Monday, 31 August 2015

I Want It All - Queen

Lyric:- 'So much to do in one life time' - Evans, Mercury, May, Taylor & Deacon

Song Choice:- The lyrics of Queen's 1989 (yes 1989) hit highlight so much of pitfalls that people fall into when they decide to become an ULTRA-marathon runner or decide that they need to run the Marathon des Sables...or both in the next calendar Year! 

'I want it all'...that's what Freddie sings and it's sounds just like something that a petulant child would scream out when instead of getting their fair share, they declare that anything less than 100% just isn't enough. And this is the part of ULTRA-marathon running that's becoming very worrying for old ULTRA-timers such as myself. It's twenty years since I ran my first ULTRA and on that day I felt I'd found my thing! Yes, MY thing! The real thing that took me to a kind of promised land where I could freely express myself and finally enjoy being at one with my demons and the world I'd built around me.

Now, that sounds rather pompous and a maybe bit weird even if I say so myself but challenging myself against 33 miles of grassy towpath of the Grantham Canal didn't test me to my limits of human endurance or run me to hell and back, in fact it just fired up my imagination and made me want to get better at running and run further. I did too...a 42 miler in Doncaster was my next big outing, the week before my marathon PB of 3.24.21 at the Borders Marathon in March 1996. A further move up to the 80 mile World Trail Championships later on in June filled my appetite. 

Building on my experiences I just kept on running and on my way to a 100 marathons, I still managed to break the 3.30 mark again with a 3.27 at the Robin Hood Marathon in 1998. I should have peaked around the 3.15 mark but I wanted to get that first hundred under my belt as quickly as possible. In 1999, I decided I wanted to run my next 100 marathons in 365 days, including ULTRAs, including my first MdS. I got to the end of November and found out that I'd run out of steam and ended up 12 short of the mark with very, very tired legs and in a permanently curled-up position on my settee for the rest of the year as my body went into meltdown.

The thing was, I'd been more hell bent on running further distances and quantities of marathons than really breaking myself over 26.2 miles on the road and it became more of a case of personal survival and remaining injury-free than moving my milestones of speed and PB's on. 

Would I do it again? Well, most of it probably but without a Grand Union 145, a 100 mile Desert Cup and a 48 hour Guinness World Treadmill Record all within a six month period! But then, I wanted it ALL and I just couldn't get enough of running races and travelling the world.

Luckily, I'm still here 21 years on and of course I would've spread things out more if I'd been sensible as I know know just how much running over 26.2 miles can corrode one's body. I know SO many folk that have done this. It's not all bad news though and the best thing is that I've met some amazing people along the way and been able to make my mark on this crazy world we live in. I believe this has been my underlying life-long ambition. Getting the Guinness Book of Records for Christmas as a small boy enthused my imagination for being the best in the world, to be so 9 times is testament to an eight year old's grit and determination. For all it's trials, 1999 taught me so much...about shoes, socks, recovery, pacing and also...some COMMON SENSE!

Anyway, I hear you say, what's this got to do with me? Well, I hope you read this and take some of my thoughts on board as you head for the MdS next year. I'm surprised each year how relatively new runners, will decide to take on 50 mile, 100 mile and multi-stage races punctuated with weekly back-to-back marathons, especially in a period of 200-300 days. A time where I believe they should be serving a fast-tracked apprenticeship. Each year I see people completely burn't out or badly injured well before getting on the plane to Morocco. The race is hard enough, let alone starting it with an injury. Thinking about a sensible approach and working out a sensible forward plan to start the race fit and ready to run is my advice and one I work out with all my MdS Running clients, together. Knowing how to go about this is the minefield.

It's not as hard as you think. If I were you I'd run a quick marathon this Autumn as well as Druid and Pilgrim's Challenge and concentrate on being as fit as possible for the MdS and RACE THEM. I'm not sure you need to add in a 45 miler in January at the Country to Capital and if you run the Urban-Extreme in Dubai early on in 2016, your legs will be toasted until just before the MdS itself which will offset the learns from running in the UAE Desert with the worry of not being 100% for the Sahara. If the Pilgrims's doesn't matter and you can afford it, go and race in Dubai, you can get rid of your expensive kit purchase mistakes there, instead of Morocco..

Ten years ago, folk started their MdS Training in January as more of the competitors back then were runners not weekend warriors. I've already met a lot of the 2016 British contingent and the Facebook Group has accelerated people's thoughts on getting started with their training and planning their race campaign leading up to April. Folk will always obsess about the kit and what food to take but if it starts to become overwhelming, and it will believe me, take a deep breath. Leave the technology at home, switch off from FB, where evryone seems to be so much better prepared and go out for a nice never know, you might enjoy it, as that's why you started in the first place isn't it?

