The early stages of sobriety are often characterised by withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and emotional upheaval as the body and mind adjust to an alcohol-free life. This phase can be daunting and overwhelming, testing one's resolve and resilience. However, with the right support system in place, including therapy, peer groups, and working with a sponsor or coach, individuals can gradually navigate through the turbulence of withdrawal and begin to reclaim control over their lives. I had a feeling of euphoria during this period of my own recovery.

 

Central to the process of sobriety is self-reflection and introspection. Beyond addressing the physical dependence, it entails confronting the underlying issues and emotions that fuelled the cycle of addiction. Whether rooted in trauma, unresolved grief, low self-esteem, and mental health issues, these underlying factors must be acknowledged and addressed to foster lasting recovery.

 

Therapeutic modalities such as Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness-based practices offer invaluable tools for exploring coping mechanisms and behaviours. By gaining insight into the root causes of addiction and developing healthier coping strategies, individuals can cultivate resilience and empower themselves to navigate life's challenges without resorting to drinking.

 

Moreover, sobriety entails a holistic lifestyle overhaul encompassing physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. This often involves adopting healthier habits such as regular exercise, nutritious eating, adequate sleep, and stress management techniques. Engaging in meaningful activities, hobbies, and social connections can also provide a sense of purpose, fulfilment, and belonging that counteracts the void left by intoxication.

 

One of the most profound aspects of sobriety is the restoration of self-empowerment. As individuals shed the shackles of addiction and reclaim control of their lives, they rediscover their inherent worth, values, and aspirations. This newfound sense of self-awareness and integrity serves as a guiding light, empowering them to make conscious choices aligned with their goal of living a better existence.

 

Through the trials and tribulations of recovery, individuals develop resilience, humility, and empathy. They confront their limitations and vulnerabilities head-on, emerging stronger, wiser, and more compassionate in the process. 

 

The ripple effects of sobriety extend far beyond the individual journey, profoundly impacting relationships, families, and communities. As individuals heal and reclaim their lives, they inspire hope and serve as beacons of possibility for others struggling with addiction. By sharing their stories, offering support, and advocating for awareness and resources, they contribute to a culture of compassion, acceptance, and recovery.

 

In essence, sobriety is a testament to the human spirit's capacity for resilience, growth, and transformation. It’s a journey marked by courage, humility, and perseverance - a journey of reclaiming one's life, one sober day at a time and whilst the path may be fraught with challenges and setbacks, the rewards of sobriety, inner peace, and a renewed zest for life are immeasurable.


1,177 Marathons - 267 Ultras - 16 MDS - 9 GWR - 1 Life

Sunday 11 February 2024

Brain Damage - The Pink Floyd

You make the change...
In today's ever-changing world, mental focus has become a prized commodity. With endless distractions vying for our attention, mastering the art of concentration has never been more critical. Whether you're a student striving for academic excellence, a professional aiming to boost productivity, or an ultra-athlete seeking peak performance, honing your mental focus is the key to achieving your goal.

Understanding Mental Focus

Being mentally focussed directs your attention and concentration toward a specific task or goal while filtering out distractions. It involves harnessing your cognitive resources to maintain sustained attention over time, resisting temptation, and effectively managing competing demands for your attention.

 

The Importance of Mental Focus

1. 'Enhanced Productivity': When you can concentrate deeply on a task without being side-tracked, you can accomplish more in less time. With heightened focus, your efficiency and effectiveness skyrocket.

 

2. 'Improved Performance': Whether it's studying for an exam, completing a work project, or mastering a skill, focused attention is crucial for achieving optimal performance. It allows you to fully engage with the task at hand, leading to better outcomes.

 

3. 'Stress Reduction': Distractions can contribute to feelings of being overwhelmed and stressed. By cultivating mental focus, you can better manage stress levels and maintain a sense of calm and control even in high-pressure situations.

 

4. 'Enhanced Learning': Concentrated attention facilitates deeper learning and retention of information. By immersing yourself fully in the learning process, you can grasp complex concepts more effectively and retain them in your memory.

 

Strategies for Cultivating Mental Focus

1. 'Set Clear Goals': Clearly define your objectives before starting a task. Knowing what you want to accomplish helps direct your focus and prioritize your actions.

