Challenge Life. Inspire. Be TrueSapien.

Challenge Life. Inspire. Be TrueSapien.

Why do the majority shrink and shy away from challenge? Has this reluctance to commit to personal challenge become second nature?

Whether it’s a physical challenge, career, personal or some other challenge, people everywhere are systematically wasting their potential. Happy living their lives completely within their comfort zones and never experiencing what life has to offer outside of it.

A Life Of Convenience

Yes, modern lifestyles are made physically and mentally more comfortable to due technological advances. Is it acceptable though, to not use our remarkable bodies and minds to the limits they are capable of?

A Disease

The ACCEPTANCE of Mediocrity and average is a disease.
Think of the people you know. Not those that you ‘know of’ (that is an entirely different story, distorted by the ‘fake’ success stories on social media). Think of those in your circle of friends, family and acquaintances. How many people do you know that settle for mediocrity or even less when it comes to their health, lifestyle or physical functionality? You probably even know the shit excuses that many of these hide behind. One thing these people are great at is making their ‘excuses’ VERY clear and obvious to all around them. You may even count yourself into this category or at least remember the time that you could.

Mediocrity Everywhere

They are everywhere you look. You’ll notice them at work, in the street or whilst you’re out eating or drinking. It’s clear to see that they are the majority. They have turned their backs on their natural physical instincts and have  lazily resigned themselves to never challenging themselves. In doing so, what example does this set for our future generations?

Competition

Maybe it’s a symptom of our society. Because it no longer encourages healthy competition even amongst our young children! As a result, I’m embarrassed every time I attend my daughter’s ‘Sports day’ to the point I hope it’s fucking rained off each year!
Surely such lack of competition will only accelerate the many negative health and social issues that are prevalent today. These issues are caused almost entirely by the lack of challenge and activity that competition is the catalyst for!
We are a society conditioned to taking the ‘easy’ option at every opportunity. As a result, we repeatedly make excuses for underachievement.

Reject Mediocrity

Because it’s how the majority choose to live their lives DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT.
Can it be right to live your life in the sewers and gutters of aspiration? Shying away spinelessly? Hiding in the shadows of the few that do repeatedly embrace and seek challenge? Never to feel the exhilaration and empowerment that pushing boundaries and experiencing the unknown creates? NO!
Is this an environment that our human bodies and minds are aligned with? If this were so our bodies would be thriving, virtually free from ailment and disease. But they are not. Lifestyle related illness is at record levels and projected to continue to rise at unprecedented rates.

Be TrueSapien

The human body and mind reacts positively to being pushed, to being tested, to being CHALLENGED!
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. They actively seek opportunities to challenge it’s boundaries.

It is our duty to demonstrate a better way. To lead by example and inspire those around us.
That is the TRUE spirit of the SAPIEN.

Reject mediocrity, challenge life and BE TRUESAPIEN.

Interval Training – An Overview

Interval Training – An Overview

If you’re serious about improving your running, Interval Training should be a key component to your training plan. It is simple and can be done in numerous ways. On the road, track or treadmill, varying distance or a time. it really is that simple.

So What Is Interval Training?

Interval TrainingInterval training is a physical activity consisting of alternating periods of high and low intensity activity.

That’s great but let’s put it even more simply. Run hard and run fast followed by a period of recovery repeated a number of times. The key to it is consistency. The time or distance at which you work hard must be repeatable, as is the time or distance you select to rest.

Benefits Of Interval Training

Interval training has many benefits. This is why most runners who take their running seriously, or want to achieve their goal add it to their programme.

  • Time Saver – Due to the nature of interval training it can’t be done for extended periods of time. This means it can easily be fitted around your busy day.
  • Calorific– There are some out there who purely run to manage their weight. Due to the intensity of interval training, you will burn more calories than if you went on a long run.
  • Healthy Heart – Over time your heart will get stronger meaning that it is able to pump more blood around the body per beat. The less beats your heart needs to do the less it gets used and the longer it will last.
  • Faster and Longer – Interval training will help teach your body to deal with lactic acid build up. The result of this means you can go for longer and harder before tiring.

Example Interval Session

These are just some of the benefits to Interval Training. Now let’s look at an example session.