I sometimes take a whole week if not 10 days off from running and take time out to re-energise my ULTRA-ambitions. Lastly, don't try and reinvent the ULTRA-running wheel as lots of people have already been where you are going and gotten the T-Shirt already. Use their experiences and mistakes to make your MdS a whole lot easier.

You'll be so glad you did...

More tomorrow...

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Hungry like the Wolf - Duran Duran

'It's Just Nuts'
Lyric:- 'Mouth is alive with juices like wine' - Duran Duran

Song Choice:- The Duran Duran boys were still going strong in 1995, the year of my first ULTRA-marathon and I thought I would look at the major things that have really changed for me as a runner since then and the Lyrics of Hungry like the Wolf fit perfectly the main portion of today’s blog.

It’s actually twenty years and two days since that first 33 mile ultra-marathon, The Grantham Canal ULTRA, that went from Nottingham Forest’s Football Ground along a flat and very grassy Canal Towpath to the finish in Grantham’s Town Centre, more famous for being the birthplace of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher perhaps than a ULTRA-marathon finish location.

Anyway, I remember it as if it were yesterday and in the grand scheme of things this was extremely early in my running career being only my 7/922 marathons or more and that first venture over the 26.2 mile mark. I ran the race like my previous marathons with the preconception of it only being another seven miles further and if I ran it at about 90% of my normal pace, everything would be dandy. Luckily it all worked out and, I say luckily, as it was a very sunny and humid day and apart from cups of water and orange juice along the route, I just had enough energy to get me to the finish line and a very comfortable chair which I glued myself to for some time after the race. I can still remember how toasted my legs felt during the car ride home and that until the following Thursday, I shuffled everywhere like Frankenstein’s monster, because at that stage ULTRA-marathon running was new to most folk and there was little or no nutritional information out there to get to know how to load up pre-race, fuel during and recover post-race properly.

I’ve had to learn this the hard way over the years and early on I learned that carbo-hydrate loading with liquid fructose for three days prior to race day following three days of being carbo-hydrate deficient would put the ‘wall’ that at the time, everyone feared at more than 26.2 miles rather than the 17 mile marker it seemed to lurk in my previous races. I did pick up from reading in running magazines that pre-race hydration was very important and subscribed to ‘hyper-hydration’, (drinking water until you couldn’t drink until you weren’t thirsty at all and then drinking even more) without knowing the dangers of Hyponatremia (Low sodium levels from drinking too much water) and my general thoughts on nutrition were based on the theory that as I ran over 100 miles a week in training, I could then eat anything I liked and the starchier the carbo-hydrate the better it was for me and until I went to the Marathon des Sables (MdS) in 1999, I never really thought about the ‘what you are, is what you eat’ or that as an extreme athlete running huge distances and numbers of marathons that I would need a more scientific approach to what I put in my engine.

The MdS clarified race nutrition perfectly. The race has a minimum race calorie allowance of 2000kcals a day and therefore for the week 14,000kcals can get one to the finish, a little hungry in one piece looking pretty gaunt and about 5kgs lighter in my case. What’s changed since then is the QUALITY of the food that we now take to the race. The 800kcal freeze-dried rations of Chili Con Carne and Chicken Tikka (500kcals of which is fat) have been replaced with a more protein based buffet of smaller items of real food that are far tastier and don’t need rehydrating or heating up to eat.

There’s no substitute during the run for ‘Gels’,‘Gel Blocks’ or ‘Sweeties’, to help provide an instant buzz and metabolize the body fat we need to use to get from ‘A to B’ without hitting the wall but pre-race a breakfast of Nuts and Granola with cold water added to rehydrate makes a perfect start to the day. The Nut mixture of equal amounts of Macadamia, Brazil and Salted Cashews delivers 7kcals per gram and helps reduce the food needed for the week of racing to a meagre 3kgs. Another serving post-race, with my now favourite, a Chilli-flavoured Beef Jerky followed by two servings of powdered milk-shake recovery drink and 100 grams of Freeze Dried Strawberries in Custard again mixed with water makes for the best Sahara Spread possible allowing for a weird food power-to-weight ratio as well as the change of palate that occurs from Sweet to Savoury that most folk get during the race.

My goal for next year is to take more of the very sweet items out of my Sahara Menu and replace them with more delicious and nutritious foods that will give me more energy during the long hours running in the muscle draining sand and 55 degree centigrade midday temperatures. In the early days of running, if there had been the internet, no doubt would have been a very good place to start and no doubt there are some changes I could make to my 2016 MdS Food. Any tips are most welcome and the diet has to be based on bang for your buck, or Kcal per Gram remembering that variety isn’t important as food is ‘Fuel’ to me and not a reward although after yesterday’s 42.2km, I will admit to a post-race snack of nuts and beef jerky was most welcome and made the marathon all that more worthwhile.

