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Motivation – Have You Got Your PERM in Place?

As most of you will know, my core beliefs when it comes to health, fitness, weight loss and exercising are that whatever changes you are going to make in your life, they need to be sustainable. For a change to be sustainable you must have the correct reasons and motivation for making that change.

Now you may ask ‘What is the correct motivation for making a change in your life?’. This is where you need to know your goal or target. What do you want to achieve? When you know what you want to achieve you can then begin to work out what it will take to get there. These are the changes that you need to make in order to achieve your overall goal.

Just to go slightly off on a tangent for a minute; there are two types of motivations that we need to know about. These are Intrinsic and Extrinsic.

Intrinsic motivation is the self-desire to seek out new things and new challenges, to analyze one’s capacity, to observe and to gain knowledge. It is driven by an interest or enjoyment in the task itself, and exists within the individual rather than relying on external pressures or a desire for consideration. People are more likely to have intrinsic motivation if they

  • are interested in mastering something new, even though there is no reward at the end of it.
  • engage in a task willingly
  • attribute their results to factors under their own control, also known as autonomy of control
  • believe they have the skills to be effective agents in reaching their desired goals, also known as self-efficacy beliefs

Extrinsic motivation refers to the performance of an activity in order to attain a desired outcome and it is the opposite of intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation comes from influences outside of the individual. Common extrinsic motivations are:

  • rewards (prizes, exam results, personal best times) for showing the desired behaviour
  • the threat of punishment following failure/non-compliance

 

Competition is an extrinsic motivator because it encourages the performer to win or to beat a personal best, not simply to enjoy the intrinsic rewards of the activity.  So in order to achieve the extrinsic goal, you need to have an interest or self-belief in the activities you need to complete to get there.

With extrinsic motivation, the harder question to answer is where do people get the motivation to carry out and continue to push with towards their target.

 

Now back to where I got distracted with explaining motivation. You need to know your ‘why?’ for your original goal/target. If it is weight loss, ‘why’ do you want to get to your goal weight? ‘Why’ did you choose that weight? Is it the weight on the scale you crave or the look you had when you weighed that weight last?

In 2011 a psychologist, Martin Seligman, published the book ‘Flourish’. This included a model with five elements that if all are in place we have a great chance of making lasting changes and experiencing well-being. This model is the PERMA Model. The five key elements are:

 

P             Positive Emotions

E              Engagement

R             Relationships

M            Meaning

A             Accomplishments

 

Let me explain each one in relation to a healthier lifestyle.

P             Positive Emotions – This is often described as sensory pleasure. This could be tasty (nutritious) food, warm baths, being in a place you love (outdoors, gym)

E              Engagement – When we’re truly engaged in something, you we experience a state of flow: time seems to stop and we concentrate intensely on the present. This could be cooking your favourite healthy meal, a gym class or a run outdoors

R             Relationships – These are often the social ties between the extrinsic and intrinsic motivations. Think of the friends you have made through exercising or the strengthening family ties that follow fun outdoor activities

M            Meaning – This comes from us thinking that we are serving a bigger purpose than ourselves. This can range from being religious, to being part of a running club, gym or even Facebook groups.

A             Accomplishments – These are usually the extrinsic motivators (certainly previous ones). If you are reading this, the chances are you will have something in the future you want to accomplish. This could be weight loss, getting new running PBs, learning a new language, etc.   As these have an outcome at the end, they are the easiest to struggle with. This is where you need your PERM to be in place (no, not the 80’s hairstyle) to ensure that you have the intrinsic (internal) motivations in place to carry you through the days or weeks where things don’t go to plan.

 

So, to bring everything back together as this has been a little disjointed (sorry), you need to find your intrinsic motivation to achieve your extrinsic goal. This means that to get to your goal weight (for example):

  • you need to know why you want to get to that weight (Accomplishment)
  • what can you do that you enjoy and gives you positive emotions that will keep you on track (Positive Emotions & Engagement)
  • do you have the relationships, social groups and belief, or can you find them, to support you towards your goals (Relationships & Meaning)

If you can get all of these in place, you have a far better chance of not only reaching your goal, but also in sustaining a healthier lifestyle than you had previously. Sustainable progress needs to be enjoyable and fit in with your lifestyle or you will just find it to hard and not enjoy your new life.

