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Posts tagged ‘Running’

Fitness gadgets and gimmicks

I feel compelled to have a bit of a rant today…I’m sorry if I ‘knock’ something you like, don’t take it personally!!

Being a health and fitness freak and keen blogger, I am myself subscribed to many other blogs, newsletters and health or fitness related websites, so I receive LOTS of emails about health and fitness related topics. Some are great, and some are, well, crap. If you are a regular follower of my blog, you’ll know already that I try my best not to ‘name names’ as I don’t like to be negative or put anyone else down, I just don’t think there is any need. So I’m not going to name any person, company or product in this post if I can help it, I’ll be purposefully vague when it comes to names.

There’s an app for that

I read a lot, and for the last 17 years I have been professionally involved in the tech business, specifically in the mobile phone business. Over the last year or two, I have a growing nagging feeling that there are aspects of ‘the smartphone boom’ that are really starting to bother me. Increasingly, I worry that the devices in our pockets are doing so much for us, that our brains (especially the common sense part, and the ‘gumption’ part) are in danger of atrophying away to nothing. I am bothered by the ridiculous range of apps available, and the ridiculous ways they are encouraging people to become lazier, and the ridiculous ways they are filling all our time with nonsense activities. Image for infographic

In the last week, I have read of several truly ridiculous new apps. There is one that’s just been released which links a certain make of car (in the US) with a certain extremely popular make of phone. So you can buy the app, sync your phone with your car, and the app enables you to unlock the car and start the engine from a distance, as you walk towards the car and prepare to get in to it. I am forced to ask the question…WHY? Why the hell does anyone need such an app? Why would any developer/company bother to put up the development costs to make such an app? Are people really THAT lazy or in that much of a hurry?

Another new app helps people find their car, if they can’t remember where they parked it in a car park. This particular app specialises in doing this in places with no mobile signal, so it uses Bluetooth or satellite signals. Oh, however did we survive the last 50 years without such a thing? Read more

MND is 3 years old – the story so far.

Today is my birthday!

I am 44 years young today, and inside I am literally bursting and screaming with stuff I want to say and do and share with you.

Apologies if the below is all over the place, I just have a lot to say today and I’m kinda ‘blurting this out’ in a big mess of words and pictures, so it might not be terribly coherent, but who gives a damn, it doesn’t have to be coherent, it has to mean something, and it has to help you to be the best you that you can be, and nothing else really matters.

Summary of this post:

  • Elsewhere on this site, is ‘My Story’ in words. Below is a shorter version of ‘My Story’ but more in pictures
  • Changing your life and your body is a journey – it takes time, but it’s worth working for
  • What is MND and what’s it really all about?

I started MND 3 years ago, the first year was “formulating the 12 Core Principles” while I was living about 95% as per MND, it was still in the refining stage, and then I set the 12 CP in stone and have been blogging about it since this day 2 years ago, my 42nd Birthday in July 2012.

3 years of living the MND way – then and now

I’ve been living the MND way for 3 years now…the first year it was all still evolving, the last 2 years I have been living completely by the 12 Core Principles.

If you haven’t yet read My Story, and if you have half an hour spare and want to read about my long journey ‘from fat to fit’ then please follow this link and check it out.

During my decades as a fat guy, I was pretty camera-shy, and I spent years hunting down and destroying pictures of fat old me, so I don’t have many. If I had ever known there would come a day that I was no longer ashamed of how I looked, I might have gone to some effort to keep more of them! Read more

Olympic Gold running performance!

Olympic Gold…for me!?!?!?!?

Ha ha, I’m playing, of course, as I know that while I’m pretty fit and strong, I’m never likely to compete at sport on the international stage, I’m far too old!

I did come 9th in The Exmoor Marathon a few years ago, 9th overall, but I won it in Vets (aged 40 and above) – that was pretty good!

But here’s an interesting thing, I’ve just been watching a video that a friend shared with me, and it starts out with a very interesting statistic: The winner of Olympic Gold ran the Olympic marathon in 1904 in 3 hours, 28 minutes and 53 seconds. Copenhagen marathon PB aged 40

In 2011, I ran the Copenhagen marathon in 3 hours, 14 minutes and 17 seconds.

