Sunday, 29 April 2018


"I don't feel like it ... it's too hot, it's cold ... I'm tired, I can't be bothered" ... it's so easy not to. This is how it starts ... the beginning of the end -  the thin end of a wedge of tomorrows  until tomorrow never comes. Your mind and body adapt quite quickly to conditions so beware the downward spiral of the less you do the less you feel like doing.

A fish rots from the head down 

So much of this is in the mind ... to get things done ... use your mind as a motivator, commit and make a start and the more you do the more you feel like doing - get on an upward spiral.

“Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”  ~ Benjamin Franklin

Lace up your trainers and go ... you can only do so much preparation and planning - make a start, adapt and adjust along the way. 

The conditions for every run cannot be perfect, in fact they rarely ever are ... its the way of the world that not all the signs are aligned at the same time and you have to make do with what you have - this is what makes a life and life is what you make it.

Sometimes its best to leave the mind out of it and get into a routine so its something that you just do ...  going running every Saturday afternoon for example means that you organise around the running. Be careful not to let the routine become a rut for when a pleasure becomes a habit its no longer a pleasure - just use the routine to get you started and commitment as a way to argue why not rather than why.

Do not fear failure but rather fear not trying.” 
 ~ Roy T. Bennett,

There have been plenty of times when I've made up my mind to run and just gone, using the commitment and the impulse as motivation and many of these runs have been the best experiences and the most memorable. Its been really cold with ice on the ground and snow falling ... I've thought ... lets give it a go - I've had to adapt and change routes along the way due to the cold but runs like this are a different experience. Its been hot, cold raining and I've not felt like it but quite often I think its better to have run than not to have run at all. You can learn a lot this way ... if you don't do it you will never know and you will never learn ... for example how to deal with the heat and better prepare for it or that rain when you are running is nowhere as bad as you might think it is .. in fact it can be quite nice :)

Give it a go, make up your mind, make a commitment so that you persuade yourself why not rather than why. 

It isn't enough to pick a path - you must go down it.
~ Ed Catmull

"Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."
 ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson

Friday, 2 February 2018

Imagine Have Vision

I don't mean become an armchair athlete and imagine running ... I'm talking about those times when you don't feel like running and are looking for excuse to hit the armchair instead - imagine what its like to run to get yourself in the mood. When I'm looking for excuses not to go for a run I visualise running that ridge or remember the enjoyment of running certain routes - the wind in my hair, the sun on my face, even the feel of the cold of a winters day run across frosty fields.

“A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more.” ~ Rosabeth Moss Kanter


"Vision without action is merely a dream." 
~ Joel A. Barker

When the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak use your imagination to get motivated, put mind over matter, imagine where you want to go, put on your trainers and go there ... before you change your mind :)

"Don't dream it, be it" 
~ Rocky Horror Picture Show ("Fanfare/Don't Dream It")

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” 
~ Warren G. Bennis

The full quote from Joel Barker is

"Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world." 

So many of us just pass the time .. acting without vision following the herd.

"And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun" ~ Pink Floyd (Time

Vision helps give life meaning ... it gives direction and purpose ... its a guide for choosing current and future courses of action - it provides a filter to separate what's important from what's not.

Without vision obstacles and setbacks can seem like roadblocks and the end of the road. Vision gives direction ... not a detailed plan to follow - if one way is blocked then try another.

Vision should motivate not dictate ... it's not a detailed plan to follow but a direction.

“Ones vision is not a road map but a compass.” 
~ Peter Block

So ... when you feel you can't be bothered to make an effort to turn your dreams into reality ... remember what Edgar Allan Poe said 

“The best things in life make you sweaty.” 

Sunday, 31 December 2017


Exercise, enjoyment, pain, punishment, fashion, competition, job ... people run for all sorts of reasons but whatever the reason ... you might as well make it enjoyable. There are plenty of things in life we have to do - its not always possible to make these things enjoyable .. at most we might be able to make them tolerable but with running .. why not enjoy it. Life can be stressful enough as it is ... step away from the computer, get a bit of fresh air and exercise - go for a run - its good for you. Don't stress out about running ... you can run to get away from all that - if you have to stop ... make the most of it - stop, look and listen - run while you still can and appreciate and enjoy what is around you.

“Enjoy life. There's plenty of time to be dead.”  
Hans Christian Andersen

We only get one life - enjoy it as best you can. Don't be driven, be motivated live for love rather than duty ... love life and  live a life of passion, enthusiasm and excitement.

"if you love life, life will love you back." 
~  Arthur Rubinstein

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Run While You Still Can

"You Don't Know What You Have Until It's Gone"

A few months ago I injured my knee quite badly ...I could hardly walk let alone run .. .it made me realise that my running days may be over - this got me thinking ....

"There is a time and place for everything"
"Strike while the iron is hot"

If you don't take the opportunity while you can then you may never be able to again. We don't live forever and we deteriorate as we get older ... its just not as easy to do so many things when we are older so its best to do them while we can otherwise we may never get to do them at all or that when we want to do them we find we can't. Its certainly the case that running isn't as easy as walking when you are older so its best to do it while your body is able otherwise the spirit might be willing but the flesh could be too weak.

"Shoulda woulda coulda are the last words of a fool" ~ Beverley Knight

Luckily my knee recovered slowly over several weeks - I took slow careful walks over longer and longer distances and eventually felt confident enough for a short gently jog - my knee was OK and so I started to increase distance again and am able to run again.

It's cold now and for a couple of weeks I have had a chest infection and haven't been running but I'm feeling better now and while its easy to just put things off I am aware that if I don't make the effort and don't do it then it could just fade away.

 I am still able to run so I will run while I still can.