Good luck and if you need any help, please contact me.

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

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London Marathon Training – Week 3

Week 3 already and another high mileage week planned.

Monday started off with a 3.3 mile walk with my wife, immediately followed (after a quick change into my shorts) by an 8 mile run. This included 4 miles at potential marathon pace (MP). The MP miles averaged 6.15 pace, which as you can imagine, I was very pleased with, especially as my heart rate (HR) was lower than in previous marathons.

Tuesday was my first double day of the week. It started with an early 10 miler, all at an easy effort and not focussing on pace at all. I ran 4 miles to the club in the evening to the club before joining them for another 8.2 miles, including some faster miles helping keep someone company who was aiming to run at his marathon pace. Those faster miles, my 17th-20th miles of the day, averaged 6.25 pace. Once again I was very pleased with those after that amount of mileage in my legs.

On Wednesday I put my sensible head on and just ran at a very easy effort level and once again didn’t focus on the pace.

Thursday was an interesting running day and I think I almost underestimated it. I had to drop my car into the garage for a service. I dropped the car at 8am and ran at an easy effort home. However, town to Wigston is net uphill so although I was running at an easy effort, the 4.25 miles home felt harder on my legs than I thought. However, without a car I had the choice of catching a bus or running back to collect it. As I am not one to take the easy option I decided to run back. As it was a net downhill the 4.37 miles back felt far easier than earlier. Two runs down by 12pm.

The next run was the Next Running Group and week 9 of their Couch to 5K plan. However, as they have been doing so well we decided to go on a ‘magical mystery tour of Enderby’! If anyone knows Enderby they will know that there isn’t much magical about it and the only mystery element was that I allowed each person to pick part of the route. This meant that (with a bit of creativity towards the end) we managed to run bang-on 5k. High-5s all round!

My final run of the day was the Wigston Phoenix hills session. Running late due to the extra few minutes with Next, I managed to see runners from the club just setting out as I neared the meeting point. Luckily, as they were warming up and I already had with Next, I managed to catch them just before they got to the first hill. 16 reps of various hills later and I was blowing hard! The hill session was 6.67 miles bringing Thursdays total to 18.76 miles.

Friday should have been a recovery day and would have been, had the client I was running with not been faster than she let on! So after 5 miles of various hill reps around Wigston and finishing with some sprints on the flat, my legs were feeling it again. However, I can’t complain as she pushed hard and was faster than she thought as well and, after all, it is my job to get people working.

Saturday is long run day and for the second week running the plan was 20 miles. Once again I thought about letting the time drift by with another ‘Tour de Parks’. I thought I’d see how many green spaces and parks I could run through without looking at a map or plan a route beforehand. I think I managed 15 different green areas/parks within the 20 miles. The run itself started as a bit of a struggle. My legs felt tired and although it was cold, I felt warm ‘just not right’. However, after about 5 miles I started to get into a happier rhythm and settled into a consistent easy effort and pace. By the end of the run, which took a fraction over 2hrs 30mins, I was feeling far better than at the beginning and could have gone on for longer. I had my sensible head on though and really wanted breakfast!

Sunday was a very gentle 4 mile recovery run around Wigston. For the second week in a row my left calf felt a little tight and tired, but nothing I would deem as anything more. However, the biggest aim of my training is consistency so I will not be risking injury.

 

Week 3 Totals: 82.3 miles covered over 11 runs, 3.3 miles covered over one walk, plus some basic core exercises on my BOSU ball.

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London Marathon 2017 Training – Week 2

After Week 1 was a total of 77 miles, Week 2 was due to be more of the same.

Monday started at 6.30am with a 3.3 mile walk with my wife to encourage her to get out in the dark and to test my left calf, which was feeling a little tight yesterday. Once home, a quick change into my shorts and then back out for 6.6 miles of running, including 3 miles in the middle at an average pace of 6.23, which I would describe as ‘comfortably challenging’. The pleasing thing for a stat-geek like myself, was that my heart rate (HR) was slightly lower than my normal marathon pace HR meaning I could have pushed harder. My calf was fine.