If I had put in that run 100 years earlier, I’d have been an Olympic Gold Medallist in my 40s!!!!

AND, in 1904, the Olympic Marathon distance was 1.5 miles shorter! Easy!! I could have hit a 3 hour mara and been a world champ! Gold by a half hour margin!!! Read more

Hard training session in the sunshine

I enjoyed an awesome good hard training session today. I woke up this morning planning a run, but when the time came, I felt like I wanted to use my muscles, so I went circuit training at the local rugby club instead – just on my own.

My circuits included:

  • 3 miles of running
  • 1 mile of walking
  • 150 squat thrusts
  • 151 burpees (groan!)
  • 210 push-ups
  • 46 tractor tyre flips
  • 2 * 100 yard farmers walk carrying 254 lb tractor tyre
  • 2 * 200 m flat sprint

This lot took 80 minutes, all with my shirt off in the sun, catching the sun and loving the fresh air and movement.

My legs felt wasted by the end!!

As much as I do enjoy running, and training for big events – races like the London Marathon are fun – I sometimes find the commitment of training for a set event takes the joy out of training. Some days, it’s nice to have that out of the way, so I can get back to more instinctive training. I mean, now I don’t HAVE to follow a set plan, so if I wake up one day and it’s sunny and I fancy a bike ride, or circuits in the fields, or a run, or sprints, then I can do that. Or if one day it’s miserable weather and I want to lift weights at home, or do body weight training in my garage, then I can do that. Training for events limits spontaneity, that’s all I’m saying. On the flip side, training for a set target is excellent for motivation.

Today, sunny circuits were perfect!

 

I’m not fat, so I can eat what I like! My food choices don’t affect my health!! (And other bullsh*t beliefs!)

Forgive me going off on a bit of a rant today, but I was just having this conversation with a friend and I thought I would share this with you, as it’s a relevant ‘case study’ and applies to loads of people.

What is this post about?

  • There are a LOT of people around who are not over weight, so they take an ‘I can eat whatever rubbish I like’ attitude to their diet
  • This is deep-held belief that people have, that if they are not grossly over weight, then there is no further connection between diet and health
  • Last time I checked the scientific literature, slim people still get sick. Slim people still suffer coughs, colds, flu. Slim people still suffer chronic fatigue, tiredness, skin conditions and bowel conditions. Slim people still get heart disease. Slim people still get cancer. Slim people still die! Last time I spoke to one of my Doctor friends, I don’t recall “Not being over weight” as a cure-all solution to living forever and never getting ill.

Conclusions in this post:

  • There are many factors involved in whether or not you are over weight
  • Body fat serves numerous function in your body, some of them are involved in keeping you healthy
  • Eating a diet high in junk food affects your health in many ways above and beyond whether or not you carry excess body fat

Read on to learn more.

I’m not fat, so I can eat what I like! My food choices don’t affect my health!!

I hear this one a LOT. I could write an entire book (seriously, 100,000 words, 200 pages, no problem!) just tackling this myth and all the threads and sub-topics that come off this. In the interests of time and sanity, I will try to keep this post brief, as you and I don’t have time for a whole book today! Read more

Why it’s important to be a balanced, big picture thinker

I know I often write long posts, and you might not have time to read them. So I will put bullet points at the start, telling you in brief what the post is about, and in brief, the main conclusions or points that I come to.

This way, if you are short of time, you can read the bullet points, which only takes 30 seconds, and it should tell you the essence of the post – if it sounds interesting, you will find the 5 minutes you need to read the whole thing, but otherwise, the bullet points tell you enough to get the main idea.

I will try to remember to summarize all future posts this way. I hope this is helpful!

What is this post about?