 

2. 'Manage Your Environment': Minimize distractions by creating a conducive environment for focused work. This may involve turning off notifications, finding a quiet space, or using tools like noise-cancelling headphones.

 

3. 'Practice Mindfulness': Incorporate mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, into your daily routine to train your brain to stay present and focused.

 

4. 'Utilise Time Management Techniques': Break tasks into bite sized chunks and allocate dedicated time slots for focused work. Techniques like the Pomodoro Technique, which involves working in short bursts with regular breaks, can help maintain concentration.

 

5. 'Stay Organized': Keep your workspace tidy and organise your tasks using to-do lists or productivity apps. A clutter-free environment can promote mental clarity and make it easier to stay focused.

 

6. 'Prioritise Single-Tasking': Multitasking can fragment your attention and reduce overall productivity. Instead, focus on one task at a time, giving it your full attention before moving on to the next.

 

7. 'Take Regular Breaks': Allow yourself short breaks to recharge and prevent mental fatigue. Taking pauses can rejuvenate your focus and prevent burnout over extended periods of work.

 

Mastering mental focus is a skill that requires practice and perseverance, but the rewards are immense. By honing your ability to concentrate deeply on tasks, you can unlock your full potential, achieve greater productivity, and experience heightened levels of performance and fulfilment in all areas of your life. 

 

Incorporate these strategies into your daily routine, and watch as your ability to focus improves, empowering you to accomplish more with clarity and purpose.


1,177 Marathons - 276 Ultras - 16 MDS - 9 GWR - One Mind



Sunday 4 February 2024

Change - Tears for Fears


I love writing about ‘Change’ and the whole ‘Change Process’. And although I’m into my sixties, I’m still happy to try out new things and engage with fresh ideas and technology. Just because I’ve been on the planet for some time now, it doesn’t have to limit my thought process. I’m not old, I’m just more experienced. And with that in my mind, I feel still very much open to change.

You see, change shapes our personal journeys, society, and the world at large. It’s a powerful force that evokes excitement and trepidation, as it disrupts familiar routines and introduces the unknown. Change has the potential to redefine our perspectives, challenge our comfort zones, and pave the way for innovation and growth.

 

As an ever-present phenomenon that manifests itself in various forms throughout our lives, change can be sudden and unexpected, such as a career shift or a significant life event. Alternatively, it can be gradual and evolutionary, like the natural progression of technology. Change can also be initiated internally, through personal choices and self-reflection, or externally by economic, or environmental factors.

 

One of the fundamental aspects of change is its ability to challenge our comfort zones. It forces us to confront our fears, adapt to new circumstances, and embrace uncertainty. While change can be uncomfortable and intimidating, it is often through these transformative experiences that we discover our true potential and resilience.

 

Change also invites us to challenge our preconceived notions and expand our perspectives. By exposing ourselves to diverse experiences and perspectives, we gain a deeper understanding of the world and develop empathy and compassion for others. Change enables us to overcome limitations and transcend boundaries, empowering us to become more adaptable, open-minded, and resilient individuals.

 

By embracing change, we become active participants in shaping our own destiny.

 

Resistance to change often stems from fear of the unknown and the desire to maintain stability and familiarity. However, by resisting change, we limit our potential and hinder our ability to adapt to a rapidly changing world. Embracing change allows us to embrace uncertainty, learn from our failures, and cultivate a mindset of continuous growth and improvement.

 

Change is an integral part of life that empowers us to transcend our limitations, explore new horizons, and contribute to the betterment of society. By embracing change, we unlock our true potential, foster personal growth, and drive societal progress. While change may be intimidating, its rewards are immeasurable. 


So let us embrace change with open hearts and open minds, for it’s through change that we find the courage to transform ourselves and shape the world around us.


1,177 Marathons - 276 Ultras - 16 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records - 1 Life

Sunday 28 January 2024

One Vision - Queen

Derrick Evans - Mr Motivator
I thought I’d write about motivation today. You see, it’s the ever-present elephant in the room when I’m speaking to clients. Now, in an ever-changing world when anything you need to know about anything can be found online, I thought I’d ask ChatGPT to help me on the subject of motivation , and it went like this…

Rory Coleman

Write me an article about motivation.