Tuesday was my ‘normal’ double-day. I started with another 3 mile walk with my wife, followed by running 10 easy miles. Running through Knighton Park in the dark was a different experience (very eerie). The second run of the day was 4 miles before our Wigston Phoenix club run. The total run for the evening was 10.8 miles with only 2 miles of those under 7.00 pace and they were just striding without any extra effort. 20.8 miles for the day but I felt strong and fit.

Wednesday was a very easy effort 4.2 miles. The wind was not helping my effort levels on what were very tired legs!

Thursday was a frustrating day. For my Personal Training business I have converted half of my garage into a gym. However, when the mirrors were delivered they were damaged so a replacement set were sent. This meant that for the gym area to be safe I had to put them up as quick as possible. Annoyingly, this meant skipping my morning run to get them fixed before my clients were due. My first run of the day was with my Couch-to-5k group at Next. This week we ran continuously for 2.6 miles. I followed this with a mad-dash to Victoria Park to join in the club speed/hill session. My legs were working well and I pushed hard to get the most out of the session.

Friday was another very easy effort recovery run of 5 miles. My legs were a bit tired from the speed training the previous night and I had a long run to do on Saturday so I ran as easy as I could while keeping my form.

Saturday is the day of the year I usually dread the most; my first 20 miler of the year. I don’t know why they affect my head the way they do as I have ran so many over the years and they are not much further than the 18 miler I had done the week before. Anyway, I was up and out by 6.30am for an ‘easy-effort’ 20 miles. I hadn’t planned a route but as it was dark and raining I thought I would go for a ‘tour of parks’. Starting in Wigston I ran to Great Central Way, then across and through Braunstone, crossing the park long before any parkrunners were around. I then took the ring road to Western Park and cut through the park to Fosse Road where I ran through The Rally, up by Leicester Tigers, up New Walk and then across Victoria Park, where the parkrun volunteers were just setting up. Finally I headed up Queens Road and through Knighton Park and on to home. 20.05 miles in 2hrs 31mins of cold, mainly dark, but with a lovely sunrise. I would call that a confidence booster at this time of the year.

Sunday was a recovery run, at a very easy effort, of 4.76 miles to get my legs moving again. Weirdly, my legs actually felt quite spritely, so I had to force myself to slow down. That is very pleasing after another long week.

 

Week 2 Totals: 70.2 miles covered over 9 runs, 6.4 miles covered over two walks, plus some basic core exercises on my BOSU ball.

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

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London Marathon 2017 Training – Week 1

Well here I am for the 10th year in a row (11th in total). Week 1 of London Marathon training.

I had finished the previous week with a 16 miler on Sunday, meaning my legs were coming into this week a little more than normal (as I do my long runs on a Saturday).

Monday started with a 5 miler, broken down as 1m easy, 2m at rough marathon pace (MP), finishing with 2m easy pace. As it was icy, the faster two miles went to pot a bit. I was ok on flat straight roads but having to go round corners was a bit like ice skating without the friction. However, I was very happy with MP miles of 6.29 & 6.25. Run one done, nailed and no falls!

Tuesdays are what I like to term ’20-mile Tuesdays’. I like to run in the morning and then again with my running club, Wigston Phoenix in the evenings. My morning run was an easy 9.2 miler, concentrating on running form and keeping effort and heart rate low. In the evening I drove to the club and ran 4 easy miles before everyone else arrived. I then ran with someone who wanted to run at their MP (approx. 6.40) for 4 miles.   As we approached the ring road we left the rest of our group behind and pushed on into the wind. We ran the 4 miles at an average of 6.39 pace. Spot on! I finished the evening with 11 miles for a total of 20.2 miles for the day.

Wednesday was nice and easy after that big day. I started the day off with a nice 3.3 mile walk with my wife, followed by a very easy effort run of 4.1 miles.

Thursday was a triple-running day of sorts. I started the day with a 3 mile walk with my wife, following it with a 7.1 miler at an easy pace. Later in the day I ran 2 miles with my couch-to-5k group from Next and finished the day off with our club speed/hill session around Victoria Park. Surprisingly, my legs still worked and I was able to push hard on all of the reps. The overall daily total was 14.72 miles.

Friday was the third double-day of the week. This is unusual for me as I usually have an easy day before my Saturday long run. However, I had a new client who wanted a consultation meeting while running (madness – most prefer coffee) in the morning and then I was leading the 8.30 pace group at the monthly We Run LE1 run from Victoria Park through Leicester city centre. This is a great run for inexperienced runners or those looking to meet or chat to others in a similar boat as it is purely social as it is not timed. The day totalled 8.86 miles and finished at about 7.30pm.