  • Some people are obsessed with clean eating, while the rest of their life is in a mess!
  • Some people are obsessed with weight training or a certain sport, but pay little attention to good diet
  • Some people eat well and exercise, but the allow other areas of life to stress them out, having a negative impact on their lives
  • Some people do so much endurance sport they never allow time for recovery – and an excess of almost anything can become unhealthy eventually
  • I meet a lot of folks who put in killer workouts and intense training sessions, but then they are ill with colds and flu every few weeks

Main conclusions:

  • You have to be a big picture thinker
  • Take a holistic approach to optimal good health
  • Balance is essential – train with weights, train aerobically, have heavy days, and easy days, eat well, de-stress and look to ensure there is happiness in your life…all these areas are equally important

Read on to learn more.

You have to look at the bigger picture

I see lots of people fixated on just food or just exercise, but I fear they are failing to look at the bigger picture. Supreme good health and abundant energy does not come from putting ALL your attention on just one thing, you have to think holistically.

I often meet people who obsess over ‘pure clean eating’, they are fanatical about eating raw, organic, vegan, local, seasonal and only grown in countries that ban GMO crops. They know a million reasons why you mustn’t cook with a certain oil, because heating it produces some ghastly carcinogenic chemicals, they will tell you that it’s like cooking your dinner in toxic waste! They will tell you everything there is to know about sprouting beans, fermenting vegetables, home made sour dough bread and the nutrient profile of certain seeds. Read more

London Marathon 2014 – post-race report

Yesterday, I ran the London Marathon 2014.

If you have been following this blog and following my training, you will know that this was a test for me, using a low-volume training program.

This was my 14th marathon [or longer] and it was my first competitive marathon for 2.5 years, as I took a year off running and had knee surgery back in 2012.

Firstly, a very quick ‘race report’

I was awake at 4:30 in the morning, excited, and I couldn’t get back to sleep! A couple more hours sleep would have been nice, but it was OK on the day! We had glorious sunshine in London, wonderful blue skies, which really makes a difference. I know a lot of runners prefer it cool, but personally, I love being out running in the warm sunshine. I ran the marathon for an official time of 3:51:47, which was just 6 or 7 minutes off my target time, as I had hoped for circa 3:45, but that’s not much, so I’m pretty happy with that! And I got a nice medal too! Read more

Has anyone got a copy of this month’s ‘How to Breathe’ magazine…?

I stopped in at Sainsbury’s the other day to buy a bunch of flowers, and I spotted this magazine on the shelf – ‘Womens Walking’

What? Does someone think women need a bi-monthly magazine to tell them how to walk now? Is this a joke? Is it April 1st?

Look, I don’t want to put down anyone who engages in physical exercise – walking is the #1 best exercise going and we should all walk every day and I regularly encourage you to get up, get out and go walk. So I am not down on walking, and not criticising anyone who pro-actively makes an effort to get out and walk more often. BUT, I think this is a classic example of the complete rip-off of the ‘diet and health industry’ that they try to cash-in on healthier lifestyles, by trying to convince people there is some kind of science around going for a walk. There isn’t, don’t fall for it. I did NOT look in the magazine, it would have likely wound me up too much…but what comes next, I can imagine, you probably need special shoes that cost £130 quid, and you need nutrition tips, a hydration pack, blister-resistant socks, a training plan?

IMG_1912The articles  – kit guide, events, routes, weight loss. Folks, please don’t be fooled by the over-complication and over-scientific-complexity of going out for a walk…just walk! Any time, any place, any weather, just go for a walk. Do you think you need a ‘kit guide’ for that? Let me help:

Hydration – take a bottle of water.

Really long walk – take 3 bottles of water.

Fuel on long walks – take some food, carrots, apples, hard boiled eggs.

Lots of water and food to carry – get a rucksack – tends to have an opening at the top, you put stuff in then close it up and carry it.

Looks like it might rain – take a jacket.

Routes – find a hill, woods, a forest, a coastal path, looks for signs that say ‘Footpath’ – and go explore. Buy a local map.

Really, I just don’t think it needs to get any more complicated than that. You don’t need to spend a load of money. Read more

You think my food is boring? Try taking a look at your LIFE!

