Who’s Running Scared?

Who’s Running Scared?

Are our streets a safe place to run or are you literally running scared? The onset of Autumn/Winter and the dark morning and evenings that accompany it introduces to some of us a most unwelcome barrier to our running plans.

What is the problem?

TrueSapien and ‘ExploreRunner’ Tim Caldwell addresses this issue and how fear of running in the dark may be overcome.

As a man, I don’t feel like I have to deal with anywhere near the same number of barriers that women face in today’s society when it comes to going out for a run. No-one seems to care what I wear, how I look, or that I am indeed exercising in public. No, I’m not looking for sympathy! I don’t go out feeling like I might be followed, cat-called, sneered at, spat at (yes, a running club member reported this!) or ridiculed for running. I also don’t worry that the clothes I’m running in might provoke verbal abuse. All of the above have been highlighted by women as having had an impact on their decision to run or experience of running.

How real is the threat?

Like every runner since the film came out, I’ve had the really original ‘Run Forrest, Run!’ shouted after me, but I tend to just take it as a sign I must be running at a good pace for the comment. My eternal optimism does have its good points!

For many of my fellow runners, often women, the possible environment and atmosphere is far starker. Every ‘blackspot’ between street lighting is a potential place for people to lurk. That person who crosses the road is a potential danger to be aware of. The cul-de-sac or other street leading to a dead-end is a big ‘no-no’ when running alone as a female.

The abuse I’ve heard reported by female runners from the general public, both men and women is sickening. I just don’t get it. Women who run are probably doing it for many of the same reasons I do: to maintain or improve fitness, for enjoyment and some ‘me’ time, to discover new places, to lose or maintain a healthy weight, to burn off the anger/frustration/problems of the day. Where is the respect for people aiming to lead a healthy life? I’m sure it comes down to jealousy, idiocy or ignorance. I find it deeply troubling in modern society, when we have so many ways to be informed citizens, that intimidatory practices such as cat-calling, shouting abuse, ridiculing people who exercise, or following runners is even a ‘thing’ that some people think it OK to do.

What can be done?

Changing the attitudes of the masses is highly unlikely in the short term. Whether out of jealousy, ignorance, sexism or a combination of all plus countless other undesirable attributes, it’s something that isn’t going away. We have to tolerate it and deal with it in order to pursue the way of life we have chosen.

Tim gathered some feedback and suggestions from friends and acquaintances on how to best deal with the dangers:

Headtorches

One of the major ways in which you can stay safe and be seen in the dark is by wearing a headtorch. Brighter the better! Anyone you’re running towards won’t have a clue what you look like. For people who may harbour an opportunistic threat, not knowing if you’re male or female may well be enough to put them off from trying anything.

Appropriate Clothing

If you’re female then more neutral colours are best. Why shouldn’t you wear what you like?! I agree with you – it is a sad state of affairs but one that needs exploring. If you’re wearing pink (and by the way, pink truly is one of my favourite colours), then an opportunistic low-life is likely to assert that you are highly likely to be female…

Trackable Technology

iPhone’s ‘find friends’ and Garmins ‘LiveTrack’ are invaluable and can give the user and your loved one’s additional peace of mind.

Run with a friend

Not always possible and sometimes defeats the object of the ‘alone time’ benefit so appealing to many.

Sensible location

Try to stick to busier, populated, well-lit areas to limit the opportunity for people to act in a disgusting manner towards you.

Time specific

This is one I particularly struggle with. Sticking to an amount of time which you agree in advance with your loved ones at home. ‘I’ll be home in an hour!’ I’ve been known to say, coming back maybe two hours later. However, this could well be useful for you to try.

Change your route

One of the things that opportunists might use against us happens to be one of our strengths – our discipline. We also tend to be creatures of habit, adopting and following the same well-worn path(s) on certain morning or night-time runs, or heading out at the same time on the same nights. Change things up a bit, become less predictable and as such, the likelihood of you suffering any issues will decrease too.

Ignore abuse

This one can be so difficult, but being in control of your emotions, channelling them into your running and looking where you’re going is so important. Horrible comments, shouting and swearing are incredibly upsetting and it is during these moments that you need to stay strong and focus on your running. Avoid the temptation to rise to the bait, knowing you can vent later in a safe environment of family and friends. As hard as it is, don’t let it get to you. Some people reported having people run alongside them. This can be so dangerous, particularly for the abuser, as they would tend not to be looking where they’re going. If this happens to you, my advice would be to ensure you keep looking straight ahead, avoiding eye contact and ensuring you can see where you’re going. In this situation, your safety is paramount.

Report it

Abuse like this will continue and increase unless it is challenged. The more that this is reported, talked about and publicised, the more society will understand and appreciate just how unacceptable it is. Tell the police, inform your running club or your family. Building a picture of what is happening could be valuable in enabling action to prevent abuse.

Education

The people who think it’s OK to hurl abuse at runners, mock them by running alongside them, shout from car windows, follow and intimidate, sadly are people who have families. They are known, they have friends, brothers, sisters, parents, children, just like the rest of us. If you know people who think this kind of behaviour is ‘funny’ or ‘a bit of a laugh,’ it’s really up to you to stand up to them and educate them. Schools already do so much to attempt to instil a degree of respect for others, so this education is more about society as a whole.

Flexibility (know your environment)

If something doesn’t seem right and you are able to do so safely, cross the road, turn around or take a different turning. It’s better to avoid a potential situation if you feel an instinct about it, than to regret having acted later.

Thanks to Tim Caldwell for such an informative post on a topical and sensitive issue. To read more from Tim, head over to his blog at Tim’s Running World.

Don’t Run Scared! Be TrueSapien Challenge Life!

The Resentment Of The Lazy Majority

The Resentment Of The Lazy Majority

Most of the human race are lazy. Fact. Most of the human race are motivated by shallow, materialistic and meaningless goals. Sad fact. They don’t examine or question it because they gain a strange and distorted comfort belonging to the MAJORITY. They resent those that challenge this way of ‘life’ because they represent a more desirable version of themselves.

The Ride

It was about 7:30 am and I was nearing the end of an enjoyable early morning, pre-work bike ride. Something I’d do a couple of mornings a week. Roads had been fairly quiet as I generally avoid busy urban streets for such rides. It was a familiar route for me. As regular cyclists will know, routes you cycle regularly consist of favourable roads and not so favourable, depending on factors such as visibility, width, business (vehicles), scenery and road surface.