ChatGPT

Title: Harnessing the Power of Motivation: Fuelling Success in Every Endeavour.

Introduction: Motivation serves as a driving force that propels individuals to accomplish their goals, overcome obstacles, and elevate their performance. Whether pursuing personal aspirations or professional endeavours, maintaining high levels of motivation is crucial to achieve success. In this article, we will explore the significance of motivation, delve into key factors that influence it, and provide practical tips to nourish and sustain motivation in various aspects of life.

Understanding Motivation: Motivation, in its essence, is an internal force that pushes people to take action, fulfil their desires, and strive for excellence. It acts as a catalyst for change and influences individual behaviour, mindset, and overall well-being. Motivation can take various forms, such as intrinsic motivation (driven by personal satisfaction and enjoyment) or extrinsic motivation (propelled by external rewards and recognition).

Factors Influencing Motivation: Several factors influence an individual's motivation levels. Different people may respond differently to these factors, but understanding them can help in boosting motivation effectively:

  1. Goal Setting: Establishing clear and achievable goals provides individuals with direction, purpose, and a sense of accomplishment as they progress. Breaking larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks allows for consistent motivation throughout the journey.
  2. Mindset: Cultivating a positive mindset is key to sustaining motivation. Embracing a growth mindset, which focuses on self-improvement and learning from failures, helps individuals see setbacks as opportunities for growth rather than roadblocks.
  3. Supportive Environment: Surrounding oneself with a supportive network of family, friends, mentors, and like-minded individuals fosters motivation. Encouragement, constructive feedback, and accountability from others can significantly boost morale and drive.
  4. Rewards and Recognition: Offerings appropriate rewards and recognition for achieving milestones or making progress can enhance motivation. Acknowledgment and appreciation validate the efforts invested, inspiring individuals to continue their pursuit of excellence.
  5. Personal Values and Passion: Aligning goals and aspirations with personal values and passions breeds a deep level of motivation. When individuals believe in the significance of their actions and feel passionate about what they do, motivation naturally flows.

Strategies to Boost Motivation: Building a strong foundation of motivation often requires consistent effort and intentional practices. Here are some strategies to harness the power of motivation effectively:

  1. Set S.M.A.R.T Goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (S.M.A.R.T) goals provide clarity and help structure an action plan. Ensuring these goals are meaningful and resonate with personal values will bolster motivation.
  2. Break It Down: Large projects or goals can feel daunting, leading to demotivation. Breaking them down into small, manageable tasks creates a sense of progress and accomplishment, instilling motivation along the way.
  3. Celebrate Progress: Acknowledge and celebrate each milestone achieved, regardless of the size. Recognizing progress boosts self-confidence, reinforces motivation, and provides momentum for future endeavours.
  4. Embrace Self-Care: Maintaining high levels of motivation requires nurturing one's physical and mental well-being. Prioritize self-care activities like exercise, meditation, sufficient sleep, and engaging in hobbies to replenish energy and foster motivation.
  5. Seek Inspiration: Surround yourself with motivational resources, such as books, podcasts, or inspiring individuals. Drawing inspiration from role models who have achieved similar goals can reignite motivation during challenging times.

Conclusion: Motivation serves as the fuel that propels individuals towards their desired outcomes. By understanding the factors that influence motivation and implementing effective strategies, individuals can sustain motivation and achieve success in both personal and professional spheres. Remember, motivation is not a finite resource; rather, it can be cultivated and nurtured to thrive throughout life's pursuits. So, fuel your motivation, embrace challenges, and unlock your potential for greatness.

Which is great if I were writing a textbook on the subject, but it doesn’t allow for the nuances of daily life, with its natural ebb and flow of positive and negative influences. You see as a wall of text it all sounds perfectly perfect, yet staying motivated just ain’t that easy. So I asked ChatGPT for further inspiration.


Rory Coleman

How do I stay motivated?