Someone recently said to me “Oh man I know it’s healthy and all that, but a lot of your food looks really boring, you eat the same thing all the time, eggs and greens, nuts and fruit, meat and veggies, it’s so boring. Don’t you want Chinese take away and pizza and chips and curry and loads of different things every week? Come on mate, you only live once, have some fun! Don’t you get bored?”

Erm, no, I don’t, thanks. Fortunately, I actually have enough going on in my life that I don’t need to look to my evening meal to find something thrilling and exciting in my day. Read more

London Marathon 2014 Training Plan

I ran a nice half marathon in the SUN shine this morning – yes, SUN! Wow, that was a real treat after the last few weeks/months!

I ran a decent pace, not fast but not slow, running an average of 8:16 min/miles, which equates to a full marathon time of 3:37, which is a good solid time.

http://www.strava.com/activities/113607387?fb_source=708 (this link should take you to my run on Strava – sorry if you can’t see it, maybe only people who are registered on Strava can see it???) Read more

Stand Up!

Lower back pain is a major health problem for many millions of people. Along with colds and flu, lower back pain is one of the biggest causes of lost working time in the Western world today. In my opinion, ‘most’ straightforward lower back pain problems are caused by sedentary lifestyles, poor posture, people spending far too many hours sitting down, and too many people having ‘uneven weight distribution’ in the form of a big fat belly! That comment is slightly tongue-in-cheek, I am not a qualified back-care specialist, and I appreciate that there are many other reasons for back pain. The spine is a complex structure, and the ‘core’ of a human, and understanding backs is a complex science for which I am not trained.

However, I think sedentary lifestyles and desk jobs, and comfy sofa’s in front of the TV, have created a generation of people who spend the majority of their waking hours sitting down, and this causes a lot of lower back problems. I personally suffered from lower back ache for several years. I had a ‘desk job’ between 1998 and 2006, and in those 8 years, my weight fluctuated between ‘normal’ and ‘overweight’ to just touching ‘obese’ in 2003 and again in 2005/6. Over that time, the combination of a 20-pound belly out front, and sitting on my behind for 15 hours per day, I suffered my share of lower back pain. Nothing debilitating, just a near-constant low level ache, worse on some days than others. Read more

I’m not smelly…but what about you?

Now, if you are new to MotherNaturesDiet (MND), you are probably going to think this post is a little weird, but stick with it, it all makes sense once you get to the end. If you already know me and you have been following MND for a while, then you’ll probably be thinking, judging by the title of this piece, that I have a valid point to make and you know I’ll get to it in my own sweet time!

I have been running for a few years now. In the warm weather in spring and summer, I wear just a short sleeve running top, or no shirt at all if it’s really warm and sunny, but in cold weather, I wear multiple layers to keep me warm. Since I lost the excess weight I carried around for 20 years, I’m no longer ‘wearing’ my 2-inch thick layer of fat that used to keep me warm, so it takes me a while to warm up these days, and I hate being cold, so I always favour being too hot over too cold, every time. I’m the weird runner who thinks a hot sunny day is perfect running weather, even for an event like a marathon, when most regular club runners prefer a cool overcast day.

In early 2010 I bought the Gore running top that I am seen wearing in this picture.

SOUTH DEVON CTS MARA

Read more

Eating to Fuel Endurance Training and Long Distance Races

A subject I am often asked about is ‘what is the best food to eat for marathon training, ultra-marathon running, Ironman training’ and so on. I have lots of friends involved in endurance sport, and I have a reasonable amount of experience myself, and there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about fuel for endurance sport. Personally, I have been in long distance endurance events with far more experienced runners than myself and seen them fail and drop out because they ‘got it wrong’ with their fuel, yet in my own experience, such problems are entirely avoidable most of the time.

This post will explain:

  • Why complex carbs are not the best fuel for endurance races
  • Why complex carbs are not required in great quantities pre-race (carb loading)
  • Why gels and bars are not the best fuel to consume during a race
  • How to be ‘a fat burner’, not ‘a sugar burner’
  • Understand how to unlock thousands of calories of energy for long races

Read more

Who is MotherNaturesDiet for?