More tomorrow…

Thursday, 27 August 2015

In Your Eyes (Secret World Live Version) - Peter Gabriel

Bank Holiday Cardiff
Lyric:- 'So much wasted and this moment keeps slipping away' - Sir Peter of Gabriel

Song Choice:- I loved this song on his 'So' album but ot's actually better live on the Secret World Album Here all 9.58 minutes of it.

Anyway, coming up to the August Bank Holiday Weekend I thought I'd take a familiar look at time...something I'm always preoccupied with, even more as I get older. It's traditionally a washout and it always marks the end of Summer for me - even though it doesn't seem two minutes ago that the leaves were appearing on the trees and the warm sunny days of Spring looked to beckon in a long hot Summer for us all to enjoy for once...

Well of course it never happened but I was thinking back to last August Bank Holiday and what had changed since then. I was in Ireland at the time on an MdS Training weekend and throughout September and October trained hard for the Beachy Head Marathon and plugged in a PB for the course on that one before a long winter of training before son Jack was born in February and the world changed from there on in. An MdS with Sir Ranulph and a further soggy summer of running in the puddles and here we are looking into another September and October.

The thing is, I've done a lot in the 12 months, some 63 marathons and an MdS with Sir Ranulph, but what have I actually DONE, what have I acheived and what have I changed about myself and my world during that 365 day period. I know I'm getting more out of my days - certainly more hours awake has helped that one but in the back of my mind, I'm building towards a big year in 2016 and that's what's driving me on right now.

A lot of it comes down to getting things straight. In your mind that is...Lining up your dominoes and weeding out the things that waste valuable time and energies and deflect thoughts away from what we REALLY need to do it make things happen.

Is it happening for you right now...what have you got to do that you are putting off?

Only YOU'LL know as it's your world and you see it with YOUR EYES...

More tomorrow...

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Timewave - Salvation

Song Choice:- Here's a great running track to pick you up when you are out there pasting yourself into the pavement, especially when you feeling a little bit f***ed. It worked wonders for me last night and might do for you so take a listen here - and see what you think...If you like it, please let me know.

Anyway, after my previous blog about Brooks Running Shoes, I thought I'd continue with a bit of Heart Rate Training explanation. My take on how it works and why you should do it.

It's very much in vogue right now yet back in the good old days of my pre-heart rate monitor (HRM) owning, for my average training week I would run 8 miles slowly in the morning and 8 faster in the evening for four days, run a couple of long slow distance 20's at the weekend and have one complete day off from running every week. It was a  great way of running 100 miles a week, which I thought would make me indestructible and for many years I felt super-fit and got some great marathon and ultra-marathon results.

Many years and many hundreds of marathons later, I've become far more scientific with my training and it's something I very keen on sharing with my clients. It's in my running clinics with my clients, when I bring the subject of Heart Rate Training up with them, the replies are usually - 'I've got one but don't use it', 'I have a Garmin but I don't use the HRM function' or 'I use it log the information but it means nothing to me'.

And that's a real shame I think as the technology we now have on our wrists can be fun as well as be beneficial to our running...

The thing is it's actually a lot easier than you think and with the help of some on-line wizardry from, for instance, it's really easy to see how hard you are pushing yourself, which 'Zone' you are training in and how to get the most out of your training sessions. It shows up as one of five coloured bands, very simple and it provides a  very visual guide to how your training session or race actually went.

If you do some research on the internet, you'll see it's all about working in your 'Heart Rate Zones'... and that's where it gets confusing. So to make it easier, the Coleman Version has just three Zones that count. We'll call them up to 75%, 75-85% and 85-95% of your maximum heart rate (MHR) which for simplicity again we'll call 220 minus your Age. Mine is 167 (220-53) Beats Per Minute (BPM). And yes, I know you'll say yours goes over 200 , I've been clinically tested and it was 161BPM and it gets up to 178 on my Garmin sometimes when I'm killing myself on a hill climb, so there's a bit of latitude in there I'd say, so please let's go with the 220-53! It's a good guide and makes it easy to work out.

With that in mind, we have our 'Zones' and successful Heart Rate Training is about how much of your mileage you do in each Zone. The majority of your training and that's a whopping 80% of your mileage should be at a Long Slow Distance (LSD) of up to 75%MHR. This makes your heart bigger and stronger and greatly increases your endurance. A useful thing if you are looking at running for hours and hours on end like me.