Saturday was an early start; up and out to get in 18 miles before 9.30am. Some would say I am mad, but I like to think that by 9.30am I have finished my long run and the rest of the weekend is my own. This 18 miler is a two-paced run, the first 8 miles ran at an easy effort (around 7.30 pace), the next 8 miles ran at around 6.52 (sub-3hr) pace, with 2 easy miles to finish. My legs were tired from the start and it soon became a bit of a war of attrition. Me against mile after mile. I have ran this route so many times over the years and often still hate it when my legs don’t want to work. However, on a positive note, the first 8 miles were ran at 7.23 pace, the faster 8 miles at 6.44 pace, meaning that my legs were not really a problem (although my HR was higher than usual); it was more in my head!!

Sunday is just a nice easy finish to my running week, an easy 5 mile recovery run from home to marshalling at Aylestone Junior parkrun. I love finishing the week watching the enthusiasm of the kids, whether they are racing or just running round for the sheer enjoyment of being able to run. Even those being ‘dragged’ around by their parents manage a smile when they finish.

 

Week 1 Totals: 77 miles covered over 11 runs, 6.64 miles covered over two walks, plus some basic core exercises on my BOSU ball.

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

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You Need To Think About What You Won’t Do

I love bread, sausages and beer. I have a healthy diet, but I do enjoy these three things and I don’t think that I could ever give them up totally as part of any nutrition plan. They would be on my “I won’t list”. We all have one of these lists, even though you’ve probably never thought of it.

We always talk about what we will do to be healthy and how you are willing to achieve your nutritional and exercise goals. For example,

  • I’m going to exercise 4 days per week
  • I’m going to hit my calorie goal every day
  • I’m getting up an hour earlier each day so I can work out at 6am

That’s great. We do need to identify those qualities, those markers within us that can create habits that will reinforce the positive behavior and give us a growing awareness of how far we are willing to go.

However, there is something else that you need to factor in; your capacity for succeeding is also dependent on what you are not willing to do. Mine is bread, sausages and beer. What won’t you give up? Where will you draw the line at pushing yourself? Examples on your “won’t do” list could be:

But there’s something else you need to factor in: your capacity for success is also predicated on what you are not willing to do. What you won’t give up. Where you draw the line at discomfort. Yes, your list of things you won’t do. Examples:

  • I won’t eat vegetables
  • I won’t stop eating cheese
  • I am NOT running
  • No high intensity exercise
  • I can’t get up at 6:00 am to exercise. That’s too early
  • I won’t lift weights because I’ll get “bulky” (you won’t)

It is important to look at this list as definitive statements are an indicator of our mindset. Because of this, we need to take a minute to examine them for clues.

Here is an exercise for you to do: take a piece of paper and write at the top: I WON’T and then fill in 5 lines below with things that you are not willing to do in the pursuit of a healthier life. Just write them down. Don’t think about “why” at this point, just write the important points.

Once you have finished take a look. Consider if all of your points are definite “won’ts”. If they are then keep them. If you are unsure whether they are definite then ask yourself these questions:

Why are you unwilling to?

What would that mean to you? To your life? To your family?

If you could give it up for a short time would that be ok? Could you survive and how long for?

 

You may have some understandable points on your list. For example, if you are a single parent then “going for a run before work” is probably not achievable. However, what about points that fall into a “middle ground” or definates that do not have a concrete reason? You may refuse to do weight-training as you do not want to bulk up. Could you seek advice from someone who could give you a programme to allow you to weight-train without any possibility that you will increase bulk.   With these “middle ground” points, there is often a way of removing them from your list with a bit of help.

Writing your list and then analysing it is a great way of getting to know yourself. It will make you think about your mindset and behaviours and help you to visualise the following: the road to success has two yellow lines running down the middle, dividing it in half (those lines represent what you are willing to do and what you are not willing to do). A little further down the road it splits into two. One fork takes you to success, the other doesn’t. However, to take the road to success you must be on the right side of the line at that point.