ChatGPT

Staying motivated can be challenging, but here are some strategies that may help:

  1. Set clear goals: Clearly define what you want to achieve and break it down into smaller, manageable tasks. Having specific goals can keep you focused and motivated.
  2. Find your purpose: Connect your tasks to a larger purpose or meaningful outcome. Understanding why you're doing something can provide a sense of motivation and fulfilment.
  3. Create a routine: Establishing a daily routine can help maintain a sense of structure and consistency, making it easier to stay motivated. Prioritize tasks and allocate specific time slots for each one.
  4. Stay positive: Cultivate a positive mindset by focusing on the progress you're making and celebrating small victories along the way. Remind yourself of past accomplishments to boost your confidence and motivation.
  5. Surround yourself with motivation: Surround yourself with people who inspire and motivate you. Engage with individuals who share similar goals or interests, as their enthusiasm can be infectious.
  6. Break tasks into smaller steps: Large tasks can sometimes feel overwhelming, leading to a lack of motivation. Break them into smaller, more manageable steps and tackle them one at a time. This will make the overall process less daunting and help you stay motivated.
  7. Reward yourself: Create a system of rewards for completing tasks or reaching milestones. Treat yourself to something you enjoy after achieving a goal, which can increase your motivation to continue working towards success.
  8. Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Your physical well-being can impact your motivation levels. Get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, and engage in regular exercise to ensure you have the energy and mental clarity to stay motivated.

Remember, staying motivated is a continuous effort. It's normal to occasionally experience dips in motivation, but by implementing these strategies, you can sustain your motivation over the long term.

This time Chat GPT delivered eight lessons in how to stay on task, only I’m not sure there’s anything in there we don’t already know, have tried, and possibly ignored.

I believe Motivation comes from within and can be split into three simple ideals:-

  1. Decide what you are trying to achieve - your Everest, the number one thing you are trying to achieve. Write it down and remind yourself daily what’s driving you.
  2. Then take a push and hold approach - be it a business, running, weight loss or addiction goal. The push and hold approach reaps a much better result in my experience and makes your journey far more fun. Yes, be driven but also take time to take stock and pause for breath when it’s needed.
  3. And whatever you do, don’t let anyone talk you out of your goal. Sure, be realistic but this is your life and don’t let the energy vampires shatter your dream - they are everywhere.

With that in mind, I then asked


Rory Coleman

Who is Rory Coleman?

ChatGPT

Rory Coleman is known for his holistic approach to coaching, emphasizing not only physical training but also mental resilience and nutrition.

Well at least it got that bit right but as with the other answers ChatGPT offers, there is so much that can’t be written, can’t be explained, and can’t be felt - just like ‘Motivation’ - where it’s simple – If you want something badly enough, you’ll do whatever it takes to do it.

How much do you want it – if it’s not 100%, you might not have been motivated enough in the first place and it's time to consider where you are going and who with, it might just be the motivation you are looking for.

1,176 Marathons - 276 Ultras - 16 MDS - 9 GWR - One Vision

Sunday 21 January 2024

School - Supertramp

I was asked to speak to the sixth form at my old school - King Edward VIth Grammar School for Boys in Stratford-upon-Avon last week.

1976 - I had hair back then...

The whole thing was a most interesting and rewarding experience. You see I’d been a bit apprehensive as it’s a long time since I’d been at school as a rather confused and somewhat non-conformist student in my later school years. I wondered what the 18-year-old Rory Coleman would have thought about how I’d used the 43 years on from leaving in 1980.

1979 - I'm not sure what I was thinking...


It was easy to wow the young minds with my running feats and numbers. The real message though was that it’s okay not to know what you want to do with your life but to live by a set of ideals where you endeavour to be the best version of yourself possible and in doing so, opportunity and direction will come knocking. Well, that's my story anyway.

 

The worrying panoramic school photos of 1976 and 1979 showed a very young-looking boy and then an uncomfortable looking seventeen-year-old with a weird attitude. The teachers still look fierce yet taught me respect and some engrained knowledge I still use to this day..

 

Over the years the school has grown but a lot of the rooms were the same and brought back warm memories of a distant time which I conveyed to my audience. You see I loved school.

 

Anyway, they seemed to enjoy the talk and I wondered if any of them would return like myself and revisit their adolescence and deliver a similar message in their future.

 

What would you tell your 18 year old self if you had the opportunity? I know what I’d be saying…


1,175 Marathons - 276 Ultras - 16 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records