Can’t have one without the other – fitness without training is not possible especially if you are a middle-aged largely sedentary male.  So it follows, if this is going to be my year of fitness it also has to be the year of training and, hopefully, i will establish patterns and habits which will serve me for the next fifty years or so – at least until this mid-life crisis abates.

If intentions got you fit and late night dreams got you fitter, i would be an olympian – probably a gold medalist.  But unfortunately good intentions only move you rapidly along that famous highway to hotter regions,

I could open a second hand fitness equipment store


and still have plenty of gear left to keep me fit for a lifetime or two.

I could fuel enough bonfires with my vanities, my lists and my training plans to keep a small town warm during an Arctic winter and still have enough left over for the summer barbeques.


Yesterday i ran a 5k parkrun at my local urban park, Marlay Park.  It was cold and windy but pleasant enough – i certainly didn’t feel that the weather impaired my performance.  I clocked a time of 27 minutes 30 seconds – pretty much dead on average for my 5k time for 2015.


So was it good or bad?

A bit of both – no surprises there, especially for those of you who know my love of paradoxes.

It was good because i’d run a 5k in beautiful Galway city on New Year’s Day to set a standard for 2016.


My time in the Resolution Run in Galway was 27 minutes 33 seconds and my New Year Resolution was that it would be my slowest 5k time for 2016.

So I beat that and maintained my resolution – great.

By three seconds – not so good!

The wake up call for me was that i trained – yes i did – a bit in the gym in Abu Dhabi and in Dublin – during January but all it did was to maintain my [fitness] level.

Not so good at all.

So i’m going to have to take this a little bit more seriously.

Funny thing, when i started running almost four years ago i believed that if i could run a 5k i would be fit – how can a grown man foster such self-delusions?

I’m bringing on board a couple of my heroes – not too many of them left at this stage.

Whatever happened to the heroes?
Whatever happened to the heroes?

Whatever happened to all the heroes?
All the Shakespearoes?
They watched their Rome burn”

– The Stranglers of course

Firstly, the authors behind “Younger Next Year” which i’ve written about before have just published a new book


and the only thing i could disagree about with them is how one should spell ‘programme’.  The book includes a detailed set of active warm-up exercises which i have just started as well as a strenght training program(me) which promises to keep us strong and mobile will beyond our mid-life crises.

What’s not to like.

So i’ve started and i intend to keep it going.  The authors, Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge give lots of advice and encouragement to do just that;

– get started and keep it going.

Great authors, great science, great workouts.

I’ve also discovered another hero – Eric Orton.  I came across him first in that book i wrote about last year ‘Born to Run’ – Eric Orton was the trainer who got Chris McDougall out of his injury spiral and fit and healthy enough to run the Ultra Caballo Blanco as it became known, a 50 mile race through the Copper Canyons of Mexico.

Now Eric has written his own book – on training for sport, specifically running and ultra-running.  It goes by the magic title of “The Cool Impossible”


Eric emphasises strength – strength of feet, legs and core.

Eric also emphasises balance – so that all the subsidiary muscles work hard.

Strength and balance = fewer injuries and better running

It seems to complement the philosophy and training in ‘Younger Next Year’.  So i’m including Eric’s exercises in my routine too.

You need a couple of small pieces of training gear – yes, i know –  but these are important.


and you use them to do these kind of exercises:


thats Eric doing it for himself.

So there we go, my training regime for 2016.  Warm-up flexibility exercises and strength exercises from ‘Younger Next Year’ and leg strengthening exercises from ‘The Cool Impossible’ – what could possibly go wrong.

Oh, and running of course.  I have to do more running.  Not just on the treadmill but also outside.  I have to start clocking up the miles in these dark, damp winter days in Dublin.

Did i mention cold?

When its not damp its cold.

I need to become a hero.


or one year

or one lifetime

or what’s left of it.

Keep training my friends


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