Winter Training Motivation

Winter Training Motivation

There is no doubt about it, it’s cold. The ice on my car windscreen says so. How is it possible to stay motivated for your fitness journey during the cold, dark and wet winter months? Let’s look at the problems we face with winter motivation and discuss some ways to keep going even when the odds seem stacked against us.

Why is winter training so tough?

Not only is it cold but for the full-time worker we seem to be living in eternal darkness. Out come the layers, the lights and the vitamin D and the summer bike moves onto the turbo for the indefinite future. Also, is it just me, or does getting ready to anything take twice as long in the long winter months?

I like to think of myself as a mentally strong girl. However, I do in fact seem to struggle with winter motivation more than I would like. I was having a particularly rough patch last year. Then, one of my friends reminded me I am, in fact not a superhuman. Like everyone else my body needs rest.

I am guilty of viewing myself as different to much of the population. This perhaps, a result of my obsessive nature and desire to be the best I can be. I often push myself too far, and in one circumstance to breaking point. It’s only in the last year that I have begun to decipher between being lazy and my body calling out for a rest. One of the most valuable life lessons I have learned.

What’s your why?

I recently wrote an article for my blog about my ‘why’. For me it is crucial in terms of motivation. If you are not working towards something it can be very easy to fall out of love with what you are doing. This results in feeling lost and a struggle for motivation. So, ask yourself; why do I do what I do? You might surprise yourself. Once you have answered the ‘why’ question, look at what is stopping you putting the training in. Now I am not talking in terms of work or family commitments, but mentally, why are you holding yourself back?

Forming the habit

I have had a number of people ask me how I manage to drag myself out of bed for a 6:30 swim or run. Well it’s because I have made it a habit, it’s part of my daily routine, and you might say I would feel lost without it. The alarm goes off, I get up and I get on with it, knowing that I will always feel better for having done the session. The winter months are all about building strength to be enjoyed and used in the summer months. Don’t get me wrong, very occasionally there will be a day where I choose to sleep instead, but this goes back to my previous comment about deciphering between being lazy and my body calling out for a rest.
I often find the hardest bit of a session is getting out of the door, so if you get that far you are 60% there.

Manipulating the mind

I often find myself picturing a time I felt particularly strong, for example running along the red carpet at the Ironman Wales finish line. I use this to drive myself forwards, because if you have done it before, you can do it again. Retaining a strong and positive mindset is crucial to training and racing, and if you can’t seem to do so the issue might be bigger than you think. I also find having a mantra really helps, mine is:  ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’

If you really find yourself in a hole, it might be time to look at your life as a whole. Something might be out of kilter and need addressing. be it work, family, or social life. If something is stressful and drawing on your energy, it will have an impact on the rest of your life too.

If you have any other top tips, feel free to comment below.

Be TrueSapien. Reject Mediocrity.

Thanks for reading and be sure to head over to my blog page!

Pocket Rocket Rach

Running Progress. A Perspective on PBs

Running Progress. A Perspective on PBs

What is progress anyway? I’ve been thinking a lot about the notion of ‘progression’ recently, but have I been judging progression based on the wrong criteria?

Runner’s Definition of ‘Progress’

Without getting too technical, ‘progress’ is defined as ‘forward or onward movement towards a destination’. As runners we tend to add an extra clause onto that, though: ‘forward or onward movement towards a destination, that is a PB, that I put a lot of effort into’.

I got faster quickly when I first started thinking about, and applying, structured training for running. To begin with, PBs were all I cared about. But then, as tends to be the case with these things, the initial ‘progression’ slows. At that point you have to evaluate why it is that you’re doing something: to validate yourself, or for something more than that?

A Deeper Purpose

Now when people ask me about running I answer pretty differently. I avoid talking about my PBs. Some of you may have noticed that I have removed them from my bio on Instagram. Not because I think people should remove them. I follow some based on times because I want to learn how to train like them to achieve something. But because they weren’t serving the purpose I initially intended them to. They had become a bragging-right. Something that I think can be really toxic. If someone asks me about a PB for a certain distance, I’ll answer, because the chances are they’re trying to work out if we could train together or learn from each other. But I won’t offer it out voluntarily.

