How to stay motivated

We asked Pulse 8 member, Colin Blears, to share his fitness journey from IT businessman and entrepreneur to Round the World Yacht Race competitor.  His experience is extraordinary, but, he says entirely achievable.  Read on to find out how he did it and how you can too.

Just a couple of years ago Colin Blears wasn’t an athlete.  At 34 he realised he had been working since the age of 16, almost without a break.  He noticed that his profile was filling out in line with his age.  He had been using the gym in a fairly unengaged way and realised he really needed to make a change.  He decided to set himself a challenge.  He picked the London Marathon. In an unlikely turn of events he was awarded a place and suddenly, with just 16 weeks to get fit, he had to learn to run.

3 tricks for keeping your motivation

“I knew I wasn’t a morning person and there was no point scheduling my training to start as soon as I got up.  I mainly used three training techniques, which I think are what got me through that first marathon. The first trick I learned was to break down my goals into many smaller ones. I found that focussing on smaller goals, which gradually increase in intensity, is far more achievable than focussing on the huge task of running your first marathon.

My second rule is consistency – i.e. not to stop training, not even for injury.  As soon you stop, it becomes much harder to start again.  Injuries shouldn’t lead to a pause in training, but just a change in the training regime, so that the injury is allowed to heal.

The third, essential element was to learn what nutrition would help me achieve my goal.  Identifying the food groups and discovering which foods I should eat for long term energy release were absolutely vital.  High calorie, high sugar foods were useless because they burn off instantly.  So I needed to eat foods that would give me energy for long hours of running.”

Going it alone

“To be honest, deciding to “go it alone” was probably a mistake.  I picked a training programme from the London Marathon website but began to experience considerable pain in my joints.  Initially, I put this down to being unfit but began to share my experiences with members of the gym team. This led to conversations about which trainers I was wearing and even what clothes I was training in.  I soon learned that my shorts were putting pressure on my hips and my trainers were not right for my running style.”

Taking advice

“With the help of the gym team, I also realised I’d picked the wrong training programme.  Natalie helped me to change my training regime to include some really essential elements: 10 to 20 minutes of stretching and 10 to 20 minutes of cool down.  I can honestly say that the contact with the Pulse 8 team was the key to my success! 

I ran the London Marathon in 4 hours and 1 minute.  I’d lost a stone and felt very fit, but what I didn’t find was the “running bug”.  However, I saw a poster for the Round the World Yacht Race and I knew this was something I wanted to try.”

Since this article was written we have learnt that Colin has been offered the opportunity to join a team who are attempting to break the World Record for the fastest transatlantic row. Keeping up the momentum of training for a gruelling 4 month challenge of this magnitude requires another level of motivation altogether. With the help of satellite communication, we’re planning to follow Colin on this journey. We will bring you more information in our newsletter!