Hard work or talent? Which one?

Conor Dwyer Hard work

I don’t want to start ever post about a recent Rich Roll podcast I’ve listened to, but it is ever so good and you really should download and listen to it.

A recent guest was Conor Dwyer, an American swimmer who won gold in the London and Rio Olympic games in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay.

You may not have heard of him, but he trains and races with Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps (at least one of which you should have heard of) so he’s pretty useful. Continue reading “Hard work or talent? Which one?”

The 22 Day Challenge – Stretching

Stretch head up

For a number of years I used to get a sore back when I stood up for too long. This usually used to come on when I was out “shopping” and did not want to be. Maybe this was psychosomatic, but that is when I used to notice it most and when it used to hurt the most. I also got it when I ran and when I did squats at BMF.

I committed to take some action over my back pain. I went to see an Osteopath. I explain my symptoms and my physical activity (running and cycling) and he proclaimed that there was no problem with my back. It was my hamstrings! Hamstrings (the big muscle running down the back of your leg) are attached to the muscles in your back, and my tight hamstrings were pulling on the muscles creating the discomfort. Although I stretched pre and post exercise, my homework was to stretch every day and come back next week and report back. For my second session, I explained that my achilles were now tight. He said, you have stretched your hamstrings and now the tightness had moved to your Achilles. I now had to stretch these and I also had to stretch my quadriceps, as it was the opposing muscle to my hamstrings.

I committed to stretch every day to try and help my back. Continue reading “The 22 Day Challenge – Stretching”

The benefits of drinking more water

Glass of water

In my post “Why am I not better” I spoke about the number of small things that you can do to improve your health and performance. You could call this the Compound effect (a number of little changes that can add up to a greater, positive impact in the future) or what British Cycling call marginal gains.  (I am not quite at the marginal gains level yet, but you get the point).I stated that I was going to undertake a 22 day challenge to drink more water and see if there is any benefits.

Why 22 days? There is popular belief that it takes 21 days to form a habit. This come from a book Psycho Cybernetics written by a German cosmetic surgeon Maxwell Maltz in 1960 where he observed that the adjustment period for his patients was a minimum of 21 days. Over time this has become more popular and has become the stock answer for how long it takes to form a habit.

So for now I am going to go with 21 days and add 1 day as way of an upgrade!

Why did I make drinking more water my first self-improvement?

First of all, I am highly aware that I do not drink enough water. The colour of your urine is the best indicator of hydration. Let just say, mine is not where it should be. Continue reading “The benefits of drinking more water”

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”

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.

IMG_3237
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”

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!”