It’s time to address the elephant in the room

A long time ago (over 2 years ago in fact) I wrote this post about why diet is the missing link from my training.

4 reasons why my diet is the missing link to my training.

Though a few things have changed since then, broadly speaking most of it hasn’t.  I am still around 18kg overweight for my ideal running weight, which means every time my foot hits the floor 18kg more weight is flowing down through my leg and impacting the ground.

According to this article Ground reaction forces when walking or running, as your foot strikes the ground you exert somewhere between 2.0 and 2.9 times bodyweight through that foot.  So in my case, at 90kg I am putting 180-260kg through each foot each time it hits the ground. If I was to lose 15kg, so I was running at 75kg, this would reduce the impact to 150-217kg each time my foot lands.  So a reduction of 30-47kg per foot strike.  If we take a middle figure of 40kg for each foot fall, and work out that over a marathon distance I probably have around 50,000 individual foot strikes, that is a total reduction of a whopping 2,000,000kg less weight going through my limbs.  2 MILLION KG !!!!!!

indian-elephant-264749_1280An average fully grown elephant weights 5000kg.  So due to being overweight, I am exerting the equivalent of 400 fully grown elephants through my body and into my feet for every marathon distance I run.  Staggering really.

Also this is a very good indication as to why marathons are so tough.  You have to condition your body to take all of this weight through your feet.  Luckily for us, we are Born to Run (if you haven’t read that book and you run, or even if you don’t run, then you really should), I passionately believe in running in minimalist shoes (I actually prefer sandals) and I know I can condition myself to complete marathons at almost any weight,

But my challenge is not a marathon.  My challenge is an Ultra Marathon.  100 miles of Ultra Marathon in fact.  So carrying even 1kg of extra weight is simply not an option.

So it is time to lose weight.  I have a plan for this, but that can wait for another blog post.  So in the interim, if you are a keen runner and are looking to increase your performance or endurance, addressing the elephant in the room could be a good place for you to start.





Everything is in place………I might just pull this off

For the first time since I undertook the challenge to complete an Ironman I am starting to feel that it might just be possible.

When I first told my loved ones of my intention to compete in an Ironman Triathlon I received the following comments:

My Mum         – “Are you sure James.  It sounds like a lot to take on”
My Friends     – A mixture of utter astonishment and general sniggering
My Nan          – “Well my dentist does Triathlons dear and he is much fitter than you”
Cat (my wife) – “You’re going to die”

Now of course all of these comments were completely fair.  I was out of shape.  Very out of shape.  I weighed over 16 stone, couldn’t run to the end of the road without stopping, hadn’t ridden a bike since I was about 10 and the last time I swam anywhere was when I swam from the side of the pool to the pool bar on honeymoon.

Over a year later and things are rather different.  For the first time in forever (to quote from Frozen) I am starting to feel fit.  Weight is slowly dropping off, despite my tendencies to eat entire bags of Doritos and quite a bit of chocolate.  Also I have recently had a great success………..

I CAN RUN !!!!!!!!

All be it not very far (haven’t done more than 6k for a while) but I have no shin pain, the post run calf pain is starting to disappear and I am really starting to feel very positive about this whole endeavour.

Good thing too, as I have a charity place for the Brighton Marathon.  Bushy and I are running for Chestnut Tree House, which is the hospice that cared for Amber and her family, towards the end of her fight with Neuroblastoma.  The marathon is in April and is a great target to aim for.  I can’t wait to strap on my Luna Sandals on the start line, raising some money for this incredible charity and ticking off an important milestone on my way to the Ironman in September.

Some of my regular readers may wonder how I have suddenly managed to start running injury free and why I am starting to feel a lot more fit all of a sudden.  I can put this down to a few factors.  The first one is my discovery of barefoot/minimalist running.  To do this topic justice would require an entirely separate blog post and it is my intention to post this soon.  The second reason is down to one man, Mr Trevor “Tufty” Payne.

Trevor runs two Triathlon training sessions at a gym here in Portsmouth.  The first one is a mobility class, perfect for improving my flexibility and mobility (which is something I sorely need).  The second session is a Bike/Mobility/Swim or a Bike/Run/Swim session.  Lasting 2.5 hours, this is an intense workout and is absolutely superb.

Bushy and I have been attending these sessions for over a month, with Curry joining us recently.  Trevor is an ex professional Triathlete, specialising in Iron distance races during his career.  He is a superb coach (even if he does take the piss out of Bushy and I rather a lot) and I find his sessions hugely inspirational.  He has given me exercises to do at home which I do every day, agreed to write me a training plan specific to Challenge Weymouth and is generally a huge asset to my training.  

So to wrap up this post I would like to say a thank you to Trevor for his help so far and for his excellent training sessions that I love attending.  I was never really a believer in having a “coach”; however I am very glad I met Trevor and can’t wait to see just how fit he can get me ahead of Challenge Weymouth.  I must also mention a special thanks to Josh Smith, who is one of the readers of my blog and was the person who put me onto Trevor in the first place.  Look forward to doing some training with you when you are back in the UK Josh.

Finally to all of the readers of this blog and to those of you who have sent me nice comments about it, a huge thank you to you all.  I’m really starting to love all this training and am pleased that as the winter progresses I will be able to share with you my increasing fitness and join as many of you as I can for a run/swim/bike, or perhaps just a pint!



PS – If any of you are looking for a Triathlon or Fitness coach please check out Trevor’s website.  You won’t regret getting in touch with him.

Barefeet – the way forward

As some of you who read my blog and others of you who have seen me do it will know, I recently converted to running barefoot.

My reasoning was sound.  I have suffered running injuries for years and was searching to understand why.  I read some books, converted to barefoot running and have been injury free ever since.  Granted I haven’t done mega mileage barefoot, but I have done enough to be confident if I continue this way I will strengthen my feet and be a lot less injury prone.

I am intending on doing a big write up on this with links and information in the next few days.  In the interim (and to whet your appetite) here is an article on how to choose children’s shoes that will get you thinking a bit.