Looking back at my first few years of running, I wasn't too far out in my approach with my 72/100 miles of long slow distance at around 9-10 minute miles. As my heart got stronger  it was like having a huge engine that I could then run really efficiently at lower revs. I did a lot of tempo and fartlek runs which covered my 10% or runs between 75-85% MHR but I could have done more speed work to make my times even better and maybe I would've done more 5kms if parkrun had only existed back then in the 90's.

Anyway, the rest it's history now and I can't change the past and wouldn't want to perhaps as I've had some amazing running experiences, however I can now shape my future and I'm still out there putting in the miles, lots of them at my LSD pace of 10-11min miles but I'm also doing some tempo and speed runs too. When I ran 28 marathons in 28 days my heart rate was around the 99BPM and I ran every step. At the end of that month, I felt so fit and just three weeks after that I ran a 3:37 marathon at Abingdon running at 150BPM - 95% MHR all the way, the work out is here - I did manage to forget to Stop my Garmin btw in the excitement.

Now the tricky part and one that takes a lot of practise is to be able to go out and train at an even pace throughout your run. Years of practise has helped and if you take a look at my run if yesterday, I spent 88% of my run in my Endurance Zone (my 65-75% MHR). It was very slow but the training effect felt great and if you look at my heart rate data you'll see it was pretty even running and it gave me a real mental boost. This workout is here.

As for what HRM to use, I've used the Garmin 910XT with it's HRM Strap very successfully for a couple of years now and it's certainly Cardiff (Wet) and Sahara (Hot) proof and at £234, it's a real bargain at I recharged it at the MdS and got all my data and tracks from it which are really interesting to look back on. I think it's easier to use than the 920 and I'm waiting to see just how good the new wrist HRMs work.

I do hope that my take on Heart Rate Training helps you with your training. It's been worked out by trial and error on my part and it works for me and for my clients whom use it. Have a go yourself and see if it can help you too...

Happy Training...A Heart Rate Monitor might be your running Salvation and re-vitalise your approach to running or help you get to the finish line of the Marathon des Sables in a much fitter state.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Gimme Some Lovin' - Spencer Davis Group

Sole 'Music'
Song Choice - this 1966 classic provides the great 'Gimme Some Lovin'' lyric, and whilst out running in the rain today it got me thinking about the things that I'm really 'Lovin'' about running right now. I'm loving that I'm running injury-free at 53 with 920 marathons on the clock and a 13th MdS on my 2016 horizon. I put a lot of that down to knowing my body... knowing when to rest and when to train hard and also knowing which running shoes to wear.

I'm very passionate about my running and extremely passionate about what I put on my feet as they are now my livelihood. I'm often called opinionated but I've got hundreds of thousands of miles of running under my belt and I thought I'd share here with you how my shoe opinion has been formulated.

I've been through a lot of pairs of trainers in my 21 years of running (and I mean A LOT) and have learned the hard way what works and what doesn't. And before you shout, 'One size doesn't fit all,' you are right BUT I've found a great brand of shoe and it's a good place to start for you too. I've stuck with them for many years now and my motto has always been if it's not broken, don't fix it. 

It started all those years ago when I discovered the further I went the more I liked it. I quickly got to grips with the idea that I needed motion-control shoes for the high mileages I wanted, and needed, to run. 

My way of thinking was that I could use mildly supportive shoes for up to an hour of running, or even up to a marathon at a push. Anything over that and I knew I needed something that was pretty bombproof as I destroyed most shoes without a medial post when I ran more than 26.2 miles in one go. A combination of ASICS shoes... specifically the original DS trainer and the MC... got me through a lot of my early marathons and some really successful early ULTRAs like the London to Brighton 55 and the Grand Union Canal Race 145.

By 2004, I'd worked my way through a complete a la carte menu of trainers and for my 2,004km run from London to Lisbon for EURO 2004 I'd opted for some Saucony trainers. When I reached Portugal I was blister-free. By this point I was wearing a Grid Stabil on my left foot and a Grid Hurricane on my right to allow for the camber of the road. This was a rather expensive solution, especially since the shoes only managed three or four 50km days at a time, but it worked perfectly.

Then, after a few years away from the MdS, I decided to return in 2006 wearing Saucony off-road trainers and then in 2007/8 wearing ASICS Gel Trabuco's. Both of these options got me through but were far from perfect so I took a chance on the 'clunky-looking' Brooks Adrenalin ASR5. It was modelled on the highly successful road shoe version and it worked brilliantly in the desert because it was slightly wider than the norm and kept the sand out nicely with my home-made glued-on gaiters.