The Incident

I hit one of my favoured roads. It was wide, very flat and the surface was beautifully smooth and not one usually travelled by large commercial vehicles. I could comfortably travel at 23-25mph on this road, and car drivers, if feeling the need to do so, could easily overtake even with oncoming traffic.
After only 20 or 30 seconds my enjoyment was abruptly halted with two long, deafening blasts of a powerful air horn. WHAT THE FUCK! Despite nearly shitting my bib shorts, I managed to steady myself and glance over my right shoulder. A cab of an articulated vehicle was literally feet behind me attempting to overtake. I pulled over onto the pavement, fearing for my own safety to see the driver leaning across to his passenger window shouting, “YOU COULD FUCKING PULL OVER!”, followed by more blasts on the horn.

The Reaction

To say I was outraged would have been an understatement. I must have looked pretty fucking ridiculous in my lycra, shouting obscenities at an artic, challenging the driver to a fight on the pavement to settle the matter. Fortunately the driver continued on his way. Either he was in too much of a hurry, had deafened himself as well as me with his fucking air horn or, more likely, was an out of shape, lazy asshole that was nothing once of outside the safety that his vehicle gave him.

On Reflection

I was a bit ashamed of my reaction. I was angry. As I contemplated on the remainder of my ride, it wasn’t anger for my own safety. It was anger borne of frustration. For me, the behaviour of the trucker embodied so much of what is bad about our society. To him, I was a hindrance. A nobody. A faceless prick on a bike getting in his way and holding him up from his date with weak coffee and full English breakfast buttie at the next roadside café. I wasn’t a Father, a provider to four young children. A fellow human being, with many of the same challenges in life as him. Someone that would treat him as I’d want to be treated myself.

The Real Problem

Or maybe that was the problem. Maybe I represented what laziness or ignorance prevent him from becoming. His rage was incited by the fact I was doing what he knew he should be doing. I was in his face, making him confront his ‘nemesis’.
We can’t make people see that there is a better way, that there are meaningful goals and aspirations in life. Some will be inspired to change. Others will, over time. Others won’t because their attitude and beliefs are so deep seated.

The Answer

So what is the answer? There is only one. Continue to set and lead by example to those we can influence. Those closest to us. Make questioning life and challenging ourselves a way of life, so that it may become their way too. Be TrueSapien. Challenge Life.

How To Survive An Ultra Marathon

How To Survive An Ultra Marathon

What is an Ultra Marathon? Even non runners will be familiar with the term Marathon but what makes a Marathon ‘Ultra’? How does it differ from a standard Marathon and what does it take to complete one?

Basically an Ultra Marathon is any race that is longer than a Marathon (26.2 miles). Some are several hundred miles long but most are in the region of 30-50 miles. Often off road or ‘trail’ based, popularity in these events has soared as they represent a further and enhanced challenge for se that have completed a standard Marathon.
Here, TrueSapien and ‘Explorunner’ Tim Caldwell kindly shares his experiences and insights gained from his first Ultra Marathon, a 50KM version of The NoMad Ultra earlier this year. Tim, a teacher by profession and a dedicated Father is a keen and avid runner and explorer (Explorunner!). He’s also deeply passionate about encouraging others to be active and to appreciate the great outdoors.

The ‘Ultra’ Challenge

Tim is a regular parkrunner and proud member of Long Eaton Running Club. He had previously participated in events from 5km up to the standard Marathon distance before committing to the NoMad Ultra Marathon that took place in June 2018. What additional challenges would this event pose?
“I felt fairly confident that my legs could take me to the finish line, as I had run over 50k in a test-run a couple of weeks beforehand, made up of a parkrun at Belton House and then an attempt to run home from there (70km away)” said Tim.

Navigation

“What I was less confident about was my ability to run/walk and navigate myself along the course, whilst remembering to feed and water myself appropriately along the way”.
Many Ultra Marathons aren’t fully marshalled, due partly to their distance and most aren’t on city streets like most Marathons. The additional requirement of good navigation certainly adds to the challenge! “After just 2 kilometres, a fellow Long Eaton RC runner and I had to shout towards the speedier starters as they’d already got lost, running away from the route and effectively about to join the path we were supposed to be running away from! Inside, I felt sorry for these runners, but also slightly smug that I hadn’t (yet!) got lost”.

The mental challenge

Due to the heat and terrain, even reaching the marathon equivalent distance of 42.2 km had been far more of a challenge to Tim than the Marathon he’d run only two months earlier. But Tim still had nearly 10km left to go….
“It was only the fourth time I’d travelled this far in one go, so it was no mean feat. What makes me smile now looking back, is that at this point, my mind was now going, ‘Great! You’ve probably only got 10k left now after you got lost and you can easily run 10k in 40 minutes, so a sub 5 hour time is still on!’ Yes, brain, thanks for that. Your optimism delights the sh*t out of me. However, brain, let’s get this straight. I’ve ALREADY run 4 lots of 10k, plus a bit more, and right now, I just want to finish.”

Beyond the Marathon

So how did the additional distance to his recently accomplished Marathon affect Tim and how did he cope? How much more difficult can 10k be??
Tim recalls “As I continued with those last 10 kilometres, it took sheer determination and a monumental effort to keep putting one foot in front of the other. My thighs were aching, almost feeling like they were detached from my bones and ready to fall off, onto the road. I was grunting like a warthog and it was getting warmer with every step.”Why is this the case? On the face of it an additional 10k should be fairly straightforward right? Wrong. Being an academic guy, Tim has this helpful theory for explaining the ‘actual required’ effort to cover this additional distance. “A 50k Ultra marathon is actually equivalent to 42.2km PLUS another 40km (i.e. 8 actual kms multiplied by 5 because that’s how it FEELS to your body). So in effect, you’re running 82.2km. Train for that and you’ll be about good to go and enjoy your 50k Ultra marathon!”

Other lessons learned

As well as this re-evaluation of the required distance for which to train, Tim also learned other valuable lessons. Regular calorie intake is essential to keep your body and your mind from shutting down. “The pink and white nougat bars that I’d brought with me were sensational. I’ve never enjoyed these more and I scoffed an entire one as I walked through a golf course on the route.” Another valuable lesson learned was that of effective hydration. At one point, inside the final 10km he realised he’d entirely run out of water! At that stage, due to the hot conditions, almost constant water intake is necessary. He’d failed to fully replenish his supplies at the last checkpoint! “I felt I had plenty left, so I’d just topped up conservatively. I won’t make that mistake again!”