A Host Of Benefits

When people ask me about running I tell them about what running has brought to my life in the last six months. I think it’s pertinent to list them here:

  • I’ve met more like minded people, who I can talk to about running and so much more, since July than I have in the last five years.
  • My confidence has accelerated incredibly and now instead of being the person at the party who hides in the kitchen and talks to the same people, I actively attempt to talk to new people (even if sometimes I end up with major foot-in-mouth syndrome).
  • I’ve learnt the importance of investing time into something. Academically I knew how to do this, but my university education didn’t provide the tools as to how this would translate into real life. Hard work can be just that – hard, but ultimately worth it.
  • I say ‘yes’ to almost anything. People laugh as I never ask questions, but running has stoked the fire in me that craves newness and wonder and adventure. The more I can experience, the happier I am. So if you ever need anyone around for the ride, I’m your girl.

 

Progress Depends On Your Objectives

The list goes on. But the point I’m trying to make is that ‘progress’ is what you make it. If you just rely on ‘progress’ equating to PBs, then you’re setting yourself up to fail. All the above (and more) add up to the bumpy ride of life. If we really want to get technical, then I don’t even think ‘progress’ is the right way to look at it. It’s a value-laden term that suggests we should always be trying to better ourselves in some way. It suggests that we can’t be happy with how we are, and means we are always looking towards the future.

So one thing I would suggest is trying to forget the word ‘progress’. Focus on the present, feel the moment, and if you want to keep an eye to the future, then great. But don’t wish your life away. Enjoy the moment. The good runs. The bad runs. The PBs. The foam rolling. And I have a hunch that if you do that, you might notice that the future looks a lot brighter than it did before.

Be TrueSapien. Challenge Life.

For more from me, please visit my blog page!

Health and Fitness – Unique Journeys and Comparisons

Health and Fitness – Unique Journeys and Comparisons

That someone has taken the step to BEGIN or Recommence their fitness and health journey is what counts. Not where they are on that journey.

We Are Unique

Those embarking on this journey do so at a different time, under different circumstances. In different ways and with different aims. Everyone will progress along their journey at different rates dependent on countless factors.

So why would we choose to measure ourselves against someone else? It is meaningless because who are we to judge someone else’s journey? Theirs is unique to them, and about which we may know very little.

Pointless Comparisons

Yes, we can all finish a race and look at those around us. Who finished first? Who lagged behind? And Who was that guy you overtook who looked really fast, but was panting hard on the brink of collapse. And so on…

These thoughts are all very well, and analysis of others is only natural. Indeed, by considering the performance of others, we can sometimes identify why someone performed strongly or otherwise. There may be something we can learn from their training or racing, in order to better ourselves.

But what this analysis of others should NOT lead to are thoughts like, ‘I’m better than him or she’s better than me.’ Such thoughts are as misguided as they are superficial. Feeling ‘above’ those at the back of the field? Being spellbound by the front runner?

NO!!!

A Look In The Mirror

Remember, we are all at a different point in different journeys, with different goals. Respect that fact. Because comparison only serves to demean our personal ambitions and the route we’ve taken to reach them.

The only person with whom you should compare yourself is the younger you. Have you improved your younger self? Or if age is against you, are you succeeding in holding back the years? Look in the mirror before looking around you.

Did you run YOUR best race? Are you doing what you need to do to improve YOU and get where YOU want to be?

Be TrueSapien. Challenge Life.

For more of my thoughts on Lifestyle, Health and Fitness please visit my blog page.

Challenge Life – A Lifestyle Choice

Challenge Life – A Lifestyle Choice

What does being ‘TrueSapien’ and living a ‘Challenging Life’ mean to me?
It’s more than just about aiming to be a little fitter. It’s more than intermittently participating in events and then sitting back admiring my achievement. And more than sporadically attending the local fitness class or gym in attempt to attain short term and short lived gains.

A Lifestyle Choice

The way I choose to live my life can only be described as a deliberate and significant lifestyle choice. I completed my first Ironman, Ironman Wales, in September this year. It was a tough but thoroughly enjoyed experience BECAUSE it was a way to TEST my chosen lifestyle. I have heard of several people that complete their first IRONMAN with insufficient training. Then they claim it is the hardest thing they have ever done, and announce that they will never be doing another. Shying away from the challenge rather than facing it heads on.

Born To Push Limits

My reply to these people is we, as humans, are born to push ourselves to new limits. There is something demotivating about accepting average, yet so many choose it. The TrueSapien ethos draws from the roots of evolution, which we as humans have evidently lost over the years. No longer do we have to fight for survival, in turn many people being content with inactivity and idleness.
There is something discordant with how we are glued to our phones, opting for a message over an in-person conversation. We are born to interact, with a need for others to keep us sane. Materialistic posessions only keep us happy short term. This is reflected in the waste we produce and the upsetting, yet dominant reliance on short life technology.