Impressed with the ASR's performance in the desert, I then tried the road shoe version for my training - the Brooks Adrenalin GTS6. It was pretty much love at first wear. It was an easy shoe to get used to. The shoe has undergone years of re-engineering, both technical and cosmetic, the most significant of which has been the development of additional width fittings. The standard fitting is a 'D', the '2E' was introduced a couple of years ago to accommodate the wider-footed runner and more recently has seen the '4E' for all you hobbit-footed runners out there, myself included! 

This trainer was the natural choice for my 28 x 28 mile marathons which I ran in 28 days for the Government's STOPTOBER Media Awareness Campaign in 2013. Running 200 miles a week for four weeks isn't for the feint-hearted and I wanted a shoe that would keep me on the road, injury and blister-free. It did just that and more...

I ran the first few days in the same pair of shoes and, since they were working so well for me, I decided to see just how many days this pair could last. The answer was an awesome 20 days, well maybe 19 as I'd started to feel the shoe support pushing into the inner sides of each-ankle on the 20th day. Nonetheless, I was loathed to change them as they felt like a well-worn pair of slippers after 500 miles on the road. I'd folded down the tongues and tucked them into the laces to stop the dreaded Anterior Compartment Syndrome and the shoe-lace tension was just right across the top of each foot. They were the most perfect shoes ever! The brand new pair on the 21st day felt very weird indeed for the first few miles but safely got me to the end of the 784 mile challenge injury and blister-free. No other shoe would have done that.

Then it dawned on me that I'd never considered using road shoes for the MdS. Sadly, the ASR was never released in a wider fitting, so when the 2E was launched in the road shoe I took the plunge. I'd seen other folk use road shoes out there and they worked for them so I thought... why not?

They needed some work to make them race ready. For starters, the insoles have foot-beds with curved edges - these are the source of many a blister in the desert, particularly if you walk a lot of the race. Secondly, the velcro sewn onto them needed a few flex points to insure that the stitching didn't cause a hot spot on your little toe. But with these minor amendments, they were perfect. I use 'The Shoehealer' in Doncaster for sewing on the velcro and have done for the past six years. I'm sure there are other cobblers out there that provide a similar service, but my advice would be to use them as we direct stacks of people there each year so they are very well-practised!

In 2015, both Sir Ranulph Fiennes and I used the monstrous 4E shoes and both of us were blister-free despite walking almost all of the 156 miles of the race.

Now it all sounds dandy, doesn't it, but don't get me wrong... there are still alterations that I'd like to see made to the GTS. For some reason, the tongue length of the GTS15 4E is now about 1cm shorter than that of the GTS14 2E. I've asked Brooks why and haven't  been enlightened. They have taken a bit of getting used to as they rubbed the top of my foot raw the first few times I used them over 26.2 miles. I'd also suggest that the 4E width is actually more of a 3E as it's only just wider than the old 2E. That said, there's room enough in them to really allow for the well-documented foot spread associated with multi-day races. I go for the same size as I train in for the race, allowing for a thumb width space between my big toe and the end of the shoe when I'm standing up.

Brooks have also improved the forefoot by removing the foot-numbing rubber pad. It's either been softened or updated as my feet feel a lot better than they used to when I'm running day-in-day-out in the same pair. 

A couple of years ago I tried interspersing my runs every five days or so with a softer ride in the Saucony Omni. This is now a far less regular occurrence and a good job as the Omni's are a much narrower fit.

I thought I'd add in a few pics of my shoes so you can see just how much they get hammered both in training and at the MdS. The brand new pair (left) are just awesome and I've been saving them for a lovely Hot Summer Day in Cardiff (a rarity) to break them in on their first run. The MdS pair with the velcro (middle) have done 156 miles in the desert. The rather worn down pair (right) have clocked up 600 miles and are now ready for the great trainer cloud in the sky. The insoles in those you can see have been replaced with flat foot-beds to reduce the abrasion from the insoles I've already written about. A nice man at Profeet in London can make them for you.

For your information, Brooks now also make the Ghost in similar width fittings and I recommend them to lots of people who might not need such a heavy-duty ride as myself but are looking for a good place to start on their MdS Perfect Shoe Hunt. The standard 'D' fitting Cascadia has now been widened to a 2E and I'm looking forward to trying these out in the near future.

I'll be going to the MdS in 2016 in my Adrenalin GTS 4E of course as I know it's my best option and something less to worry about when taking on the World's Toughest Footrace next April. They are 'my choice' and work well both for me and for many of my clients tackling the MdS. Let's face it, have you got 21 years to do your research before then?