Post race reflection

By their very nature, a true challenge should leave a permanent mark on you and improve you considerably as a person and be capable of inspiring others to emulate your achievement. What were Tim’s post-race reflections?
“I really challenged myself with this Ultra marathon race. I learned a lot from the process of training for it, getting and testing the right kit, talking to people, reccying the route, navigating using a range of different sources and seeing what I’m made of both physically and mentally. While I was disappointed with my finish time of 5:36, the fact that I’d finished it without anywhere near as many rests as in my training run was a big positive. I’d run further in one day than I ever have before and other than one navigational issue, everything else had gone really well.”

For a full account of Tims first Ultra Marathon and many other interesting running related posts please visit his blog page timsrunningworld.com

Be TrueSapien. Challenge Life.

Where is the ACCOUNTABILITY?

Where is the ACCOUNTABILITY?

Accountability is a personality trait that is fast becoming extinct in our modern day lives. It is leading to serious health issues, rising crime figures and countless other social issues as our sense of self-respect and respect of others is fast diminishing.

A Learned Attribute

Accountability and responsibility is a learned attribute. Once passed down from generation to generation either by rules and boundaries (these days almost none existent) or by the example set by our parents, wider family and friends. This is where the problem lies. Rules and boundaries are now seen as a fucking infringement on our human rights and as a result either no longer exist or are so diluted and wishy washy so as not to cause offense to the diverse and spineless masses.

Self-Respect

I look around me in fucking despair, watching properties and entire residential areas falling into rack and ruin because residents have no self-respect. Gardens unkempt, paintwork peeling, windows dirty. And that’s just the outside. It might sound petty, but for me it demonstrates a complete absence of pride, self-respect and accountability. And what example does that set for the younger generation? They can’t then be ‘taught’ what is right and what is wrong. It just doesn’t work that way. It should be instilled by the subconscious example being set by their elders. What for the next generation, and the next…..?

Parenting

I watch unhinged parent’s curse, scream and hit at their misguided offspring. They then wonder why the same child shows no respect for them or displays an array of behavioural issues. Parents moan about how children are not given the right guidance and discipline at school and then in the next breath criticise teachers and other authorities if they dare so much as raise their voice in criticism.

Consequences

These days a child is subliminally taught that there are no consequences to their actions. Fat, lazy parents turn a blind eye to their equally wide and sedentary children or they again blame society or the Games Console (that they fucking bought them) for their poor state.
They practically force feed their kids processed fat and sugar because it’s convenient for them to do so. I mean, why should they go out of their way and make an effort to do the RIGHT thing for their children? Because it’s their fucking responsibility, they just refuse to see it!
They need to look in the mirror at the example they are setting and do what they are supposed to do.
LEAD and take ACCOUNTABILITY. It’s our RESPONSIBILITY.

Be TrueSapien. Reject Mediocrity.

In Pursuit Of The One Armed Handstand

In Pursuit Of The One Armed Handstand

Set your targets high, develop your strategy and commit to achieving. That’s the TrueSapien way.

Bodyweight and Calisthenics practitioner Richard Blakeway epitomises and embodies the TrueSapien spirit. He recently set his sights on achieving one of the ‘holy grails’ of his field, the One Armed Handstand. The parameters being that he must be able to hold the position for 10 seconds. His initial estimate, bearing in mind he can already hold a full (2 arm) handstand comfortably would be 8 weeks.
Will he succeed? Let’s take a look at the initial stages of his progress ….

Starting Point

Initially Richard did what most would do. Attempt to achieve the objective right away. When the expected failure resulted it created a starting point that allowed him to evaluate where improvements need to be made and how to make them. During his first session he was able to move from a standard handstand to one armed and back, only momentarily. It was clear that a strategy would need to be applied, with incremental steps toward achieving the ultimate goal.

Strategy

During his second session, Richard worked on reducing the transition from full to single handed by reducing the assistance on what would ultimately become the ‘free’ hand. He did this by using just a thumb tip rather than the full hand. His theory being that this would increase the load on his supporting hand to a lesser degree as an incremental step. By day 3, during a lengthy training session, Richard managed a maximum duration of 20 seconds using this technique. But his enthusiasm took its toll. The additional, recurring load on the right, load bearing shoulder caused severe soreness and Richard wisely took a rest day from the personal challenge to recover.

Progress

For the remainder of the first week of training, Richard decided to take away the crutch of the assisting supporting thumb. The resulting attempts caused a roller-coaster of conflicting emotions. Mainly frustration, disappointment and anger, interrupted by only fleeting moments of Joy and optimism. This is how Richard summed it up himself…

When I achieve my goal, for which I will have worked so hard and suffered so much, I will open up this little pot where I have stored all this frustration and by then the madness and rage will have fermented and turned into a beautiful butterfly of happiness….remember the route to success is always through persistent failure’

We will update Richard’s progress over the coming weeks. For more regular updates check out Richards Instagram feed (@richard_blakeway) which also contains details of his YouTube Channel.

Be TrueSapien. Challenge Life.

Sour Grapes. Curse Of The Average Human

Sour Grapes. Curse Of The Average Human

It’s deep-seated in our human nature that when stricken with failure, we pretend that victory wasn’t really worth it anyway.

Is this some lame way to save face in a world where we feel inadequate? Or a coping mechanism so that the hurt of defeat is more easily accepted and ignored?

The earliest public recognition of this inhibiting human characteristic was when depicted in a fable by Aesop some two and a half thousand years ago….

Driven by hunger, a fox tried to reach some grapes hanging high on a vine but was unable to, although he leaped with all his strength. As he went away, the fox remarked, “oh you aren’t even ripe yet, I don’t need any sour grapes.”

The average and the mediocre fucking love the easy get out that this common attribute provides, and it also helps them with the perfect excuse to never set any aspirations or goals outside of their comfort zones.

My guess is that in Aesop’s day, although significant enough to be portrayed in a Fable, it was nowhere near as prevalent as in the modern day.
Now we see this occurring in our lives all around us, often going unnoticed so it’s regularity…..

The ‘suit’ that misses his promotion but then claims he’s happier in his current role (even though he spends all day fucking moaning about it), because it’s ‘less responsibility’ …

The grossly overweight dude that gives up on his exercise program because he’s ‘comfortable’ in himself just how he is anyway…..