  • What is MotherNaturesDiet really all about?
  • Who is this for?
  • What is the goal?

I am often asked what MND is all about, who is it for, who should follow MND and why?

I have spent a long time thinking about it all.

I have dear friends who have pointed out that on the one hand, I ‘preach’ moderation and clean living: I tell people to practice clean eating, to de-stress, I promote calm living in commune with Mother Nature, I tell people to de-stress, relax, walk in the woods, enjoy the mountains, get some fresh air and sunshine and chill out, I recommend that we all pay off our debts, treat our bodies with respect and love more.

Then on the other hand, I myself train like a maniac 5 days per week, I regularly try to motivate you with posts about my tough training sessions. I cycle miles and miles, I run marathons and ultra-marathons, I run over mountains, I rock climb, I have a climbing wall up the side of my house, I have done 1000 push ups in an hour and I throw 250 pound tractor tyres around several times per week.

People say to me “there seems to be a conflict” and I think about this myself, and I have finally figured out what it’s all about. Read more

2013 Popular Posts #5: 127 Weight Loss Tips from MotherNaturesDiet

127 Weight Loss Tips from MotherNaturesDiet
– your free eBook

Back in November I published a little book of weight loss tips and this has proved to be the 5th most popular post of 2013.

So many people are looking for good advice to help them lose weight, and they find the ‘diet industry’ awash with rip-off solutions and supplements. Well here is a solution for you, and one that won’t cost you any money, and it doesn’t involve buying supplements, so-called ‘superfoods’ or some new-fangled piece of home workout equipment.

Please download this free book and share it with your friends and family if they are interested in being healthier and losing unwanted excess weight.

https://mothernaturesdiet.me/2013/11/07/127-weight-loss-tips-from-mothernaturesdiet-free-ebook/

As you have probably figured out by now, MotherNaturesDiet is the no-tricks, no-gimmicks, common-sense approach to good health and fitness. That’s all you’ll find in this little book, just lashings of common sense and simple ideas, things you can do to lose weight and feel great.

Enjoy!

Training hard to resist aging and weakening

Some of you regular readers may have noticed a lot of recent posts related to working out, perhaps with more focus on strenuous workouts and less on the gentle workouts. This is not always the case, here on MND I talk about the need for regular gentle exercise – walking, outdoor play, an easy bike ride, a nice swim – but I also talk about the need for more strenuous exercise.

I am 43 years old. I keep myself super-fit. As a benchmark, at any time, with no warning or preparation time, I could bang out 500 push-ups in an hour and then jump up and run 20 miles. That’s a level of fitness which I maintain pretty much year round.

However, I notice that a LOT, I mean the vast majority, of people I meet in my age group, do not maintain anything like that level of fitness (in fact, most people I meet in their 20s and 30s too) and most people consider me to be rather ‘extreme’, an exercise addict and some kind of ‘fitness freak’. But if you re-read this old post from a year ago, and think about our ancestors before 15,000 years ago, they HAD to be this fit all the time, throughout their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.

Mortality rates in our ancient ancestors

While there has been much discussion about ‘caveman’ not living to a ripe old age, the data is not straightforward and should be carefully analysed. Read more

My fastest run in 2 years

If you have read My Story then you will know that I enjoy running, and over 2009-2011 I ran a few marathons and mountain races. You will also know that I had to stop running near the end of 2011, in November, whilst training for the Las Vegas marathon, because of a persistent knee injury. The knee ended up needing surgery and I didn’t run at all, not even once, for a year from the end of November 2011 through to around about October or November time in 2012.

Since November 2012, I started running again, just a little at a time, building my running stamina back up.

A couple of weeks ago, late in August, I had my first ‘long’ run in 2 years. I enjoyed an awesome fun run on Brecon Beacons, running a total of 18 miles up and down, including a lot of climbing.

Read more

The simple joy of running

I have been asked for a few tips about running. I have run quite a lot, so I have fairly extensive experience, and I have suffered numerous running injuries, so there is a lot I could write about.

