In my early twenties, I was a total wreck. Alcoholic, chain smoking, junk food eater who had dropped out of university, had a total breakdown, ending up trying to kill myself with drug overdoses not once but twice.
Then I discovered running and it saved my life. I discovered that running outside in the fresh air was a great way to relieve stress, sleep better, be more mentally sharp and just feel a whole lot better about myself and the world around me.
I joined a club and raced over many distances from 1500 metres on the track to half marathon and eventually beyond. I loved the rush of racing, seeing how fast I could go and the more I did the faster I got. I even started winning some smaller races, despite my legs being half the length of the guys around me! I was regularly racing at 5:15 to 5:30 mile pace.
I retired from this kind of running in my mid thirties, but in my early fifties developed a love of triathlon, inspired by the Ironman ideal. At 58 I finally completed the Ironman distance after 6 years of training! Such a wonderful feeling and something that nobody can ever take away.
I had also begun to develop a love for ultra distance running and did a few 100 kilometre races. Then I ran the entire length of the Pembrokeshire coastal path in 7 days - nearly 300 kilometres and 35,000 feet of elevation - more than the ascent of Everest! Probably the greatest achievement of my life so far.
Now I enjoy helping others to achieve their running goals and to encourage non-runners to start running. Because of my own experiences I see running as not just running but a clear pathway to a better life and to becoming a better person.
Whatever your situation, running can save you and give you a new sense of freedom in your life and change your world completely, as it did me.
The Roads to Freedom Method
Running can be challenging, especially if you are racing for place or time or if you are new to running, but you must enjoy it too.
It's not just about feeling better when you stop or being able to eat more cake!
Whilst we shouldn't perhaps become too obsessed with running to the exclusion of eveything else, we need to understand that doing it better isn't just a matter of more miles or harder intervals.
To get the most out of our running we need to adopt an holistic approach and that's exactly what we do at Roads to Freedom.
Nutrition, stress, sleep, recovery are all recognised as a critical part of being able to run with freedom and pleasure and we provide expert guidance on these, within the context of your lifestyle and goals.
As an experienced and well qualified personal trainer and human movement specialist, I'm also concerned that you should be able to move freely and efficiently, both to reduce injury risk and to maximise your running pleasure and performance. This may involve strengthening and mobilising work, but is mostly aimed at getting all the parts to work in sync in a balanced way.
Good running gait is also very imporant and follows on from good posture and walking gait. Tiny changes to these and running form can often lead to big improvements immediately.
I suppose I'm a long way from being either a traditional PT or a typical running coach, but I do find that my holistic approach to running gets the best results for my clients because it addresses all elements, not just speed, not just strength, not just mobility. Ultimately, I do what works for the individual and different clients have different needs