The girl that dreams of running her own business, but after an early setback decides that being employed and working for someone else’s dream is ‘the more secure option’…

It is one of the most damaging and limiting human traits of all when it comes to personal achievement. It locks the user in to a cycle of mediocrity that is almost impossible to escape from. It prevents us from facing up to the hurt of failure, the same hurt that makes us grow, makes us hungry and makes us want to grab life by the balls and do something fucking great. Something that will inspire others, rather than presenting them with another excuse to be just as shit.

Learn to recognize this attribute of the average. Awareness could prevent you falling in to the trap yourself!

Be TrueSapien. Reject Mediocrity.

Workout On The Run

Workout On The Run

The challenge to maintain a workout routine isn’t easy. Our 9 till 5 work day is getting ever extended, and for some is a thing of the past. Working hours are longer, shifts disrupt routine and for me; travelling for work really messes with my plans. Travelling, although often seen as glamorous (and it is not without its plus points) does mean you leave your loved ones behind, your favourite evening rituals at home and your exercise regime out the window. For the former two there is not much I can do…and for that matter neither is there much I can do about my fitness routine in regard to there being a routine, but there is stuff we can do to keep up fitness levels or at least stop me from getting stale.

Workout while moving

When I travel I don’t travel light, I travel equipped. For my carry-on bag I load the backpack with power devices, my laptop, books, notepads, toiletries, power adaptors etc… The point is I keep it heavily equipped so one I am ready for a heap of delays if necessary and two its weight training. I go to the gym and do shoulder press, farmers walk, weighted lunges and the likes and have always tried to focus on being fit for purpose…well, here is my purpose; day to day life.

I try to use day to day life to further enhance my fitness to push me further to my goals. Every day I take the stairs, I walk the long way around, I park at the edge of the car park to get that extra bit of farmers walk training with the weekly shopping bags. Point is life is full of opportunities to improve, if only we avoid what we have built as humans (lifts, escalators and other short cutting devices) and use what mother nature built.

Workout on the run - take the stairs

Home workout in the Hotel

Travelling around on trains, planes and automobiles can mean a lot of travelling on foot too. This gives me plenty of opportunities to do all the above and with heavy bags in hand. Even better, a whole day or days can go by without being able to hit the gym or go out for a run so skipping those travellators to journey down seemingly endless airport terminals acts as a great replacement and is all in a day’s work!

These tips, however, just take the edge off. I generally do look for a gym in the destination around or in my hotel but time isn’t always kind and gyms can be closed, ill fitted or just stuck for time when I have 45 minutes to meet my boss in the lobby for evening meal. I have found the best solution is hotel room workouts. They truly are brilliant and to be honest, are now a part of my routine at home. The apps and online videos available are free, effective, quick, require little space and generally no equipment and all I need to do is follow the leader!

Online resources

Whether travelling, low on income, a gym-o-phoebe or just stuck for time or inspiration then check out some of these resources for high quality, result driven workout routines for anyone from beginner through to advanced:

  • Yoga With Tim – a wide variety of YouTube videos (235 at time of writing) as well as a Patreon option, Tim Senesi has 30 day runs and yoga routines to fine tune or rehabilitate and push you to your limits or pick any single video from a few minutes through to full 90 minute routines
  • Millionaire Hoy – a massive array of videos (911 at time of writing) for all levels of fitness Millionaire Hoy will boost your abilities whoever you are and whatever your goals. All this for free or subscribe to his Patreon page for a complete well-rounded program that puts gym PT’s to shame.
  • MadBarz App – Mad Barz has been around for years and primarily focused on calisthenics it is far more rounded that it ever has been. The app is slick, has no equipment options and great community and metrics to keep track of your progress.
No Self Motivation Required!

No Self Motivation Required!

Self motivation isn’t the key to achieving success. In fact ‘self motivation’ is often the cause of failure or a complete lack of drive altogether…..

It is widely believed that self motivation and it’s successor ‘self discipline’ are the prerequisites to success and achievement. Many a self help or personal development book from the recent past has backed this belief up, providing countless methods and strategies for developing and maintaining a resilient and unwavering self motivation and discipline.

The consensus seemed to be, that in order to achieve success, you needed to consistently coach yourself, convincing yourself of the future benefits. Like this was the essential ingredient, determining ultimate success or failure. The reason this falls down is that it is that it completely misses a VITAL factor. It isn’t based on YOUR BELIEFS AND WHAT YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE.

Constant motivation and self discipline is only required when you are trying to achieve SOMEBODY ELSE’S objectives, or if you’ve adopted aspirations created by the beliefs of other influential people in your life. Examples of the above are clear to see in our everyday lives. For instance, those of us in employment are ultimately working towards achieving the aspirations of the owners of the organisation for whom we are working. Everywhere we look we see people attempting to appear stronger, slimmer, younger than they are, which is an adopted belief to conform to a socially accepted standard.

Self motivation and discipline is required in bucket loads to achieve the above……and when that can’t be maintained depression, disappointment and failure is usually the result.

TrueSapiens live life differently. Whether intentionally or otherwise, TrueSapiens have questioned their beliefs and LIVE THEIR PURPOSE. If they work for others they do so not to simply keep a roof over their heads, but to provide a better future for them or their family. Gains and improvements are the result of living a life in accordance with their beliefs and passions, as they strive to be their PERSONAL BEST through a life of CHALLENGE,  not in order to conform to socially accepted superficial or materialistic standards.

Live your purpose and no motivation is required!

Be TrueSapien. Challenge Life.

Fitness Journey Of A Bearded Mud Lover. Being TrueSapien!

Fitness Journey Of A Bearded Mud Lover. Being TrueSapien!

Written by TrueSapien Matt Briscoe.

The fitness journey and changes I’ve been on have had a profound impact on my outlook on life and the kinds of challenges I set myself. I wanted to enhance my social profile and chose Instagram as my media of choice. I did not want to brag about the activities I was completing or to seem big headed in my approach. The aim of pushing my workouts and races was to inspire others to do the same for themselves.

In the relatively short time that I have been doing this (18 months) I have lost 3 stone and had a complete lifestyle change. Yes I still have cheat meals and drink (occasionally) but an overall change in emphasis has occurred and I am following a different path to the one I was on in 2016.