1: Start with this: The best possible book ever for MOTIVATION – Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes: Read more

Workout of the Week – Sprint Sets

This is a great all-round body conditioning workout, try this out and let me know how it feels.

I shall be out at 6am tomorrow morning hitting this workout, it’s a great way to start a Sunday!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZV2Y7pkriQ

Avoiding injuries, training and eating ‘caveman style’

One year ago this day, I fractured my spine in two places falling 6 foot onto a concrete floor while training.

To be honest, I have a very high pain threshold, but that accident did hurt quite a lot. Especially after 24 hours, then it really kicked in and for a week or so all movement was very painful and very difficult and very limited.

I guess there is a certain amount of potential danger involved in the way I train. I climb rocks and trees, dangle from branches and bars, jump over things and run over uneven grass and mud. I have suffered a number of injuries, such as twisted ankles, stress fracture in my tibia, shin splints, fractured rib, several fractured fingers and toes, a couple of muscle sprains, compressed disc in my back, muscle spasms and the obvious trashed knee (from running, I had surgery last year) and a variety of cuts and scratches.

Life can be dangerous

Read more

Doing Nothing is a Backward Step

A friend reminded me of this line of thought yesterday, so I thought I would blog about this today.

My friend lamented that he had previously worked hard for 10 months to improve his physical conditioning, but then just 3 months of taking his eye off the ball and all his hard work was lost.

Let me give you an analogy that might resonate with some of you. This is a running story, and I wrote this for a business book I published back in 2009, but it is very relevant to diet and exercise and how we treat our health and our bodies in general.

Read more

Running Marathons and Goal Setting

Today’s picture is from April 2011, I was running in the Exmoor trail marathon (a CTS event run by EnduranceLife – excellent events, I can thoroughly recommend them) and I finished 1st in ‘Male Veterans’ and 9th overall, with a finish time of 4 hours 40 minutes and 59 seconds. The course was approximately 27.1 miles and included well over 5000 feet of ascent, including one very big, long, steep climb just 5 miles from the end, which was torture on tired legs.

This time of year, with New Year just around the corner, I always spend time thinking about goals and challenges. I ran a lot of marathons in 2011, that year my fitness was one of my big goals and I pushed it to an all-time high. As well as a ‘first-place-in-age-group’ marathon finish, I ran a sub 3:15 road marathon in Copenhagen, aged 40, I ran a 10k PB of exactly 42 mins, I completed the National 3 Peaks Challenge inside 24 hours, I completed 1014 good-form clean push-ups in 1 hour and I cycled from John O’Groats to Land’s End in 9 days, a total of 963 miles. I certainly was ‘fit’ in the sense of cardio-vascular performance and the mental attitude for endurance sport.

Broader goals

As regular readers of this blog will know...

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Respect for your age

I have been pushing some pretty intense workouts the in recent weeks, training hard with weights, and I notice how when I really work my muscles hard, it now takes me at least 3 days to stop aching and fully recover. I don’t mind pain, I could train after 1 day or 2 no problem, but I will get progressively weaker. In order to train and get progressively stronger, I now need 3 days between really heavy, intense workouts.

It's an age thing!

Read more

Just Get Up and Do It

These days, I am pretty much an exercise addict. Not obsessively (maybe I was a couple of years ago...) but I just find it easy these days, it’s part of my life, I workout 5 or 6 days each week and rarely find it any effort to fit it in.

But there are days we all struggle, days it is an effort.

On the days I feel tired, the days I lack motivation, the days I am rushing around and I tell myself I just don’t have the time, the hardest bit is the first 5 minutes. In fact, the first minute. Actually, it's just the first 10 seconds.

Just start

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Living the MND way – 42 yrs old Today!

Hey!! It's my birthday! I'm 42 years old today!

As from today, I am 'officially' living by my 12 Core Principles completely now. I have pretty much been living this way for a the last 6 to 9 months anyway, but now I am being more strict.

What you can measure, you can manage

That old business saying is true, you can only manage what you measure, so I think the best way to start is with a full set of my stats, as follows:
•Age: 42
•Height: 6 ft 1 in (186 cm)
•Weight...

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