And the secret to this? Successful people will do the things that unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Say it again; “successful people will do the things that unsuccessful people are not willing to do”. So, all of those things in your “won’t do” list may be holding you back from being successful.

Success is not an easy path to follow. It never has been and never will be. It requires smart planning, sacrifices, consistency, re-evaluation, willingness to adjust and perseverance when life gets hard. There will be hard times, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get through them. You just need to be determined.

So, want success. Figure out what is holding you back, and work on it. You might find a hidden key to a door you need to unlock. Good luck!

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

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Why Breathing Cold Air Can Hurt

Why do my lungs seem to burn when running in cold temperatures? This is a common question, especially among new runners or those running in cold weather for the first time. The lungs have evolved to warm and humidify inhaled air to body temperature and humidity without damaging tissue.

Think of the respiratory system as a tree; with two main branches splitting off from the trunk and then splitting into smaller and smaller branches until the tiny branches sprout leaves. Turn the tree upside down and shrink it to chest size and you have the lung with the trachea as the trunk and the alveoli (air sacks) as leaves.

The warming and humidification of the air occurs quickly starting in the mouth and nose, reaching body temperature and 100 per cent humidity before the air gets too deep into the respiratory tree. As air moves deeper into the air sacks that lie in direct contact with the blood vessels, it exchanges oxygen for carbon dioxide. While inhaled air is cooling the lung tissue, the expired air adds some heat back to the cooled tissues on the way out of the lungs.

Cold air is very dry. The burning sensation you feel in cold air is probably due to the combination of heat and water exchange that is occurring early in the inhalation of cold, dry air. For most people, this sensation goes away after a few minutes and it is not known to cause harm in healthy lungs, but can trigger an attack of bronchospasm in someone with asthma.

Many people worry that the lung tissue will freeze in cold air, but the extensive network of blood flow through the lung tissue seems to prevent that from happening.

As research tells us, the lungs will tolerate extremely cold temperatures without cold damage.

Growing up and living in England, we are used to cold weather, and as kids, that didn’t stop us from running around outdoors without damage. There are many year-round runners in places far colder than the temperatures we have to live with. Evolution seems to have developed a hardy system that will withstand the cold elements.

If cold air bothers you during exercise, you can wear a scarf or snood/buff type piece of clothing to help “pre-warm” the air. There are many designs to be found on the internet that can help. Just beware that covering your mouth and nose during exercising will make breathing feel harder due to breathing through a layer of material.

So, no excuses; you can exercise in cold conditions without fear of damaging your lungs, and the burning sensation will pass.

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

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When to Exercise When You Are Ill

We are getting into the winter months, which generally means the cold and flu season is on its way. I often get asked if it’s okay to exercise when sick? I know there is nothing more frustrating than enjoying your exercise programme, getting results and then getting ill, whether it’s a common cold, full blown flu or another horrible bug.

Asking if you can exercise when sick can be a bit like asking how long is a piece for string? It all really comes down to your symptoms, how you feel and the type of exercise you want to do.

I personally use the general rule of thumb that if my symptoms are just above the head (so runny nose, sore throat or sneezing) it’s still okay for moderate to gentle exercise. Take it easier than normal and do nothing that’s going to be too tiring. Personally, I find it hard to take a step back and not go to the gym or run but sometimes you just have to learn to listen to your body and rest up when needed.

If I can feel a cold coming on, but the symptoms aren’t too bad I will just start with some gentle exercise, see how I feel after ten minutes and then either stop or keep going depending on how I feel. If you aren’t too sick and do the right exercise it can actually help your immune system. So if you do just have a common cold and feel like you could do some form of exercise then do just, just far easier than normal.

However, there are some definite signs and symptoms of when you should avoid any type of exercise (usually ‘below the neck’ symptoms): – High temperature – Achy muscles (not your usual post-workout type of aches) – Chesty cough – Swollen glands – Vomiting – Diarrhea

If you display any forms of those symptoms, then you need to rest. It’s more important to give yourself the time to heal, sleep and stay hydrated. There is no point pushing yourself to only make yourself worse. It’s also important that when you are sick that you don’t spread your germs to those around you (you wouldn’t want them to do it to you).

Once you have got over the worst of your symptoms and want to get back into your routine, always make sure you start with an easier workout to make sure you are fully over whatever you had. Going too hard too quickly can sometimes lead to a reoccurrence of your symptoms.