I stumbled across Truesapien as I was posting online and instantly jumped on board with their ethos and beliefs. Challenging yourself and not settling for mediocrity meant that I was being shown the progress of athletes online who promoted the brand avidly. Wearing the brand and going out of my way to improve myself has resulted in new personal best times in a number of distances during my training time.

Breaking through the 20 minute mark for the 5km distance, smashing a year old 10km PB and half marathon times have been a number of achievements this year. It has changed my mindset and caused my to strive for new challenges to test myself. The completion of 25 miles at Europe’s Toughest Mudder has now resulted in the desire to complete even more in Germany later this year. I now constantly find myself looking at events online which have the potential to be the next big challenge and the guys at Truesapien have been supportive at every stage.

Being Truesapien has been motivational and the community of others is there at every step of the way to encourage you to push harder and further to smash goals and targets set!

We’ll be featuring posts from Matt’s Blog, ‘Fitness Journey Of A Bearded Mud Lover‘, on a regular basis as he continues his journey. If you want to read more in the meantime head over to his page!

CHALLENGE LIFE. BE TRUESAPIEN!

Don’t Fall Into The Excuse Trap. Be TrueSapien!

Don’t Fall Into The Excuse Trap. Be TrueSapien!

The Excuse Trap is a treacherous place and one not easy to escape from.

Our dreams, targets and purpose are all driven by attitudes such as resolution, perseverance and drive, all of which are at the mercy of excuses.

The mediocre, the average and the ignorant live a life where excuses dominate every outcome of their actions. In severe cases, excuses are already prepared in advance of action, in readiness for inevitable failure even before the outcome is known.

They allow themselves to make excuses for not following their dreams, or use them as reasons to justify quitting after routine setbacks.

The actual impulse to make excuses can become a habitual response to failure and for laziness. It is not a natural, human trait but one which has become hardwired into the brains of much of our modern cultures due it’s entitlement attitude. It is a learned behavior.

TrueSapien’s are by no means immune to the impulse to make excuses. They too have been subject to the same living environment as the average and mediocre.

What makes TrueSapien’s different, is the awareness and consciousness of this poisonous attitude and the havoc and devastation it can wreak to their drive to succeed.

TrueSapien’s HEAR it but don’t LISTEN. We take accountability and responsibility, we feel the pain that failure and setbacks cause and we own that pain. we learn and we grow.

BE TRUESAPIEN. REJECT MEDIOCRITY.

Ain’t no mountain the same!

Ain’t no mountain the same!

Fit for purpose?

Are we so blinkered in your fitness goals that we overlook our general fitness and functionality?

A recent trip to south wales for a break from the rush of everyday life saw me and my girlfriend standing in a car park looking across a stream and along the edge of ravine where a path meandered up the slopes. This was Penn-y-fan, one of South Wales most popular peaks and our plan for the day was a leisurely walk up to take in the view. Looking up the rocky ascent didn’t bring much cause for concern, the path looked stead and the mountain itself looked more like a large hill in comparison to the daunting peaks in the north. The sun was out and heat was cranked up but we had water, snacks and a will to reach the summit with no concern to the journey ahead.

The path up the mountain isn’t too steep, and the length isn’t too long either but it’s gradient is relentless and it wasn’t long before my back was aching, thighs burning and sweat was pouring. I’m no athlete but I am no slouch either – I cycle, regularly practice a range of calisthenics, Tabatha and HIIT training is core to my workout and now I have my FitBit i’m getting a minimum of 10k steps a day but this big hill was taking considerable toll on my body. By the time I was half way up I was stopping every few minutes. OK, it wasn’t the most gruelling challenge of my life, not even close, but it was clear that all the jumping, climbing and generally moving about didn’t seem to help me in this activity…in fact, if anything, it felt like it made it worse!

What’s missing?

I have mentioned a few of my favourite exercises above and there are plenty more but I analysed everything I do and realised that everything I do requires a lot of energy in a short amount of time. Even my bike is designed for the short but hectic dirt trails of mountains and off-road cross country rather the long rolling hills of road cycling. Fact of the matter is; i’m just not built for it! I built this body of mine and the fitness challenges I have faced and conquered did nothing to help me scale a mountain. Of course, we all know this to some degree, for example train in Martial Arts and you can fight, train to lift heavy weights and get scarily big and may think you can fight but I’d still put money on the smaller but trained fighter.

My aim has always been to be promote overall fitness whilst try and challenge and improve in areas I am more passionate about. I have the workout days I do because I feel I need to and those I do because I want to…or so I thought. Walking trails and mountains when possible is one of my “Likes” but it seems I have been missing a big part of what I both need and want to do in order to scale those illustrious heights.

What to do?

Re-analyze, rework and refresh my workout plan, that is what is needed. That is also what I am doing. I might not always get it right but that walk in the country highlighted a big flaw in my training plan as well as a big flaw in my thought process. Not just for climbing mountains but for all walks of life. Why is it I am doing what I am doing? How should I go about doing it? What is it I am going to do to get the steps done? Many things come about we think we are ready for, think we can handle. Physically, mentally and emotionally but we should be careful, sometimes things that seem easy can cripple us.

This is not to sway from what we want and avoid those mountain paths, but to just appreciate the task in hand, recognise we may not always be as ready as we think we are and, like I will do with Penn-y-fan and a range of other mountains, go again and again and again.

Is Success As Simple As ‘Short Term Pain, Long Term Gain?’

Is Success As Simple As ‘Short Term Pain, Long Term Gain?’

Aims, goals, dreams, ambitions, aspirations, objectives…… However you want to describe them, these are the building blocks that collaborate to build the purposeful life. The mediocre would have you believe that ‘opportunity'(or in their case, a consistent lack of opportunity) is also also a major factor. But that’s another discussion.

But what is, possibly the main determining factor behind success with these building blocks?

 

Short-term pain, long-term gain.

Yes, this may be the cliched quote straight from the wall of a 1980’s Bodybuilding Gym or possibly some regurgitated business management spiel. This doesn’t mean it should be overlooked or explored however.

TrueSapien’s understand the value of applying this universal rule, be it through instinct or through habit.

 

Pay the price

TrueSapien’s know that to create the aforementioned building blocks, a price has to be paid and the price has to be paid UPFRONT. By repeatedly paying this price (the pain) TrueSapien’s achieve their goals and ambitions, in turn enriching their lives. If their aim is high enough they will reach their true and inherent potential as Homo Sapiens.