I acknowledge they may not be the perfect shoe for everyone, but I would say that they have proven effective time and time again both for me and the vast majority of my clients. Running is my life and I've got a lifetime of running in my legs... coaching is my full time job and I've seen a lot of serious foot problems and injuries that could easily have been avoided by just having better shoes. Shoes which are better suited to running hundreds of miles in training and 156 miles in a week in Morocco.

Brooks Trainers get a LOT of my Lovin' but then I'm really passionate about them and know just how important they are in keeping me pushing on towards that 1000th Marathon and 13th MdS.

Happy and Safe Running Folks.

Rory Coleman - 920 Marathons - 235 Ultras -12 Marathon des Sables
9 Guinness World Records - 21 Years Alcohol Free.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Uninvited - Freemasons

Lyric:- 'Like any uncharted territory' - Morissette

Song Choice:- I listened to this on both of my runs today and it reminded me of warm and happy times working at the Fitness First Gym in Derby where I started off my Personal Training, Coaching and Mentoring Career. How many times did I hear it during the years I was there? Well I'm sure it was Thousands!

Hearing it again and listening to it closely rather than passively above the hustle and bustle of a busy gym was extremely satisfying and it got me thinking about what we invite, don't invite and what comes from those invitations we put out there for ourselves and out there to others.

It's within our nature to send out invitations each and every day of our lives. I'm no stranger to it, I send out electronic invitations for all of my coaching appointments and it's a well worked system that 99% of folk understand. I also send out invitations with my actions to others. It might be in a positive gesture or even a smile in the street to a stranger. We are inviting friendship and sending out signals to others that we are a non-threat. It's second nature and I bet you don't even notice you are doing it...I look out for invitations when I meet folk and again, a lot of the time folk don't even know that I've seen their invite and have acted on it. As I'm getting older, it's getting easier.

Now what if you think about the things you don't invite into your life, you would of course include Injury, Accident, Illness etc. but how about depression or negativity? A lot of folk suffer with both and wouldn't have invited both in, but somehow they just came along and managed to worm their way in.

I've invited loads of people and things into my life and have enjoyed on the whole how they've played out. It's been a more of a positive than negative experience if I'm being honest and it's worked more times than it hasn't. I've put a lot of faith into a lot of folk and I'm really interested to see if they stand up to the challenge or they cop out fearing their uncharted territory ahead.

What do you think, are you invited?

More tomorrow.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Lose Yourself - Eminem

Lyric:- 'Look, if you had, one shot, or one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted. In one moment. Would you capture it, or just let it slip?

Song Choice:- This cropped up yesterday during an MdS Training Day with one of my clients who is taking part next year. Now I'm not the biggest fan of Mr Mathers but this is an awesome song (which my client said he hated btw) and although a remake of Zeppelin's Kashmir, it hits all my inspiration buttons all at once and is in fact a brilliant song IMO and a massive social comment on 2002 when it was made.

But that's the magic of's SO subjective and there are so many genres to enjoy. If you are a regular reader, you'll know by now that I pepper these pages with endless Gabriel, Rush and Floyd tunes but in reality love a complete spectrum of popular music spanning some fifty years.

Music helps us take our minds to different places, to enjoy the repetition of sound and have some consistency in a constantly changing world.

The lyric here really get me thinking...what would I do if one had one shot? Is it a sliding doors thing? You know miss the train, catch the train, take the M5 or M50? It always makes me think, what if. For some folk these can be life changing moments.

You hear of people who have been madly in love for decades without the other person knowing. If they'd only have said something...if only they'd had one shot or one opportunity.

But they did...They just didn't have the courage to say something. They just let it slip away and as Mathers goes on to sing 'The clock's run out, time's up, over'. A lot of folk are living with their inner Countdown Clock ticking so loudly they find unscrambling the anagram of 'Life' impossible.

And that's a tragedy...even if we do speak out there's a tendency immediately to 'Snap back to reality' so as to avoid rejection or failure.

Maybe we are all looking for that magical illusive lottery win that will make everything perfect and then we can have our one shot and have multiple opportunities to change our lives and perspective on this crazy world where we live out our conservative existences.

Hmm...gets you thinking anyway and what would you do if you had 'One Shot' or call it 'One Wish'...what would YOU do?

I'll have a think about mine and let you know what it is tomorrow...

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Changes - Yes

Coleman's Blog Supplemental

I could have added more numbers to my signature this weekend but to tell you the truth, I'm a bit knackered post two heavy weeks of running. Add to this, I'm already feeling the drag of Autumn and it's darkening colder nights snapping at my heels.

