Wednesday, 29 December 2010


Welcome to the second part of my mini series on fitness, in which I attempt to apply the principles of physical fitness to life!

Stamina ( <<click there to see the first one!)
♥ Speed
♥ Strength
♥ Skill
♥ Suppleness

Speed is an interesting one, certainly my first thought when it comes to speed is that the faster you can go, the better. I cast my mind back to the last time I actually sprinted (400m relay, year nine I think), and much as I was not one of the sporty kids, I didn't mind it so much, because well - its over so quickly! Regardless of how much your lungs were caving in, the muscles in your legs screaming and the taste of blood on your lips, it was all over in under 30 seconds. The real bitch was cross country.

I was in that poor group at the back, the one the PE teachers used to call 'the pie munchers'. Seriously. The trick with cross country was to pace yourself, and well - due to utter lack of fitness, I didn't have a lot of scope to pace myself with! This - and you have no idea how truly I wish there was an alternative - can only be improved by further excercise. The cruelty of it!

So lets apply this to life, its fairly obvious. There are two kinds of speed we need to apply - urgency, giving something our full effort and attention. Then there's the long haul, knowing yourself, making cautious judgements, pacing yourself - knowing when to regroup, and knowing when to push yourself. We in the student world are approaching one of these times - exam revision. Its many a student made the disastrous call of working tirelessly for their first exam, only to forget all about the one the day after. You've got to play the long game, look at the big picture.  Equally, its no good thinking about other exams when you're sat in that hall. You need to know when to pace, and when to push.

Heres some quotes on running and pace...

"I always loved was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs."
-Jesse Owens

"The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare."
-Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winner

"If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion." - Robert Pirsig

"Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day."
 – Winnie The Pooh (!)

If you go too slowly, you aren't going to make any progress. If you go too fast, you're going to exhaust yourself. Get to know yourself - get to know the things that you can take head on, and the things you need to give yourself time for. I know some people who get over a break up in a week, others take months. And either is ok, because people who need more time for some things are quicker at others. And, like Winnie the Pooh said - there is no hurry. What are we actually racing towards anyway? Maybe its a job, a qualification, a relationship, some particular goal, I don't know. Setting a good pace is not always setting the fastest possible pace. Heres some thoughts I had on pacing...

♥ Spend time getting to know your areas of fitness. Look back over things, and ask how difficult did you find it? Is there some way you could make it easier for yourself in the future?
♥ Practice - like with running, some things can only be improved with practice. When the time comes for you to push yourself, it will be a million times easier if you've prepared.
♥ Don't be afraid to take time to rest and recooperate- this is just as crucial to reaching your goal as the actual doing, because the quality of your output will not be as good if you are not at your best.
♥ Know that no matter how well you pace yourself, there are going to be times when your lungs are about to cave in, the muscles in your legs are screaming, and the taste of blood is on your lips. Accept it. Be ready for it. When the time comes, deal with it.
♥ Be as fit as you can in other ways - the better your stamina, skill and so on, the easier it will be to run the race. Look after yourself!



  1. I love to run, in all walks of life! I don't feel like I'm completely alive unless I'm rushing myself or getting stressed out over doing things. I know that sounds so rediculous and self destructive, and maybe it is! But I work best when I'm on the edge and feeling exhausted, I like to work really hard until breaking point, then have a nice break, maybe a week or so, to recharge my batteries. I like the extreme feeling :) It's awesome! But like you said, certainly not for everyone. I love these blogs you're doing Rio, looking forward to the next entry :) hope you had a great christmas

  2. "Pie Muncher"! That made me laugh!
    Love your blogs keep them up!


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