 

Suffer only for the good choices

So what’s the difference in the suffering of the TrueSapien compared to that endured by the average or mediocre? The average and mediocre will indeed suffer and they’ll certainly let everybody know of their plight too. They’ll complain bitterly about their suffering as though it’s through no fault of their own, blaming every man and his dog for it.

In contrast, TrueSapien’s will likely talk about their suffering with a positive pride and relish.

Why? Because TrueSapien’s suffer for the GOOD CHOICES they make, the choices that are required for them to achieve their goals aligned to their overall success.

The Mediocre suffer for the BAD CHOICES they make. the choices born out of laziness, ill-discipline and desire for short term gratification.

 

SUFFER ONLY FOR YOUR GOOD CHOICES.

BE TRUESAPIEN.

So What’s It Like To Compete In A Spartan Race?

So What’s It Like To Compete In A Spartan Race?

Spartan and other Obstacle Course Races (otherwise known as OCR) continue to grow in popularity and participation.

Spartan in particular has great appeal, encouraging participants not only to take part in an event but to adopt the ‘Spartan’ culture which has many similarities with the TrueSapien philosophy, so not surprisingly many TrueSapiens have gravitated toward them.

There are various race offerings to suit different fitness levels and experience.

TrueSapien Ben Comery provides a first hand account of his experience of a recent Spartan Race….

 

I was calm. I stood shoulder to shoulder with the best and I was calm. At the start line I was hurting, the Super the day before had left me bruised, sore and stinging. A few words from Karl the race director and then the count down…

3” Calm concentration trying to keep my breathing even. “Hold back” I tell myself. “2” Hand on my watch, I breath out all the self doubt. “1” I AM A SPARTAN. The line surges forward and a few Athletes fly off the start line quickly hitting the first corner before I’m even settled. Lungs burning I calm myself, i settle in behind the more experienced racers as the pace starts to build. We hit the first obstacles (four foot hurdles and Over under throughs) and the pack starts to split. Some of the faster guys start to pull away but I’m not concerned, I up my pace to keep them in check. The pack comes back together as we progress through a long running section and then bunches at the top of a descent. I take my opportunity, dive through the nettles and drop down the hill like a stone. I hit the cargo net in 3rd but lose my footing as the net flails around me. Damn!

Back down the pack as we enter the barbed wire crawl but I attack again and regain several places. Another long running section gives me the chance to stretch my legs again and I quickly eat through the terrain. As I come out of the woods the farmer carries is next. I grit my teeth and power walk up the slopes and drop down the descents claiming another place in the process. I’m close to the front of the pack now, the leader enters the atlas stone ahead of me but both of us smash through it quickly and head straight in to the sand bag carry.

I pick the 2 sandbags up and push through the pain building in my legs. I climb the steepest hill and try to push but my breathing is laboured and my heart is beating out of my chest. Third place uses this and launches his attack, sailing past me while I struggle. We descend once again and I get rid of my sandbags and sprint to the hoist. I jump high and rip the weight into the air as fast as I can but 1st and 2nd have a slight lead already. Another punishing hill waits and all 3 of us have to dig deep. I push myself a long the next running section but the leaders are still increasing the lead. The z wall offers no problems but the plate drag feels heavy after yesterday’s beating.

I fly through the multirig and head for the tyre carry. AROO it screams in huge letters on the hill side, 1st and 2nd are over halfway through by the time I start but I dig deep and there lead doesn’t grow. Pain burning in my legs and sweat dripping in to my eyes I dig deep and find some more strength to finish the tyre carry strong. My friend is volunteering at the tyre carry and his shouts of encouragement pick me up and make the next hill feel easier. I hit a trail section and immediately start accelerating, I can no longer see 1st but 2nd is still in sight.

Dread starts to fill me, up ahead is the bucket carry that broke so many people the day before but I don’t let that slow me. I rush towards my doom, round the corner and the bucket carry has been removed. Yes!I look over my shoulder and 4th is no where to be seen. My head tells me to slow down and stupidly I listen, taking my time to ready myself before the rope climb. I ring the bell and drop quickly as 4th comes in to view. I smash through the monkey bars, mud bath and the slippery wall as quick as I can and charge in to the spear throw. 2nd place Jack is stuck in the burpee zone, he turns to watch my attempt. No pressure.

Aim. Breath. Release.

The spear sails beautifully through the air and gets lodged in to the hay bale. Jack finishes his burpees as I turn to leave. 15 yards separate us. I approach the Rope rig and Jack stops short and walks a few yards to the rig. I attack and we both enter the obstacle at the same time. I grab the rope keeping my feet high and my hips low, making my way around the inside bend my foot slips and I’m left hanging.

I grip as tight as I can and regain control, inching my way around I slip again but get a better grip and launch myself for the bell. I hit the ground running, 8 foot walls separate me from the finish line. My heart pounding in my head I race towards the wall and out of the corner of my eye I see Jack. We hit the wall in unison, I throw myself over and sprint for the next wall, my wife is screaming urging me on.

The wall looms over me and I jump. Willing myself over with ever increasing speed. I dig deep, ignoring the storm raging in my head. Lungs shrieking, legs bursting we leap, almost as one, across the fire and collapse on the floor. Much later in the day it is confirmed that I came 3rd and Jack second but we both know that doesn’t matter. The position is irrelevant,

I gave it my all.

Every last drop.

 

Lose The Ego – Be Better Than You Appear

Lose The Ego – Be Better Than You Appear

Be better than you outwardly appear. Yes you read correctly. To non TrueSapiens this may seem odd advice, in a society where everyone around us seems to want to appear BETTER than they actually are.

People want to APPEAR more attractive, stronger, fitter, faster, richer, more successful. Desperate to prove themselves better than others. Social media unfortunately provides a convenient and accessible platform. It doesn’t matter whether they actually ARE any of the above, the shallowness and superficially biased society care more about what others think of them than what or who they actually are. This all results in inflated ego’s and a win at all costs mentality. It also results in a tendency and a temptation to take shortcuts in an attempt to desperately make rapid improvements.

TrueSapiens put their egos aside because they know inflated ego’s breed contempt and blockers to self improvement – ‘how can perfection be improved?’ Or ‘why should I improve when I am this good already?’ Seem to be the subliminal messages. TrueSapiens would rather BE better than they appear. TrueSapiens show humility and modesty in their achievements and speak of others fine performances and actions before their own. They accept praise and accolades with humility also.