Well, never one to completely hibernate I dusted off the pushbike (and I mean dusted) pumped the tires to 60psi and hit the streets of Cardiff.

Actually I hit more bumps than anything else. Tell me, is there a flat piece of Tarmac in the city centre without a pothole or massive sleeping policeman in it? I did go along the Taff Trail but the other people on bikes have no 'keep on the left' sense and just ride hap hazardously as do the pedestrians whom were completely blind (or blind drunk in some cases) to a 80kg man on a bike heading their way.

The other thing I noticed, even through a gel saddle, is just how much ones undercarriage gets battered in such a short time. No wonder those Tour de France riders are all a bit falsetto!

My hands were shattered to from the vibrations up through the handlebars.

This bike lark is harder than you think...I'm going to have another go tomorrow backside willing and will keep you posted of my progress.

At least I'm having a go and actually, I'm not a bad cyclist at all. Who says I'm stuck in a rut eh?

Rory Coleman - 919 Marathons - 235 Ultras
12 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records - 21 Years' Alcohol Free.

Change - Tears for Fears

Lyric:- 'Became a point of view' - Orzabal

Song Choice:- Amazingly 32 years old this one and Tears for Fears first USA charting. Although Smith Vocals lead the song it's Orzabal's song writing that shines through and would be their final undoing.

Then again 'Change' affects us all and something that most of us shy away from.

The thing that highlighted this to me is the continued Cardiff parkrun too big, unsafe, it's not a race Facebook debate that's rumbling on and on and will until the day it ever gets stopped or the organisers get totally pissed off with the hundreds of 'suggestions' they get each week.

When it's not on anymore, everyone will say just how great it was and why isn't it on anymore!

But things change...I wasn't there in 1981 on the first London Marathon or 1986 for the first Marathon des Sables. I got to both in '95 and '99 respectfully when both were smaller and 'better' in my opinion. Then again I was younger, faster and hadn't gained the 'Point of View' that Smith sings about.

Whom am I to criticise such phenomenal races and give the Bedfords, Bauers and Cooks my opinions of their creations...Yet so many folk feel they can, even if they are a total beginner.

Maybe the Internet has given us the 'Review' option where anyone can have a go at anyone or anything and rate it. I know if I'd given up my Saturday Mornings since 2008 for nothing in return and earned myself a lot of free-agro, I don't think I'd still be doing it, would you?

We are very lucky, and I mean REALLY lucky and privileged to be able to take part in each other's dreams.

Change... change your outlook, change your opinion, change your life.

Rory Coleman - 919 Marathons - 235 Ultras
12 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records - 21 Years' Alcohol Free.

Friday, 14 August 2015

F.E.A.R - ortopliot

Lyric:- Fantastic expectations, amazing revelations - McCraken, Brown & Colquhoun

Song Choice:- A great song and every line has FEAR spelt with the first letter of each word in each line and must have taken some doing, which I like.

The FEAR part is what I'm interested in for tonight's blog.

My question is, 'What are you afraid of'? It's a fair question as I'm sure if you really think about it, you are afraid of lots of things. Being a superstring alpha-male I will own up to Dogs and Confined Spaces...and if you know me, you'll know just how much both give me a highly elevated heart-rate.

I was speaking to one of my clients today whom was frightened of a race and was having panic attacks ahead of the race but couldn't understand their high heart-rate. My example of my own heart-rate going over 200 without exercise inducement would be a trip into a full body MRI scanner.

Something I never want to repeat, well conscious anyway. Fear and Stress can work against us but can also heighten our senses and increase our performance - it's a very fine line and one that needs our attention, so we get things right and not scared into failure.

Have a think yourself to where your FEAR lies. What are you frightened of, a race, your job, your future or being stuck in a rut.

Don't be the person who says I wish but was always afraid...

Don't FEAR fear...Don't be afraid!

Rory Coleman - 919 Marathons - 235 Ultras
12 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records - 21 Years' Alcohol Free.

Sheep - Pink Floyd

Lyric:- What do you get for pretending the danger's not real - Waters

Answer:- You get into a load of trouble, that's what. There have been so many stories this week of people getting into really dangerous situations when they could easily be avoided. I've personally seen folk cut off by the tide, children of 6-8 years playing unsupervised in a river in Ely (Cardiff) and umpteen young children in the front seats of cars ready to garotted by a seat belt or seatbeltless ready to hit the windscreen.

What the f*ck is going on...Ohhhh it's Summer Holidays! Yes, the time when people's brains turn to Jam and can only wish away the days until their little loved ones go back to the daily penitentiary of school life.

Now I'm not one to talk as I'm surprised I've made 53 with my life history or perhaps I've got here as I'm quite streetwise and am actually tuned into looking after myself and my loved ones.