Treadmill Session

Warm Up

10 minutes at a steady pace to warm the deep muscle tissue followed by some dynamic stretching to activate and mobilise the joints.

Interval Session

  • Stand with your legs either side of the treadmill belt and increase the speed to 19 kph and allow for 1 minute to pass.
  • On 1 minute get on the treadmill and run for 40 seconds.
  • Once 40 seconds has passed stand either side of the belt for 20 seconds.
  • Repeat 9 times.
  • Following the 9th effort recover for 1 minute and low the speed to 18 kph.
  • Once 1 minutes rest is up get back on the treadmill and repeat however, this time for 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off.
  • Repeat 9 times.

Cool Down

5 minute light jog followed by stretching.

Now this is an example of the session. You can adapt the speed to suit you. However, remember that it should be high intensity. It isn’t designed to be comfortable but I guarantee you will feel great when it’s done.

I will be back over the coming weeks with some other ideas and alternative sessions. In the meantime, you can read more advice and insights from me at my own website.

Be TrueSapien. Challenge Life.

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.

How I Changed My Running Style

How I Changed My Running Style

Soon after I started running, I got hooked on looking for ways to improve. I dived straight in to running literature. At the time, there was a huge ‘barefoot running’ movement in the running community, which seemed to stem from the success of the book, Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

The book was a very enjoyable read (I have re-read it several times since). I quickly followed it up with a book by one of the authors’ influencers, Ken Bob Saxton, called ‘Barefoot Running Step by Step’. You can read about some of my early forays and experiments with barefoot running on my older blog posts.

Both books stirred in me a desire to experiment with my existing running form. I wanted to feel like I could run all day, like the Tarahumara. To run light, strong and silently and stay injury free.

Why The Change?

So, why did I feel this need to change or toy with my running form? Defiance was one reason. A lot of self-proclaimed ‘experts’ seemed to suggest that it was not advisory to change your running technique. To me though, this seemed preposterous. Surely experimenting can lead to a greater understanding, appreciation and technique. The rules of learning, of trial and error and of continued improvement surely were applicable to running too?!

I also wanted to get faster. Based on what I’d read, it seemed clear to me that one way of getting faster was to ensure your running style was efficient. You could say that these books acted like my early running coach. I used the advice the books gave, tried things out and used what worked for me.

My style was unlike ‘real’ runners. I felt like a footballer doing a bit of running and I think I probably looked like it too! I wanted to look more like Mo Farah or Eliud Kipchoge; Graceful, smooth, light and looking like they could run forever.

How I Changed My Running Style

There were a few elements I consciously worked on and they have taken varying amounts of time to get to where I am now;

Which part of my foot hit the ground first.

Up until I read the above-mentioned books, I really hadn’t paid any attention to the mechanics of running. I just went out and ran. The books opened my eyes to seeing running as an art to be improved. My technique could be improved if I took steps to do so. There was actually quite a lot to think about! I changed from being a heel-striker who made contact with the ground way out in front of my body, to a midfoot/forefoot-striker who made contact with the ground right underneath my body. This is generally accepted as good running form.

This did NOT come naturally to me at all! I really had to be intentional about doing this. I had to think about it a lot during my runs. This resulted in an increased leg turnover. My calves aching like crazy after each run for probably about three weeks. I therefore gave my legs more time to recover between each run. Why did they hurt so much? It was because I hadn’t been engaging them properly in my old running technique. I’d been relying more on my upper leg muscles and so my calves weren’t being engaged like they were meant to. After the three weeks of aching calves, I also noticed how much BIGGER they had become! I was using them properly. The result? I was faster, without increasing my perceived effort!

How I hit the ground.

I really did ‘pound’ the pavement with my feet and you could hear me a long way off. So, I consciously tried to run ‘light’ trying to make less sound in my footsteps. I had the following passage from a character called Caballo Blanco, from the book Born to Run running through my head constantly:

“Think Easy, Light, Smooth, and Fast. You start with easy, because if that’s all you get, that’s not so bad. Then work on light. Make it effortless, like you don’t give a sh*t how high the hill is or how far you’ve got to go. When you’ve practiced that so long that you forget you’re practicing, you work on making it smooooooth. You won’t have to worry about the last one – you get those three, and you’ll be fast.”