There is no harm at all in showing how you’re challenging yourself. Be proud of how you’re challenging yourself but always do it with humility and WITHOUT ego. This is way more inspirational. This is TrueSapien.

Be TrueSapien

Train Your Run Like A Team GB Triathlete

Train Your Run Like A Team GB Triathlete

James Hodgson is a Team GB Triathlete. This week he’s competing in the European Sprint Triathlon Championships in Dusseldorf.

He’s kindly shared with us one of his run element training sessions… Challenge yourself and give it a try!

 

Overview

This is a really good speed endurance session for 5K runners, whether you are competing in triathlons or pure running races. You need to be able to run for an hour or slightly more continuously and be physically able to work hard for the eight kilometres. However, if you are starting out or haven’t done a session like this before, don’t go diving into the eight reps. Start at three or four with extended rest periods and then build in the other reps before dropping the recovery time.

 

This is one of my ‘go to’ running sessions that I regularly perform to improve my triathlon running and to see where my running fitness is at. In most cases I perform it on grass to reduce the impact forces from the session and reduce the risk of injuries. It also means you normally end up running even faster when you transition over to tarmac as grass is naturally a slower surface, especially when it is damp (and often is here in the UK!).

 

Warm Up

WU – 10-15 minutes

Easy walking with full arm rotations, three/four reps of high knees, heel flicks, and hip abduction and adduction movements (opening and closing the gate exercises) for few minutes before building into an easy run. Build your effort gradually (through to heart rate zone 2 if you are using heart rate) and towards the end of 10-15 minutes of this easy aerobic running I like to put in 2-4 pickups or strides

Main Section

MS – 8 x 1 kilometre (variable rest period)

Depending on where my fitness is at and where in the season I am my target pace for the one kilometre reps will vary, as will my recovery period. In most cases I am looking to hold at or quicker than my 5K race pace with easy jogging for anywhere between a minute and three minutes. I also aim to keep the pace between reps as similar as possible, with a bit of allowance for a slight upswing in speed once everything is fully functioning and switched on to the work rate (usually rep 3-4 for me) and then aim to hold that for the rest of the workout

 

Cool Down

CD – 5-10 minutes

Gradually slow the pace down to a walk before stretching, using a foam roller if you have one and replenishing the fluids and calories you have used during the session.

Summary

Being physically and mentally fresh as well as having adequate energy stores (i.e. eating 2-3 hours beforehand) is really important, as is a good warm up to reduce the chance of injuries. As mentioned, I like to run this session on grass and run a pretty flat course with only gentle and very short undulations (in most cases it’s only a few meters per kilometre) so that there is less external influence on my pace. However, if your upcoming race is undulating, you can perform this session on terrain that simulates that, as well as getting in specific hill reps.

We hope you find this insight into a training session of a Triathlete useful. As outlined above this is a useful training session either for Sprint Triathlons, pure 5k running speed or could be beneficial for short course OCR events. Give it a go and let us know what you think!

Reject Mediocrity – How To Avoid An Average Life.

Reject Mediocrity – How To Avoid An Average Life.

Why is it that people everywhere are systematically wasting their potential, seemingly happy living their lives completely within their comfort zones, never experiencing what life has to offer outside of them?

Just because modern lifestyles are made physically more comfortable to due technological advances, is it acceptable not attempting to use our remarkable bodies to the limits they are capable of?
Acceptance Of Mediocrity is Like An Epidemic

How many people do you know that settle for mediocrity or even less when it comes to their health, lifestyle or physical functionality? Maybe you can even count yourself in this category or can remember the time you could.

It’s easy to see just by looking around you, whether at work, in the street or whilst out eating or drinking that it is the majority. They have turned their backs on their natural physical traits and lazily resigned themselves to never physically challenging themselves.

Maybe it’s symptomatic of a culture that no longer encourages healthy competition and a society that is conditioned to taking the ‘easy’ option at every opportunity and looks for excuses for underachievement.

Surely many of the negative health and social issues that are prevalent today exist primarily because society on the whole is nowhere near active enough and lacks the inclination to be so.

 

Buck The Trend And Reject Mediocrity

Because it’s how the majority choose to live their lives DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT.

It’s can’t be right to allow your body to fester in inactivity or without regular challenge. If this were so the human body would react positively to such environments and it clearly does not. The human body reacts positively to being pushed, to being tested, to being CHALLENGED! Not to mention the numerous positive psychological benefits too.

TrueSapiens reject mediocrity by repeatedly challenging themselves, pushing and striving to be the best version of them self. TrueSapiens respect and celebrate their physical abilities and seek opportunities to challenge it’s boundaries.

This is the TRUE spirit of the SAPIEN. Reject mediocrity, challenge life and BE TRUESAPIEN.

The Green Smoothie. How You Can Benefit!

What is a Green Smoothie, how can they benefit me and how do I go about making them?

TrueSapien friends YemSmoothies give advice and answer some Frequently Asked Questions on the subject.

What is A Green Smoothie?

Green smoothie is a thick beverage made using whole fruits a liquid base and leafy greens. Dark leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses containing vital minerals and nutrients

 

Green Smoothies Are Bitter, Can I Add Sugar?

There’s no need to add sugar to your smoothies. Your solid green smoothie sweeteners are some fingers of banana, pineapple rings, mango chunks or dates.

 

What’s The Best Green Smoothie For A New Starter?

Lettuce leaves, Pineapple, Cucumber and Water. Lettuce leaves are quire subtle and will ease you in to the ‘green world’ quite gently. Hopefully you’ll graduate to using Kale and Spinach which are awesome green leaves!

 

How Do I Make A Green Smoothie?

Simple! All you need is a blender, come fruit, green leaves and a base (i.e. water).

 

Can Green Smoothies Be Used As A Meal Replacement?

Yes. If you are drinking a green smoothie as a meal replacement you should ensure that your smoothie does contain protein and some healthy fat. For example you could add some Chia Seed for Protein and a teaspoon of Coconut or Flax Oil for fat.

Remember any changes to your daily nutrition should be sustainable. Small, incremental changes that are long lasting are far more beneficial than drastic, short lived overhauls.

For further smoothie advice and a host of recipe ideas visit @YemSmoothies on Instagram and Facebook.