Friday, 7 July 2017


When they go out running a lot of people plug in their earphones ... it can be enjoyable running along to your favourite music while for others its about performance rather than experience ... running regardless ... cutting yourself off from the world around you - you might as well be on a treadmill in the gym or in some virtual reality simulation.

I've never run with earphones - preferring instead to listen to the world around me as I run through it ... the animals and the people ... bird song, children playing, snippets of conversation and even the silence of a remote area on a hot still summers day.  On some busy roads I wouldn't mind having earplugs let alone earphones although in such circumstances its important to listen .. to hear as well as see if a car is slowing down as you both approach a junction or to hear that car that comes up behind you to turn left across your path at the junction ahead.

"The art of conversation lies in listening." 
 ~ Malcom Forbes

Don't run regardless .. its important not only to listen to the world around you but to listen to yourself - listen to your mind and your body before, during and after a run and adjust according to what you "hear". That little niggle in your ankle .. should you skip the run until its gone or start off slowly and adjust or stop as you go along. How do you feel ... listen and adjust ... go further or more challenging if you are "up for it" or if feeling tired or not in the mood ... adjust ... run easier and see how it goes. Keep listening to yourself and keep adjusting - is it easier running more upright, or with shorter strides, feeling tired .. what happens if you put in a faster burst  ... experiment, listen, adjust, listen.

“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” 
~ Dalai Lama

"Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd have preferred to talk.
~ Doug Larson

As in running so in life ... 

"If You Want to be Understood...Listen" 
~ tag line of the film Babel

I can't help thinking that ears look a lot like question marks ... listen ... don't just hear ... listen to learn active listener asks questions.

“We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.” 
― Zeno of Citium

Don't just live regardless ... stop, look, listen and learn - develop situational awareness - have a conversation with the people and the world around you and with yourself and adjust accordingly. 

"We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.

"We have mouths that close and ears that don't, that must tell us something"

Sunday, 25 June 2017


"You can observe a lot by just watching" ~ Yogi Berra 

If you are only interested in measuring stuff you might as well do it in a lab where conditions are stable .. measure your speed, distance, heart rate etc with your head down looking at the treadmill in a gym.

If you are running outside then you may as well make the most of it ... take a look around. Running is human powered movement at the speed of thought - it's a wonderful way to discover your community and to see the world around you.

I like seeing how the scenes I run through change over time  ... how people and places change with the seasons. A park in winter might be empty, wet and grey or crisp and bright with frost or snow. A park in summer might be full of life and colour - full of people, flowers and animals .. birds, insects, dogs etc. Its all part of our world and so easy to miss if you keep you head down.

While running I like looking out for new routes, things of interest and places to explore  .. wondering where a path might lead and if not taking it at random this time then noting it for another time.  

"Look out" ... looking around is essential to keep yourself safe ... particularly  along roads and especially at junctions. So many times motorists like to get ahead of you so that for some perverse reason you don't hold them up but making eye contact with them behind the wheel helps humanise them and they usually slow down to let a runner across ... you are faster than a pedestrian anyway and don't take that much time. You haven't got mirrors so be sure to listen out and look behind to check a car isn't coming up to turn across you if you are approaching a junction in the same direction as the traffic.

"To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe." ~  Marilyn vos Savant

If you keep your head down and treat life as a race to be run, then when the race has been run the race is all you will have known. On the journey of life look around and appreciate the people, places and the world you live in as you 

If you keep your head down you will miss seeing new things, opportunities and directions ... you will just keep running the same race and everyday will be groundhog day.

When things get tough its tempting to "hunker down", put the "nose to the grindstone" and plough on. Putting your "nose to the grindstone" can make things worse ... it can be like putting your head in the sand but focusing on the ground under your nose means you will not see the way the path goes further ahead .. not realising you are going round in circles or that you might run into a dead end, a brick wall or worse. It's often better to go heads up, zoom out, see the bigger picture see where the path goes and what other paths lay ahead.

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They're really saying I love you

I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world

Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world"

What A Wonderful World

Tuesday, 9 May 2017


Ray Mathews having a sit down .. at 75 he ran 75 marathons in 75 days

When I first started running I never stopped ... I had the idea in my mind that real runners didn't stop ... that it didn't count if you stopped. If you felt tired, had the stitch or some pain you just had to "man up" and run through it.  I was switching off to keep going and get the fastest times in that I could.

A conversation with a real runner (Liam O'hare) back in the summer of 2007 changed my attitude to running completely.

Liam running in the Men’s Surrey League Cross Country 16 January 2016

"Its OK to stop" ... coming from someone who had run marathons in under two and a half hours this went straight to my core and caused me to reassess what I had been doing and so I began a different journey with running ... rather keeping my head down and zoning out to achieve times or distance I started running in a whole new way ... I "zoned in" and enjoyed running a whole lot more and walked a bit or stopped when I needed to or when I just felt like it - to appreciate the scenery for example. On 15 mile runs I would walk for a couple of minutes or so around 11 miles just to keep moving but its only when I got caught in a thunderstorm and had to stop and take cover that I appreciated the rejuvenating effects of actually stopping for a bit. After a short stop I found it was almost like starting again.

Taking a break and stopping what you are doing is rejuvenating, refreshing and helps with new insights. I first found this out for myself when a student at university .. I would often find that I miraculously had a solution to a problem after taking a break to make a cup of coffee for example. I noticed this so many times that I deliberately take breaks when I'm not stuck and let my mind wander to let ideas new emerge from my brain's default mode network. I also deliberately take breaks with some random "noise" ... usually the radio - I'm a great believer in serendipity  ... some random word or phrase on the radio can lead to new insights.

You are not a machine ... you are human ... having a rest can work wonders.