I agree with the sentiments Caballo Blanco expresses here. I’m not one to boast about my running prowess. Since my changes however, I have had the odd compliment about my running style.

These two were the really big ones. The third one is one I’m still working on. It’s a longer term project because it tends only to happen when I’m really tired. When I’m unable to think about anything other than trying to keep running!

Using my arms properly.

Most of the time, my arms behave themselves. However, when I really tire, they (particularly my right arm) tend to develop a mind of their own. They move across my body, making my torso rotate. This slows me down just at the key moment I want to be running as efficiently as possible. The ideal is for them to pump up and down by the side of my body. This provides balance and momentum in the direction of travel. I’m conscious of this to a point but need to try to remember and be focused on this when I get tired on runs.

Key Observations

To give some context to the benefits of changing my running form, I wanted to share a few observations:

I now feel like a runner, rather than a footballer who can run.

Like I could run for longer than I ever could before I changed my running technique.

My speed improved! I know that you could argue that this is just down to training over four years, but I honestly don’t believe that. From a debut half marathon of 1:27:32 in 2012, my PB is now 1:19:12 and I know I could run a 1:18 with some dedicated training now, based on my recent 10 mile race (https://www.strava.com/activities/1272325054).

I’ve only had one running-related injury (through doing too much too soon back in 2013). I don’t think I’d have stayed injury free for this long running like I used to.

I try to avoid over-analysing each run I do. But I think it helps to be mindful of how you’re running and what each part of your body is doing. Often what you think is not what is really going on!

Ready For Change?

If you’re considering what your running form looks like, or how efficient your technique is, then there are a few different things you could do.

  1. Head to a running store that offers gait analysis services. These are often provided free to lure you in!
  2. Speak to a running coach, like me(!), who can provide a gait analysis service and provide you with a report that outlines what you’re doing well and what you should aim to develop (as well as tips for how to do so).
  3. Get someone to record video of you running at a few different speeds (you’ll want side on, front on and from the back views!). Then, watch it back and see what you look like. What do you notice? What would you change?
  4. Watch YouTube videos of professional athletes running – pick those who run similar distances to you and watch how they run.
  5. Check out my blog article here on how to analyse your own running form and use the checklist I provide there!

I hope that helps!

Pacing. Helping Others Achieve Running Success.

Pacing. Helping Others Achieve Running Success.

I want to talk about Pacing. But what is Pacing? Basically, I run 13.1 miles with a flag on my back, sometimes a vest, often just a t-shirt. If I’m really special I get to run with a balloon strapped to my top!!! All of these pacer tools are relevant to the time that I will complete the race in.

 

My name is Delroy Taylor. Well that’s the name my mother gave me! Nowadays just ‘Del’ will do, unless I’m in trouble. I’m 41 and from Warwickshire. I have four of those small humans that I call “bank robbers”, some call them kids! Aged 21 down to 12 years. Married to my wife Michele, we obviously live happily together… when I agree with her!

Why Pacing?

Why Pacing? Since I was small I always wanted to help people even, if there wasn’t anything in it for myself. It was usually the snotty kid at school that had no friends, or the kid last in a race on sports day. Often it was the puppy with a limp that got my attention. Nowadays I’m a manager (boring to some I know)! My time is spent getting the best out of people. Understanding their weaknesses, helping them to grow and working with them closely to improve and achieve their goals. This isn’t that far off from being a pacer.

Fitness background

As a child I was a hurdler. I always wanted to be Colin Jackson. Mother said I was good at jumping over things. Little did she know this was a tactic to avoid being caught by anyone with an ounce of authority! It wasn’t until I grew up that I found long distance running despite being physically active since a young age. I played football from the early age of six up until the tender age of thirty, then when the younger kids got faster the only option was to retire and hit the weights.

Go Hard Or Go Home

I became a gym junkie. Protein shakes; chicken breast the works. The weight and muscle piled on and the mirrors and T-shirts seemed to get smaller and smaller. Who actually enjoys being inside looking at themselves in the mirror? Well, me maybes, at the time… GO HARD OR GO HOME the famous gym moto hey !! I went home alright ….two hospital beds and two operations later for the same stupid shoulder injury.

