Don't do it by yourself!

My family is crazy (I’m sure they will love me putting this in here) but they really are. I remember vividly the moment in my life when this was confirmed. I was competing in my second Ironman and had completed the 3.8km swim and I was around the 100km mark in the bike leg. At this stage of the race I found myself in the middle of nowhere and starting to feel a little tired. The long straight roads seemed to be never-ending  and my mind was starting to struggle.

I made a slight turn in the road and off in the distance there was a group of people dressed in wild outfits with bright wigs to match and the noise they were generating was like there were hundreds of them, not the actual five that were there. They seemed to be giving every single athlete the support they needed as they passed by them.

The closer I got to this bunch of misfits the more I realised who they were. Around 500 meters before I got to them another athlete road beside me and said, ‘aren’t these guys great, they’re crazy!’, I turned to him and with pride said ‘yeah, that’s my family’. When I road past them they gave me the greatest boost which made me forgot about the struggle I was having and I’ll of a sudden I was smiling from ear to ear.

While trying to achieve a goal can be a personal journey, we all need some level of support from those around us to do achieve it.  We don’t have to do this by ourselves and you’ll find that you’ll do a much better job if you can recruit a team of great people who understand what you are trying to achieve, how they can help and what you need from them to help you grow.

When you sit down to plan a goal ask yourself who can help you achieve success and how will they do this? By communicating your goal and needs with these people all of a sudden you’ll feel that you have a team of people around you that are lifting you up on their shoulders.

I know I couldn’t have achieved any of my goals in my life if I hadn’t had the amazing support team that is my crazy friends and family. 


Motivation for a man, sex

James, my editor, asked me to write something about men’s health for this week’s piece as you have no doubt seen that the paper is doing a whole section on it. 

‘Men’s health, where to start?’, I asked myself. So I did what most intelligent, fitness professional do, I went straight to Google. After typing men's health in search a common theme came up, sex. This did make me smile. Out of curiosity, I thought I would do a search for women’s health. For some strange reason sex did not come up, they seem to be a lot more interested in pregnancy, healthy bones and all that boring stuff.  

Don’t worry I’m not going to give advice on sex today, as if I could, but I thought I could cover how being healthier can help your performance in this vital area. Basically I’m trying to use this as a form of motivation for exercise.  

When you think about it sex is a physical act and while there are lots of factors that create good sex your physically wellbeing is definitely a contributing factor. The lifestyle choices we make do play a big part in the experience you will have. Poor nutrition, smoking, high stress, too much alcohol and being overweight have all been scientifically proven to cause problems like suppressed testosterone, depressed libido, erectile disfunction to name a few. 

If you do find that you are struggling to function in this area it may be time to have a good look at the lifestyle choices you are making and see if you can improve on them. What I find interesting is that when you ask most people about healthy choices they do know what they need to do, the hard bit is the doing. Spend some time identifying the areas you need to improve on and develop a strategy that will help you make better choices. Once you have a strategy – start implementing it, you may need to enlist the help of family, partners or professional support. 

It may be a slow process but if you commit to assessing your lifestyle regularly and continually changing your bad choices into healthy ones there’s a big chance you will see an improvement in your sexual experiences. And if my research, well the google search I did, has taught me anything, this seems to be pretty important to us men.


Half Marathon tips

With the Christchurch Marathon fast approaching I thought I would write a piece for people doing the Half Marathon. In giving advice I’m going to make the following assumptions: You have actually stuck to a programme where your body is physically prepared for this challenge, you will have tapered for the race and you have some understanding of what kind of time you will do.  

The first piece of advice I want to give is know your pace. When you are physically prepared and have tapered for a race you should be feeling great on race morning.  Many people start the race and go faster than they normally would because they feel so good. This mistake that can cost you time plus also make the last part of the race a negative experience. To avoid this happening, set your goal time based on your training times and then use a marathon calculator (search google) to help you figure out your kilometer splits. This way you will know how many minutes you should take to complete each kilometer  (the race has markers out for every km in the race so it is easy to gauge). You want to be sitting on an exertion level of about 7.5/10 in the first 10-15km of the race. This is where you are a little bit uncomfortable but you know you can hold this pace for a long time. Then around the last 5km you can aim to pick up the intensity for a strong finish.  

My next piece of advice would be: control what you can when the going gets tough. Around the last 5km of the race you may start to physically and mentally battle. This is when we can often lose focus which can cost us a lot of time. The first thing you want to do is identify when you are starting to struggle. Once you have done this you then need to ask yourself ‘what is the best thing I can do right now to achieve my best result?’.  This question is designed to get you to do a mental checklist over all the things you can still control. For example focusing on good technique, setting small targets, getting some fluid in and so on. By controlling what you can there’s a better chance of achieving  result you will be happy with.  

A Half Marathon is a wicked race, go out and enjoy it!