Inspiration to action – Make a change

IMG_1566It is very easy to be inspired. Taking action is the hard bit. There are lots of blogs, podcasts, Instagram posts and You Tube videos of people doing great things and making changes to their lives.

Every morning I am inspired to do lots of things with my day. One example is my meditation practice. Lots of content I read and listen to says that daily meditation has many positive benefits. I have tried to create a meditation practice for going on a year or so, but haven’t been able to be consistent. I will do 3 days in a row, then I will have to be early at work or something similar and I miss a day, then I miss another day and before I know it a week has gone by without meditating.

One thing that I was inspired to do and took action on was losing weight and getting fit. I used to be pretty lazy exercise wise. The food I ate was carb and meat heavy and there was plenty of socialising at the local watering holes. In this instant I did take some action and I have seen the benefits. Since then lots of friends and family have asked me how I did it and what I changed. Though it was a concise decision, I did not really do one thing. It was combination of things. Continue reading “Inspiration to action – Make a change”

Breakfast – Oats, Nuts/Seeds Mix, Fruit

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For a long time I did not eat breakfast. I was very much “a cup of tea is all I need in the morning” type person. You will have heard the phrase “Breakfast is the most important meat of the day”. For some people it may be and there will be others that do not like to eat in the morning. I think it is up to you and it should be based on how you feel or what is best for you. A simple guide is – eat if you are hungry and don’t if you are not.

What I have found since I starting eating breakfast regularly is that I have more energy, my concentration improves, my mood improves and I tend not to snack on things I shouldn’t. If I cycle to work, I am pretty hungry when I arrive and there is no chance I will make it through to lunch without breakfast.

My breakfast “revolution” started in 2014 when I went to Yorkshire for the start of the Tour de France. I stayed with my step grandparents (Brian and Sheila) and breakfast was porridge oats with fresh berries on top. I tend to be an egg on toast man especially at the weekend, but I was a guest and reluctantly tucked in to my oats and fruit. I was happily surprised how much I enjoyed it and it set me up nicely for some hollering and cheering on the streets of rural Yorkshire as 150 pro cyclists flew by. Continue reading “Breakfast – Oats, Nuts/Seeds Mix, Fruit”

Why am I not better? (Than I think I am)

Can I run like The Flash?
Can I run like The Flash?

I have been thinking about writing this post for some time, I consider it regularly. I was thinking about saving it for later, but I just can’t get it out of my head. Why am I not better?

As I alluded to in first post, I was a fairly successful athlete and sportsman in younger years and teens. I always won my school sports day. I won managers and player’s player of the year with my double winning Sunday league football team. I was captain of my local rugby team and a county medal winning swimmer.

“I still think I can win a sprint. I still think I can effortlessly bend a free kick into the top corner of the goal”.

I am not bragging or looking back fondly on my athletic glory years. The point of the post is – I still think I can win a sprint. I still think I can effortlessly bend a free kick into the top corner of the goal. I still think I can turn out for a local rugby club and give it a good go. I still think I can take most people on in a 25m swimming race!

The other point of the post is that I have plenty of experience to know that I can’t do any of those things and that consistent training and practice is required to do them well. That does not stop me trying to play 5 a side football once every 2 years like I play week in week out (and actually realising I can’t change direction or that if I kick this ball to hard, I am going to pull my groin!) or racing my friends whenever I see a swimming pool, ‘cause once upon a time I was a really good swimmer.

OK, poor me! Yes, I am not as young as I used to be and I can’t run as fast. Continue reading “Why am I not better? (Than I think I am)”

Podcasts you should be listening to

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 21.56.47I have been an avid listener of podcasts for going on 10 years. One of the reasons I started listening was that I began to take the bus to work and need something to listen to. The other reason was that I had started running again and I needed something to listen to.

There maybe some people who still don’t know what a podcast is. I have just looked it up on Wikipedia and it does not make a lot of sense to me!

The way I would describe it is. It’s like a radio show that you can download via iTunes or directly to your phone and you can listen to it any time you like. Some podcasts are just that, a recorded live radio show that is then downloadable at a later time. Some are recorded and then put on the web to be downloaded and were never played out live. You subscribe to the podcast and when a new episode is available, it automatically downloads to your iTunes or your phone.

If you have an iPhone, then you already have an app on your phone (that you can’t delete) to download podcasts. I am told that this is not the greatest podcast app and that the Overcast app is better (also available on Android). I have not used this app, but it has been recommended to me a number of times.

I am pretty old school when it comes to podcast downloading. I have an old and battered, but highly loved iPod Nano 3rd generation. I load the podcasts into iTunes on my laptop, then plug my iPod in and manually select the podcasts I want to listen to.

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My poor old battered iPod nano!