Unfortunately getting sick is a part of life and we can’t be super human all the time. I generally know when I get sick (which isn’t often at all nowadays), it’s my body’s way of telling me I need to listen and slow down a little bit.

Remember it’s okay to put your feet up sometimes and let your body heal. It is better to have a couple of days off to fight off an illness instead of battling through regardless and missing a month when you make it worse. Be sensible.

I’m also not a medical expert by any means so I always advise to seek professional medical advice when you really are unsure or symptoms persist.

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

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Motivation to Move

Motivation is one of those things that we can all do with a little more of at different stages in our lives. As you know, exercise can be just what you need to get your mind stimulated and your body energised. Yet every now and then we need a little motivation to get us up and get started.

Here are my top tips for finding that motivation to get yourself moving:

 Know your ‘why?’ – What is your real reason for wanting to exercise? Work out exactly why you are doing this and write it down….everywhere!! Pin it to the fridge, write it in your phone, put it on your desk, even in your car. Whenever you feel that you can’t be bothered, remind yourself of why you are doing this and what it will mean once you achieve your goal.

 Make a play list – Music is a fantastic way to keep you motivated. You can adjust it to suit your mood or the pace of the workout you are doing. Opting for music with a good beat can really help to motivate you to keep going and stay on track.

 Find an exercise buddy – Having other people to exercise with can be just what you need to get you up and motivated. Exercise buddies, whether a friend or Personal Trainer, can not only make the experience more enjoyable, they also help keep you accountable for sticking to your plans.

Use different locations – I like to try running different routes and outdoor places to work out because it keeps it fresh and interesting, plus I get to explore some of the beautiful places in my area. So take yourself over the fields, try different parks and explore different routes to keep it interesting.

 Mix it up – Your body will slowly become conditioned to specific exercises and routines, and you will find you reach a plateau as the challenge is reduced. So keep mixing it up, rotating the areas of the body you are working on and adding new and more challenging exercises. Don’t be afraid to try something new and different.

And remember, always keep in mind your own personal goals as you work towards them. You are capable of achieving anything you set your mind to and the hard work is definitely worth it.

 

 

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

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How to Increase Your Long Run

Whether you are training for a marathon, half marathon or just wanting to run further or faster, you will usually be doing a long run each week. This long run may be 6 miles, it may be 24 miles, it is all relative to your experience and your goals.

As you progress, your long run will get further and possibly faster, but to do this you need to follow certain rules to help you reduce the risk of injury, illness and fatigue.

Here are a few of my tips to help you run longer:

Slow down

If you run your long run at the same pace as your 5k you are heading for trouble. To run further you need to slow your pace. When building distance your pace should feel comfortable and you should be able to hold a conversation (or sing to yourself if you are alone). A good rule is to add 20-25% on to your normal pace. For example, if you are aiming to race at 8 min/mile pace your long run should be around 9.40-10.00 pace.

Add miles gradually

To reduce your risk of injuries, increase your long run by no more than 1 mile at a time up to 10 miles, 1.5 miles between 10 and 15 miles and 2 miles once you get over 15 miles. 1 mile per week is probably the most sensible option. If you think that most marathon training plans run for 13 weeks before the taper, this means you can increase your long runs by at least 13 miles over the course of the plan. No need to panic then.

Pick a day

Make sure that you pick a day of the week where you are not pushed for time. Remember you are running slower than usual so you don’t want to be clock-watching about getting home.

Have cutback weeks

Every 3-4 weeks make sure that you do a shorter long run. The more you increase your distance, the more fatigue you will accumulate in your legs. By running a shorter long run every 3-4 weeks helps to reduce the fatigue and helps to avoid overtraining. My general rule would be to cut back your long run by 25-30% every 3-4 weeks. For example, if you run 12, 13, 14 miles in consecutive weeks, your cutback long run should be around 10 miles.

Walk if you have to

When you are first starting to increase distance you may get times when you just have to walk. Try not to, as this will help you mentally when it comes to a race, but if you do have to then walk until you feel ready to run again. This run/walk method can also be used if you are looking to spend more ‘time on feet’ if you are looking to complete an ultra-event.