How To Prepare For A Spartan Race

How can you prepare better for a Spartan Race or other OCR event? These challenges require specific preparation if you’re going to get the most from it and perform at your best! TrueSapien’s very own Spartan Race Guru and recent Spartan Elite Sprint podium finisher Ben Comery gives some secrets to his success.

General Preparation – Hills, Carries and Burpees!

For me preparation starts weeks before the Race. Spartan is know for a few things. Hills, Carries and Burpees.
Let’s start with hills. Make these your friends, go out and find as many hills as you can. I try and make all my Easy Pace runs have over 100m of elevation gain and my long runs are always hilly.
Carries will try and kill you. They are diverse and plentiful in a Spartan race. Tyres, logs, sandbags, stones and buckets. You can’t just lift weights in a gym and expect to succeed. Lifting a weight is very different to moving through rough terrain with a weight. As with everything, practice makes perfect so grab something heavy and go for a walk, you’ll thank me on race day.
Burpees are an Integral part of Spartan. If you fail an obstacle you will be rewarded with 30 burpees. The good news is you can train these at home and they will help with a lot of obstacles on the day. They train your whole body and help with getting over the walls that are littered around the course. A great work out to try is Death By Burpees, Start a timer and complete 1 burpee per minute until you cannot complete the number of burpees within the minute i.e 1st minute 1 burpee, 2nd minute 2 burpees, 10th minute 10 burpees etc.

 

Two Weeks Out

I usually perform a race or time trial of a similar distance just to get a feel for fitness. Spartan Sprint use a 5km race, for a Super use a 10km. For the Beast I would move it out to 4 weeks out at Half Marathon distance. From this point I start dropping weekly mileage by 20%, keep the intensity high but just shorter.

 

Final Week

Drop mileage to 50%. Now is the time to rest, any training from this point will have little affect come race day. Use the time to practice your race pace and to really get a feel for how fast you want to go. I up my carbohydrates from this point aswell. 10g per lean kg of body mass is recommended but after a few days my hunger starts to disappear so I just make sure every meal has large amounts of carbohydrates in it. Hydrate. 1g of Carbohydrates can hold 4g of water! If you increase carbs but not water you will become dehydrated quickly and a 2% loss in hydration causes a 40% loss in performance.

Race day

Wake up early and eat. I usually eat a bowl of porridge and drink 500ml of water 3 hours before the Race. After this I usually sip electrolytes just to keep myself topped up. 10minutes before the Race I take caffeine (180MG of encapsulated caffeine) if you get anxiety before a race you should avoid this as caffeine increases nerves but if you can tolerate it caffeine is a great supplement.

 

Lastly have fun! I mean that’s why we do it, isn’t it? 

Are You TrueSapien? Are You Challenging Yourself?

Are You TrueSapien? Are You Challenging Yourself?

So are you TrueSapien? What makes people stand out in life versus those that are happy to merely exist?

There is no exact definition as characteristics will vary from one person to another, depending on their individual beliefs, passions and preferences. For example, what sport or fitness activities appeal to you may be entirely different to another TrueSapien. You may have certain physical traits that lend themselves to certain activities over others. How you choose to challenge yourself may be entirely different to the next person.

Whatever the differences, the following points are universal and common across all TrueSapiens……

  • Do you consistently challenge your existing perceived limits,attempting to be the very best you can be?
  • Do you refuse to accept mediocrity?
  • Do you know your overriding purpose in life and your ‘Why’?
  • Are you an ‘encourager’ rather than a critic and do you admire others’ achievements rather than be envious of them?
  • Do you appreciate, respect and admire the world around you?
  • Do you place a higher value on your own functionality for purpose over simply looking good?
  • Do you take any ‘failures’ as setbacks and use them as a positive learning experience?

Being TrueSapien isn’t like becoming a member of a club, body or an organisation. There’s no joining fee or annual renewal. You’ll know from the points described above whether you are or not, or indeed whether being TrueSapien is something in which you believe.

Being TrueSapien is about the attitude you demonstrate as you challenge yourself in whatever way you choose, from OCR or Triathlon Events, Calisthenics or Strongman disciplines, Marathon Running or Crossfit.

Read our Story page to find out more about TrueSapien.

Triathlon Training Update – TrueSapien and Team GB’s James Hodgson

Triathlon Training Update – TrueSapien and Team GB’s James Hodgson

 

Why is it always me? ~ Neville Longbottom

As the title of this update from the one and only Neville Longbottom in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets says, ‘Why is it always me?‘.
I say this as for the fourth, yes, fourth, off/pre-season in a row I have had my triathlon training hindered by an injury of one kind or another. Since 2013 when I damaged my right rotator cuff that has caused on and off problems with my swimming. Back in 2014/15 I had a suspected stress fracture in my pelvis that stopped me from running. 2015/16 it was sinus tarsi syndrome in my ankle that put a “stopper on death” (just messing with you, that was Professor Severus Snape in Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, bonus points if you read that in his/Alan Rickman’s voice!)…. I digress, the sinus tarsi also hindered my triathlon training by stopping me running for a fair bit of time. So you can probably understand my frustration that after managing to be super consistent since my return from Worlds in October through to mid-January my right shoulder started to play up for a few weeks, and as soon as that righted itself, my right knee/ITB has decided that it is time to start complaining! I’m quickly becoming proficient at using RockTape to strap up my knee/ITB and hopefully everything clears up soonish and I can have a good run at March and April!

 

 

Other News

In other news I’ve also got applications in for a couple of PhD projects once I finish my masters (which is currently very hectic!), so fingers crossed I get one of those to keep doing research when the next academic year starts!

That’s it, a really quick one so until next time, a big thank you to TrueSapien (www.truesapien.com/) for their support and kit, Trion:Z (www.trionz.co.uk/) for their DuoLoop bands and new Zen Loop Solo/Duo which are keeping me focused and sleeping soundly (use code ‘JamesHFreePP’ on any order to receive free postage and packaging!), Sunwise (www.sunwise.co.uk/) for their Waterloo sunglasses which keep my eyes protected during training and racing,  Aqua Sphere (www.aquasphereswim.com/uk/) for providing me with swim kit for the 2016 season, Pedal Potential for their support (www.pedalpotential.co.uk/) and Bulk Powders (www.bulkpowders.co.uk/) for their nutritional support! Also a shout out to my coach Jason Battle of PerformanceCoaching (www.performancecoaching.me/) for his training plans and guidance!