I absolutely love podcasts. It surprises me that more people do not listen to them. There is amazing free content out there that you can listen to at your leisure. There is a podcast for whatever you are interested in. Sport, Business, Comedy, Economics, History, Philosophy, Music, Science, Meditation, The Archers. There are also a lot about health, fitness, nutrition and wellbeing. These can help you on your journey to a better, fitter more healthy life.

Below are a number of podcasts I highly recommend to you. Some are about health and nutrition and running and some are about other things, but there are all excellent and you should definitely give them a try. Continue reading “Podcasts you should be listening to”

My First Triathlon – Intotri (Sunday 15th May 2016)

As a runner there is now a multitude of other events that you can try to mix up your racing and events participation. There are obstacle course races, duathalons, aquathons, relay races and bike sportives. There is of course, triathlon as well. The fastest growing participation sport in the UK/world!

I have been increasingly interested in triathlons for a while now. The success of the Brownlee brothers at the London 2012 Olympics, the BBC coverage on the World Triathlon Series, Rich Roll’s book Finding Ultra and World Triathlon staging their races in lovely locations has all helped stimulate this interest.

I have put off doing a triathlon for a couple of reasons. One, because I have not swum properly for about 20 years (where it does not involve a running bomb or a water slide!) Two, it’s also really expensive and you need loads of kit.

Intotri have solved the second bit of my issue. They run free monthly timed triathlons over the super sprint distance (400m swim, 10km cycle, 2.5km run). You also don’t need fancy kit. Continue reading “My First Triathlon – Intotri (Sunday 15th May 2016)”

The benefits of cycling to work

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Have you ever thought about cycling to work and what the benefits may be? You may have a concern about the air pollution in major cities that is putting you off giving it a go. This always comes to mind when I am sat behind a bus bellowing out black smoke whilst on my bike.

A recent study by the University of Cambridge shows that the health benefits of cycling and walking outweigh the harmful effects of air pollution in all but the most polluted cities. So that is good news and one less thing to worry about.

Reduction of air pollution was one of the main manifesto points in the recent London Mayoral elections, with all the main mayoral candidates claiming they are committed to tackling the issue. The Royal Colleges of Physicians and of Paediatrics and Child Health say that outdoor air pollution is contributing to about 40,000 early deaths a year in the UK. I could not quite believe this when I read it.

The main point for Londoners of the University of Cambridge study is that –

“Our model indicates that in London health benefits of active travel always outweigh the risk from pollution,” said Dr Marko Tainio from the Cambridge MRC epidemiology unit, who led the study. Continue reading “The benefits of cycling to work”

What is the Imposter Syndrome?

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Have you heard of the imposter syndrome? I am pretty sure you can work out what it is, because it’s likely you have felt it at some point.

I bring this up, as there was a great article on the BBC website and a 30 minute programme on Radio 4 as well about this phenomenon.

The article and radio programme shows that there are some super successful people out there (award winning writers and brain surgeons) who believe that at some point they are going to get found out and that someone is going to figure out that they do not know what they are really doing. Continue reading “What is the Imposter Syndrome?”

How do i start?

How do you start? You just start!

We all want to be better. We all want to improve our lives. We all know we should eat better. We all know we should exercise. But it is just so damn hard to get started!

I can procrastinate with the best of them. I had been meaning to start this blog for months. I got hung up on what I was going to call it. Where would register the domain. Who I should host my site with. I spent two weeks looking at different themes. I nearly bought a new laptop. That could have wasted another couple of weeks! There were lots of things I thought I had to get right before I could start. There wasn’t. I just needed to start.

So, what do you do about this? How do you get started?

What I have found is……. there is no secret, there is no special app, and there is no life hack that is going to get you going.

Now, that is not what you really wanted to hear, is it. I’m sorry. You do have to do one small thing. Continue reading “How do i start?”

Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon – 13/3/16

Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon

One of my aims this year has been to take part in more races and then the review and document them. I did this race a month or so ago but it has taken a while to get my blog up and running (I have to work on that procrastination).

I got my place through Alzheimer’s Research UK via a post on the parkrun weekly email. The place was free and the minimum sponsorship target was only £100. I filled in the application form and low and behold I got an email back the same day saying I was in.

I have not run a half marathon for 5 or 6 years but I was excited about the challenge and though I only had 6 weeks to prepare I thought I could get some miles in my legs to get through it and hopefully post a good time. Continue reading “Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon – 13/3/16”

A little more about me!

For my first blog post I could tell you about the training I did at the weekend or review the run I recently volunteered at. However, when I am reading blogs, what I really want to know is: a little bit about the person who is writing. Is this person like me? What’s their story? Can I identify with them? Are they super fit and talking about 2 hrs 45 min marathons or just surviving them? What value will I get from this blog?

I have written a little bio in the “About” page but I thought I would flesh it out a little to produce my first blog post. Continue reading “A little more about me!”