Keep yourself fuelled

On runs longer than 90 minutes make sure you have something you can carry that is rich in carbohydrates and electrolytes. These can be energy drinks, gels or sugary sweets such as jelly babies. There are hundreds of different products on the market so you will need to experiment what works for you as some can upset your stomach due to the high sugar content. To keep your energy level consistent, start fuelling about 60 minutes into your run and refuel again every 30 minutes.

Break it down

By breaking the long run into smaller manageable chunks makes it less intimidating. Whether you break it down into times segments, or by distance, it will become mentally easier and less stressful.

Be patient

Building endurance takes time. Be sensible, be patient and reap the benefits.

 

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

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Call me on 07815 044521 or email me at martinhulbertpt@gmail.com

How to Reduce Your Soft Drink Intake

Soft drinks are very popular with a lot of the population and they are often cheaper than a bottle of water.

Regular consumption of sugary soft drinks has been associated with higher risks of developing diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, gout and obesity. Sounds scary? It is! The simple reason behind this is the amount of calories contained in many of these drinks. There are approximately 140 calories in a regular can of Coca Cola, and this is pretty similar with other brands as well. So by drinking 3 cans a day will add over 400 calories to your daily intake. Do this every day for a week and you could be increasing your weight by almost one pound. Doing this every day for a year could mean your weight increasing by around 3.5 stone. Now that is scary; just from 3 cans of sugary drinks per day.

Now turn that around; if you are currently drinking 3 cans of sugary drinks per day, think of the weight you could lose by cutting them out. Now you won’t lose 3.5 stone as your body will get used to not having them, but they are easy calories to cut out and will make a big difference to any weight loss programme.

 

What about the sugar-free alternatives; they must be better surely? They do not contain sugar and so most are calorie-free, however, they do include artificial sweeteners to make up for the lack of sugar. As they are generally calorie-free most people will drink more than they would usually consume of the full-sugar versions. By drinking more of these it is possible for you to become addicted to the sweeteners in the same way you would to the sugar in the full-calorie versions.

Now although I couldn’t find any evidence to prove long-term health risks, there have been studies completed that have linked ‘diet’ soft drinks with tooth decay, osteoporsis, heart disease and depression. Still not good news then!

Now, as with everything I advocate, it is probably not going to be sustainable to ‘never have another, ever!’. Consuming both full-calorie or diet versions of drinks occasionally is not going to cause any major health or weight issues. It is the regular and over consumption of these that are the issue.

 

Here are my top tips to reduce your consumption of soft drinks.

Don’t buy them – This is probably the easiest way to reduce consumption. If you don’t put them in your shopping trolley you are less likely to go out to the shops just to buy a can. Remember, ‘out of sight, out of mind’

Know your triggers – Do you drink soft drinks only at certain times of the day or at certain places? By identifying these triggers, you are more likely to find strategies to deal with them.

 Take it slow – In an ideal world we wouldn’t consume any of these drinks. However, we don’t live in the real world and for any changes to be sustainable start by reducing your intake by half. Then next week reduce it by half again. Soon you will find you are not having them every day and your habit is broken. You will then find it easier to reduce consumption even further if needed.

Make a healthy swap – We all need fluids to survive so if you are reducing your intake of soft drinks you need to replace them with something. You can try to swap the soft drink for a healthy alternative, such as water. If you don’t like the taste of water (as my wife doesn’t), you can add a slice of lemon, lime or orange for taste. Carbonated water with a slice of real fruit can also trick the brain into thinking it is having that can of soft drink.

Have a cup of tea – If you want more flavour than plain water, why not try to replace your soft drink with tea? Herbal, green and white teas have got numerous health benefits and are usually much better for you than the soft drinks.

 

Remind yourself – Always remember why you are doing this. Is it to:

Enhance your health?

Lose weight?

Reduce your intake of caffeine (contained in most cola related drinks)?

Reduce your intake of artificial sweeteners?

Save money?

 

Whatever your reason, remember it and keep it in mind when you buy your shopping.

If swapping to tea or water doesn’t make you crave the soft drink less, remind yourself why you are quitting soda. Is it:

– To enhance your health?

– To reduce your intake of artificial sweeteners?

– To reduce your intake of phosphoric acid?

– To reduce your intake of caffeine?

– To save money?

Whatever reason you may have, you know you will feel better for it!

 

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