Running

Next chapter was all I could think of and I needed that fix quickly. I’m not one to rest idle and I knew I needed the next challenge. Michele and I decided to go for a run one afternoon. It wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t quick. Running is something I’ve never had an issue with but long distance’s I’ve never understood (boring or what!).
“Michele lets enter a half marathon” I asked two weeks after we’d ran three 5 kilometres and thought we were the next Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah. That’s how the fairy tale started.

The Pacer

The first ‘half’ we did I can remember watching people around the pacer. He was surrounded like he was some sort of movie star, I kinda wanted a bit of that.. (jokes). I followed the group for ages and thought “that must be such a cool thing to do”. Once I returned home I started to google ‘pacing’ and read up about it and what it entails.
Once I get something in my head I struggle to let it go even if it’s out of my comfort zone. I wanted to learn how to pace and I wanted to learn now. The wife would say this is sometimes obstinate stubbornness and determination and wishes I applied it to home DIY!! I reactivated my twitter account with the thought that, if anyone can help, surely social media would be the place.

Passionate About Pacing

This blog is the first time that I’ve actually ever really spoken about how I got into pacing. I often get contacted by a lot people who want to try pacing and I always give advice when I can. The path wasn’t easy for me. I followed pacers on social media and contacted events myself, all 3000 of them! Only a couple replied positively. At the time nobody helped me despite them saying they would ( they must of forgot me in the midst of all the flat lays)! It’s like any sport or even job interview. We all have to take knock backs. It wasn’t handed to me on a plate. I wasn’t from this background and didn’t know anyone in this arena. Unless you have been around this for years and your circle of friends are involved it’s tough to get a foot in the door.

Rewarding

Pacing is so very definitely rewarding. Whatever time your pacing at. Anybody who enters a race has a goal. Whether it’s a sub 1.30, 2 hour or just to finish smiling. They are all personal to them. Runners rely on pacers to be even and each mile to be the same pace. This way they know if they follow you they will reach their desired time.
However, being a pacer isn’t about running the miles robotically. It’s about encouragement and engagement with those around you. Supporting verbally, sometimes with a song or two and often with a big dose of encouragement in the form of ‘YOU CAN’ being bellowed loudly. It’s never about the pacer, only those around you and the tick, tock of your watch!

Helping Others Achieve

There is nothing more satisfying seeing people try to overcome personal challenges. I am so very fortunate to be able to pace mostly the 2hr group in half marathons. It is a popular time and an obstacle for most runners to break. I don’t pace for the feedback, or nice comments on social media. I know how it feels to want to break a personal target and if I can help others then I will. I have relied on pacers myself. some good, some unfortunately bad, but everyone has bad days at the office. If I can help anyone achieve a goal I absolutely will.

Responsibility

There are some other perks to being a pacer. Occasionally we get free kit and trainers occasionally. However, pacing comes with a lot of pressure. one bad day or bad conditions can affect someone’s race. Sometimes this can lead to a back lash on social media, slating your efforts. This can affect your reputation as you are only as good as your last race. You also have to be brutally honest with yourself and completely selfless. I have had a tough year, pulled out of personal races and also pacing events due to injury as I knew I wouldn’t be able to help people.

2019 – Pacing Marathon Majors

Next year is a big year for me. I have spent a long time pacing half marathons. But for 2019 I have been fortunate enough to be selected to pace for two international races, the Virgin London Marathon and The BMW Berlin marathon. Not only is this a dream come true but works with my own goal of focusing on the 26.2 miles next year and improving my marathon time. I’ve started working with a coaching team, Purdue performance, founded by Charlotte Purdue the GB long distance runner and Adam Clarke, GB middle distance runner and Mo Farah’s training partner. I have never been too proud to ask for help and this has helped me value the role of a pacer even further.

I sometimes have to pinch myself when I say that I’m going to be pacing these events. I feel like a kid in a sweet shop!! What an opportunity and experience for me! From fence jumping, football dreams, protein bars and small t-shirts to international marathon pacing… wow! I will put all my effort and focus in delivering the time on my flag.
Nothing beats the smiles on people’s faces when they cross the finish and knowing you may have helped them!

Be TrueSapien. Challenge Life!

‘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.