Obviously my lifestyle comes with hazard just like the next man's but I do offer myself some duty of care and wouldn't engage say running 4 x 100 milers in a year like some. Well I could but I wouldn't be able to do much else and it would take me twelve months to get over the process.

So why do some folk reckon they can and do...

The danger's real, it's out there and maybe a running seat belt or life jacket might be in order for those of you who are in danger of getting cut off by the tide of ULTRA-running.

Happy Swimming Folks...

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Here's where the story ends - Tin Tin Out

Lyric:- People I see, weary of me, showing their good side.

Song Choice:- From 1998? Yikes! Where did that go...Anyway I love the line above and it leads me into my blog for today about cutting through life's cr4p.

It's been one of those weeks you see. One where so many folk have been in touch for one reason or another but it feels like I've been sold to on occasions. The thing is I don't need to know that you are a 40 year old accountant or that you are a sub-13hr Ironman (groan) or whatever. What I need is to be able to cut quickly through the bravado and connect with the real PERSON. The real YOU.

'Cos that's when my training methods really work and when things would really start to happen for YOU.

We all have a few warts, shortcomings and things we don't like doing. We also have areas where we can be pushed and we KNOW we could improve if we really tried. 

Luckily for me most of my clients quickly drop their guard and let me in to rearrange their furniture and repackage their fitness regimes.

They say a Leopard can't change it's spots...Well maybe they can if they don't show me their good side, I need to know the sh1t side too. 

Life's far better when people know where they stand. When you get to 53, you'll know what I mean.

More tomorrow...

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Dogs - Pink Floyd

Lyric:- So have a good drown, as you go down, all around - Gilmour & Waters

Song Choice:- Best listened to on the deluxe Welcome to the Machine album live from Wembley in 1974 working titled 'You've got to be crazy'...but also brilliant on Animals it's perfect for today's blog.

As it's been a crazy day indeed as I read that people are using 'Exercise Videos' to train for the Marathon des Sables (not sure Jane Fonda ever felt the Burn of the Sahara) but every day's a school day eh? Combine that with every man, family and caravan heading into Wales for some late summer sunshine and today's return drive to Nottingham was a rather eventful, lengthy affair.

No wonder I needed to run at least six miles when I got home. Nothing less would suffice, easy jog not an option.

I needed to make today count and that's what drives me on not a DVD or a short cut to success. I need success but want to earn it.

Just pick one thing...train hard and make it happen. You don't have to be crazy, you just have to want it.

Rory Coleman - 919 Marathons - 235 Ultras
12 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records - 21 Years' Alcohol Free.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Summer Son - Texas

Lyric:- Tired of telling it your way...

Song Choice:- A great Summer Song played and sung beautifully with a warm and rich voice of the very under-rated Sharleen Spiteri.

I like the 'Tired' reference as I think a lot of folk get very tired at this time of year.

Late summer sun, corn-cutting and nights starting to draw in herald the dark times of winter to me. It has so much effect on our mood, mine included.

Combined with other people pulling our strings and life soon becomes a very depressing existence. It's one lots of folk experience and endure for days, weeks and years of their lives.

Equating your lifetime to seasons, I'm in late Summer myself and I'm going to enjoy it's warm rays for as long as I can...before an extra hot Indian Summer and Autumn.

Has your Winter come early?

Rory Coleman - 919 Marathons - 235 Ultras
12 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records - 21 Years' Alcohol Free.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

High Hopes - Pink Floyd

Lyric:- Encumbered forever by desire and ambition - Gilmour

Song Choice:- One of the best and probably my fav guitar solo of Mr Gimours and High Hopes reflects well some of my most recent requests.

We live in an instant world. You see it, you want it, you get it...same day if you are an on demand Amazon Customer. Only it's not like that in the world of Mega-Distance Ultra-Marathon running.

Don't get me wrong, you can knock out as many marathons as you like, dead slow and if anything you'll be fitter at the end than when you started but say you want to run a 100 miler and that's RUN not walk and you are a complete novice, it ain't going to happen this side of Christmas.

So why do folk think it will?

Yep, you can trudge out the MdS as there's a method you can follow, my coaching method works and if you follow it you'll get the medal.

A Sub-9:30 Comrades however needs some serious training and TIME. Time to improve and serve your ULTRA-apprenticeship.

My advice is to take your time, move up the distances slowly and enjoy the experience.

You don't become a mega-distance runner took me about four years! And 22 years later I'm still learning...

Rory Coleman - 919 Marathons - 235 Ultras
12 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records - 21 Years' Alcohol Free.