Monday, 22 February 2016

The wanderingly focused mind

 "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat
'I don't much care where -' said Alice
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go' said the Cat
'- so long as I get SOMEWHERE,' Alice added as an explanation.
'Oh you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, 'if you only walk long enough."

Lewis Carroll - Alice in Wonderland

A wandering mind is a wonderful and creative place and we all need time in our day to let it do just that.  We also need to know how to bring it back and focus on the task in hand. 

Just like going out and taking exercise for no other reason than to be out is a very freeing experience, knowing how to deliver a specific training session for a specific reason is also just as important. 

If you are not worried about reaching a particular destination then wander, but if you have a particular goal to aim for then a mixture of the two mind sets will keep you on track.  A wandering mind will let you see other opportunities around you, too much focus and you can miss them, too little focus and you’ll have no idea which way you’re going!

To find out more about having a wandering and focused mind then contact me on

Thursday, 11 February 2016

The Art of doing nothing!

One of the lines in my book ‘How to Thrive through Transition’ is ‘Inaction is a decision and choice.’  This comes from my belief that letting circumstances happen around you, not making decisions because they seem too hard and therefore someone else makes them for you and then you complain that you have no control – is actually the choice you make when you decide not to make a choice – we can’t always change what is happening around us, but we can make a choice about what we do and feel in any given moment.

That’s one type of ‘doing nothing’ the other is the enforced ‘doing nothing’ – due to the fact that a broken arm means I’m not allowed to exercise, currently not even go out for walks!  So how does a physical ‘doing nothing’ effect my mind.

To start with I was making plans for setting up my turbo bike to do gentle peddling indoors just to keep my legs moving, and also going out for walks.  This has been set back at least a week by the Doctor, my arm is doing well but my expectations of how quickly a break heals was based on hope rather than fact (Unfortunately there are no Madam Pomfrey’s local to me!) 

As always I am asking myself questions, checking in with how well I’m thinking.  I’m still coaching on line and coached at the running club on Tuesday.  What I have noticed is that because my body is working hard to heal the break, that my thinking tires more quickly and so having more rest breaks from work during the day, keeps my mind working at a high level.  Also just before lunch seems the optimal time to take on any difficult or tricky tasks, which mean they are done well and more efficiently than doing them first thing or the end of the day (and perhaps having to repeat them later – not a good use of time!)

So although I’m ‘doing nothing’ in a physical sense, I have been given an opportunity to find another level of my understanding of me, that when I am back out training I can use to my advantage.  Understanding when to push, when to pull back, when to let go and when to blast it to the end!  It’s what we call an AFLO moment… (Another F***ing Learning Opportunity)

If you’d like to know more about how you can use your downtime to give you more quality in your training and competing then give me a call.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

A break from the norm...

As many of you know I like to make use of all life experiences to test out the mental skills and strategies theories and how they work in reality. 

10 days ago I broke my arm, not something I would recommend! But it has given me the opportunity to test out how strong the mind body connection is and how positive thought can help heal us.  Now having never broken a bone before I can only go on what is happening now.

First off, rather than getting down about the fact I’ve had to cancel 3 runs/races I had planned in March and my first 100 mile sportive in May is looking decidedly dodgy, I decided that I would use the next 8 weeks to work on healing as quickly as possible to become stronger physically and mentally. 

Using visualisation to think about the bones reconnecting and making a strong connection, blood flowing into the area to help heal the break.  Also focusing on how I can stay fit during these weeks so that I can start training as soon as I can (without coming back too quickly!). So currently no running, swimming or cycling… but I have a plan as soon as the Doctor says I’m allowed to start gentle activity.  By using a turbo trainer at home I can keep my legs moving and by doing walks I can get outside and clear the cobwebs physically and mentally.  Building back up slowly.  This will also mean making sure the rich oxygenated blood will be flowing round into the muscles of my arm and continuing to help the healing process.

Is it working? Well Tuesday morning, a week after the break, I was at the fracture clinic and everything has aligned well, my arm aches but has no pain.  Another week and another x-ray will confirm all is on track.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get to ask the Doctor any questions as he seemed unable to say hello, tell me his name or talk to me apart from to say come back next week.  I’m going to assume he was at the end of a long shift and needed coffee (at least he didn’t tell me to look it up on the internet!)

Another week of positive thinking and immobilisation and hopefully a conversation next week will give more answers.  I am currently changing my training plans to still be able to complete my 64 mile run in August.

If you want to know more about how you can positively think through an unexpected injury or setback and be able to recover well mentally then contact me.