Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The 5 Things I learned last Monday night...

Last night I went to an talk by Gerry Duffy hosted by Darkness Into Light Kinvara (link here). The talk was advertised as an insight into how to achieve your goals so myself and Aisling turned up with open minds (and empty bellies) straight after work. It's would be hard not to be completely in awe of Gerry's physical endurance accomplishments and his personal contributions to charities (read all about him here) but Gerry said five things which stayed with me long after we cleared out from the hall last night.

1. Write down your goals.
2. Will it make the boat go faster?
3. You don't have to run.
4. 30 minutes is 2%.
5. You have to pass through 3 to get to 10.

1. Goals - I've written about my goals before. I know it works yet, I don't write my goals out any more. I know in my head what I want but I rarely commit them to paper. The problem with goals in my head is the fact I bend them around to suit my current situation. I haven't linked my goals together either, I'm just following my combined goal formula of: Running + Weight Loss = Better Running & Better Weight Maintenance. 

The problem with my formula above is that it is not specific enough. Why run? Why lose weight? Why do I want to run better? Who am I doing it for? Who can I get to help me achieve this? What can I change?

2: "Will it make the boat go faster?" was the principle a rowing team used which effectively won them gold at the Olympics. This should really be the question that underpins everything you go in terms of getting anything you want. If the answer is ever Yes - then you have to choose it. Will staying in on the couch help me run faster? No. Will splurging out at the weekend help me reach my weight goal? No. 

Where I see this being key is in turning my viewpoint on why I do what I do. I don't take ice baths, go to physio or have sports massages. Will they bring me closer to a goal? Yes. Will educating myself on nutrition help? Yes. You get the idea. Applying the 'Will it make the boat go faster?' rule could be just the thing I need.

3: You don't have to run. You get to run. It's that simple. As Gerry said those words, I they struck me to two reasons. Firstly because they are so true - nothing is granted to us. There will come a time when I might not be able tin run due to injury or otherwise. Why waste the time I have now seeing running (or anything else) as a chore then really it is a gift. 

The second reason these words stuck with me were because I knew I had heard them somewhere before. I went looking at this time last year - three weeks out from Connemarathon, I hit a motivation block. I actually posted the picture above in that post (see here)

4: Thirty minutes is only 2% of your day. I actually had to work it out when he said it but it's true. Getting up 30 minutes earlier to get a run in before work or bring the dog for a walk seems horrific but changing it to giving 2% of your day to a run/walk/reading (whatever) is a seriously manageable chunk of time that shows really the insignificance of taking that time 'out of your week' when you consider 4 x 30 minutes is just over 1.1% of your entire week! 

5: You have to pass through 3 to get to 10 - The message here was whatever the current hurdle you are struggling with, you have to pass through it to get to your goal. You knew you'd have to pass it so don't make it harder than it is. Gerry was speaking here using the power of his mind to push himself forward through the 3rd day of his back-to-back ironmans as the goal was to hit 10. It doesn't matter how slow you go, just keep moving forward.

If you stop at 3, you'll never hit 10. If you keep chipping away regardless of how hard it is or how long it takes, once you pass through 3 you are closer to your goal than you were if you stopped. Same applied to running (the finish line doesn't come to you) and weight loss (you won't lose a stone without losing 28 half pounds first).

These were the five things I learned Monday night. Hope someone else finds them as helpful as I did.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Tralee Bound... 4 Weeks to Go

Where the hell is time going? It's like I'm watching a program on Sky at 2x speed or something, I can see each days pass but everything is kinda blurry. Anyway, I'm four weeks away from Marathon #3, Tralee, which is happening Paddy's weekend. My training has been consistent but that is not necessarily a good thing. I've been really good with my long runs, having clocked up more for this one than I have any previous marathons but my weekly runs have been suffering due to the dark evenings, miserable weather and an over-inviting couch.

I've been really happy with my LSR's as I've been keeping a steady pace while running, practicing my hydration and food intake on the go. While I've been a bit stiff post run, I've been managing pretty well. I've always seen Tralee as a stepping stone in terms of maintaining my fitness but I have seriously neglected all other forms of run training such as speedwork which I was enjoying doing late last year. I've also found that as we are in the awful Winter/Spring months, all of my running is on my own (lonely me!). I'm longing for the stretch in the evenings, running with friends and running in daylight.

Three Weeks Ago...

Two Weeks Ago...

Last Weekend...