Wide Reaching Implications

The ever-growing population inevitably leads to further demands. At what stage do the resources start to run out? Is this the point when we will inevitably have to return to our roots and fight for our place in the world? There seems a reliance on needing the approval of others to feel ‘happy.’ A strong desire to be just like everyone else. I disagree with this, and will always remain true to who I am. The bright vibrant girl with the curly hair, and never-ending energy.

Environmental Issues

One particular infuriation of mine is the significant levels of food waste, including packaging we create. A reliance on foods that we can’t grow in our own country has led to the roads being full of large vehicles. This not only contributes to global environmental problems, but also ruining much of the beautiful countryside. Even worse, in the next year, the new HS2 network will be built on the fields around the back of my house. Further destruction of wide open land that we’d been blessed with.

The Real Competition

For me the path of least resistance is not the most rewarding and as a result not the one I chose. Other people motivate me, but do not see them as my competition. The only real competition is your past self. Desire to improve must to come from within, else it is not only unsustainable, but not enjoyable.

A Duty To Inspire

My dad has shared many stories of hardship that he had to endure growing up. This made him the strong minded human he is and led to the engraining of many significant values. My siblings and I were, in turn, passed these values. Pushing boundaries is something that can be done in every walk of life, not only sport, but in education, work and in one’s social life. I analyse the human population, and I see signs of devolving, our mental health not improving, but getting worse, and our resilience to much of life’s challenges bordering on non-existent.

 

 

 

I look at myself as a role model for others. I believe, the seemingly impossible, with the right mindset and determination, is in fact possible. In the words of TrueSapien ‘to fearlessly, passionately and grittily inspire an encourage others to unleash their own TRUESAPIEN!’

If you’ve liked what you’ve read and want to learn more about me please check out my blog Pocket Rocket Rach!

‘The Secret’ To Being Fit And Healthy

‘The Secret’ To Being Fit And Healthy

Is there a ‘secret’ to being fit and healthy?

Being TrueSapien is as much about challenging attitudes and beliefs as it is to be challenging ourselves physically. After all, the former is usually the catalyst to the latter, right? There is no right or wrong, only opinion based on your own core beliefs. What is important, in fact CRUCIAL, in enabling you to live your best life and setting a worthwhile example, is that you QUESTION YOUR BELIEFS, make them YOUR OWN, not just INHERIT them.

In the coming months, we will be featuring insights from TrueSapien and runner James Wilson on the above as additional food for thought. You can find out more on James’s fitness journey and the accompanying ideas and insights on his own site HuntingThirty.
In this first instalment from James, he gives us his insight into… ‘The Secret’ behind being fit and healthy….

A duty

You have a duty to be fit and healthy. Moreover, you have a duty to STAY fit and healthy.

This duty is:
1) to yourself – give yourself the best prospect of a long and vibrant life, free from ailments;
2) to your family – ensure you can ‘be there’ for them, and reduce the chances of becoming a burden (which would unfairly diminish their quality of life);
3) to the state – lessen the chance of being admitted to hospital or reliance upon health services, to minimise financial implications for taxpayers and the state.

Seeing through the myths

Many people talk of how you can get fit, stay fit or what training plans really work. They talk of how you can lose ‘weight’, keep it off, and what diets really work and an abundance of idle chit-chat about ‘miracle plans’, ‘miracle diets’, ‘miracle solutions’ and so on.

You could do worse than ignore this talk if you are a beginner who wants to improve their health and fitness, and fulfil their duty. That’s because all this talk is superseded by a goal that must be reached if someone is truly serious about changing forever.

What is the goal and ‘The Secret?’

Simply put, the easiest way for you to get fit and STAY fit, is to become DEPENDENT on exercise. Just as a compulsive gambler can’t resist a wager. Just as an alcoholic becomes desperate for a drink. If you exercise consistently enough, you too will acquire a DEPENDENCY. But it will be a healthy dependency. Once you stick at it long enough, and your body and mind begin to understand the numerous benefits associated with regular exercise. You will become DEPENDENT on it to make you feel good and keep you feeling good.