I've my eyes set firmly on a Sub 4:00 Marathon in Tralee which I think is achievable - My last 32km run was 3 hours exactly but as the saying goes - A marathon is a 20 mile warm-up followed by a 10km race. I believe in myself enough to think clocking in under 4:00 is realistic - but I'll just have to wait and see how the road goes on the day. Having Tralee on the horizon has motivated me on those evenings when the couch (or morning's when the bed) have been oh-so-appealing.

I'm off on the second leg of our honeymoon next week which is going to put a slight halt to my training - but I have a plan to ensure I'll be race ready. I'm taking a half day from work tomorrow so I can do my long run before flying Saturday morning. I'm also bringing a pair of old runners and plan on clocking up some 5/10km runs on the treadmill in the hotel while away. I'll then get two more 19/20 milers in before the end of February and taper for the last two weeks.

But for now... Bon Voyage!

This Weekend...

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Looking back at January

January has just flown by, and with that fact I cant help but notice how quickly time is passing. One of my favourite quotes is this one below because it resonates with me so much. 

I can never start off thinking only about the bigger picture, it's too abstract, too far away - I've always been a supporter of using smaller goals as stepping stones to the bigger picture. I walked before I could run, made small changes which lead to achieving bigger goals.

For 2015, I have a numerous goals:

1. Reach Goal Weight - This means getting from 14st 1lb (start of the year) down to 12st 7lbs
2. Run 2015km - In 2013 and 2014 I ran 1000 miles (1600km), I'm upping my game, by 25% to be exact. It's 2015, why not aim for 2015km.
3. Read 25 books - Might sound lame, but I don't read in my spare time. I spent too much time in front of the TV. 
4. Eat fish twice a week - Fish is one of those things that I love when I am eating but would never order/crave/buy. I need to be more conscious about my fish intake.


Overall, I've been relatively good. I'm down 6lbs and am sitting under my Target line which is a 1lb loss week, getting me to goal in June. I'm giving myself a Green Light for Weight


I ran my first race of 2015 in January (5K Resolution Run in Ennis) and covered 141km but fell short of my 170km target for the month. While I didn't hit my target, I did get in the planned three long runs in this month (25km, 21km and 30km) in preparation for the Tralee Marathon. For that reason I'm giving myself a Yellow Light for Running


I did start reading a book, got 4 chapters in and haven't picked it up since. Oops. Red Light.


Fish fish fish! I'm loving it - now while my main fish intake has been salmon, I have had some hake and some tuna. If only other goals were this easy to achieve! Green Light

Overall, I have two greens, a yellow and a red. Not too bad but there is room of improvement. February is a short month, and with my second Honeymoon coming up (Hello New York!) next weekend, I'm going to have to work extra hard to keep on top of the running and weight mini-goals. 

Weight Goal: 13st 7lbs
Running Goal: 170km
Reading Goal: 2 books (+2 behind) = 4 books
Eating Goal: Fish (venture outside Salmon)

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Run Clare - Race 1: 5K Resolution Run

Yesterday saw my first road race of 2015 and the first race of Run Clare. The first of its kind in the country, Run Clare is a 4 month, 4 race series bringing people from 5K to 5 miles (8K) to 10K to 10 miles (16K) between January and April. 

Myself and Aisling turned up at the extremely busy Lees Road Sports Complex about half an hour before the race and found what I reckon was the last car parking space. (Note to self: The advantage of picking up your race pack the night before is that you don't have to get to the race venue really early. The disadvantage however is that most other people have to get there really early and therefore take all the parking!). We used walk to the start up as a warm up.

At the start line...

Over 700 people were blocking the small country road just before the start and what do you reckon happens? Two cars appear in one direction and a van from the other. Once we were suitably moved out of the way (like a farmer would move cattle), the race got under way about 11:05. The start was slow but I quickly broke free and found my stride.

Running through the rain (Pic from John O'Neill's Facebook)

The route ran out the Lahinch Rd (2K) before turning out on to the main road and back towards Drumcliffe for the final 3K. I maintained what I felt was a steady good pace (4:30/km) bringing me in at 22:19 (less than a minute off my PB last June). I find 5K a really peculiar race. In one way, is it worth the effort of paying for, arriving early, getting geared up and running for 20 minutes versus the fact the 5K is my achilles heal. Everything in my mind and body tells me I should be able to run a Sub 20 5K but I just can't push myself enough to deliver. 

Slow start... steady throughout

2015 will be the year I hit a Sub 20 5K. With the Galway 5K series coming up in a few months, I won't be running a 5K race until then as I'll be focused on training for the Tralee Marathon (which is 6 weeks away... eeeek!). Anyway, enough of my chatting, I'm off out for my long training run. It's just me and road for the next 20 miles.