A positive cycle

When you exercise, endorphins are released in your body which reduce pain, ease stress and boost feelings of positivity. Don’t fret about staying motivated. You only need to stay motivated long enough to acquire the dependency. After that, motivation will not be unnecessary, because you will be hooked.

It won’t take long before your body and mind actually NEED exercise. And when you feed that addiction, you will indeed ENJOY the experience of exercising. From that point onwards, you will be the person you wanted to be, and you will begin to challenge yourself further. You will have to try very hard to break your new-found dependency and return to your old sedentary lifestyle. But why would you want to go and do that?

Be TrueSapien. Challenge Life.

5 ways to sort out your stuff

5 ways to sort out your stuff

I’m a hoarder, a hoarder of stuff. It has pissed off my my parents, it currently pisses off my wife-to-be and it’s starting to piss me off! With space dwindling in my home it’s time to get rid of the unnecessary. I’m not alien to this task, I’ve had a “clear out” man of times. Each time I do I find many reasons to keep shit I probably don’t need. I mean, I don’t need them for sure but they could be useful in the future. There’s that or I just like the item or think it’s a waste to throw out. However, if I want my forthcoming wedding to go ahead then I need to do something to reduce hard earned goods…or as my parents say “clutter”, or my fiancé calls “shit”.

hoarding stuff

As said, II have been here before. So I can’t just go through each piece of clothing, cable or accessory as I know what will happen. I’ll find more excuses. This go me thinking though. Actually, the TrueSapien philosophy got me thinking – what is it I really need? I’m not becoming a minimalist, as I can’t work miracles. It’s not about that either. It’s about letting go of the old and it’s about working towards a new. So what is it in my possessions that I really want and need?

5 categories of stuff

Essentially everything we have falls in to 5 categories:

  • Everyday living – clothes, kitchenware, consumables etc…
  • Everyday maintenance – white goods, cleaning, DIY & gardening tools etc…
  • Productivity & Efficiency – electronic devices, work materials, vehicles, storage & bags etc…
  • Entertainment – electronic devices, creative materials, toys/games, trinkets, art/pictures etc…
  • Essentials – (some) furniture, first aid and medical devices etc…

Firstly, I know I have missed out some things here but they should fit into somewhere (please let me know if you feel a bucket is missing). Secondly, some items are cross purpose and fit in many buckets. For instance; a mobile phone these days is both entertainment and a device for productivity. With technology evolving some people will use it as an essential medical device, e.g. for monitoring their pace maker. But everything we own, or at least everything I own fits in a bucket. If it doesn’t then why have I got it?!

…even for a nomad (or hiker)!

All of this stuff can amount to a lot or a little. Even a nights hike into the wilderness will see us pack a few items from each category. For example, we might at least want:

  • Everyday living – clothes suitable for the climate
  • Everyday maintenance – equipment to rustle-up some food
  • Productivity & Efficiency – mobile phone or maps for guidance and info
  • Entertainment – the mobile phone doubling up for an array of entertainment
  • Essentials – first aid kit and a tent

But my house is packed with this stuff. If we can get by in the outdoors with nothing but a backpack. I am pretty sure I can really reduce what I have in my house.

hike

A first world problem?

Maybe I’m an extreme example. As said, I’m somewhat of a hoarder. But are we not all guilty to some degree in the first world of having too much? I’m not calling out to rid people of their prize possessions. I’ve no interest in scapegoating those of us lucky enough to have the opportunity and ability to acquire clothes, devices or any item that helps us out or just puts a smile on our face. But it does seem we rely on that very buzz for happiness.

first world problems

We don’t take anything with us when we die. We use this stuff when we are here on planet earth. If we use it or if we love it then by all means acquire it. We aren’t bad people for being the privileged few who are first world tenants. But if we base our happiness on what we have, or we hold on to stuff because what might be then something has gone wrong.

A Purposeful Life

Being TrueSapien is to live a purposeful life. A purposeful life is to surround oneself with purposeful stuff. Whether it is to get us through each day, help us get things done, is something that makes us smile or is essential to our wellbeing. Our stuff should have a purpose.

So that’s my plan. Figure out it’s purpose. No maybes or loosely held attachments that only came about when I picked up the item for the first time in 3 years. Have a plan. I’m sure it won’t be the last of my clean outs, but I’m sure it will be the best one yet.

Stay Green

One more important note to self. Recycle, pass on and buy fairly. This world is damn important. I need to remember that!

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