I need professional help.

After the Hillary at the start of the year I suddenly seemed to lose all my gained fitness and plateaued on the weight loss front. This year I’ve set myself the mantra of no event under 10km and the ultimate goal of the 34km Hillary next year (which entries have just opened, so don’t miss out). Something that came clear pretty quickly was that to really have a good go at making serious gains and achieve my goals I was going to need to get some professional help.

I’d toyed with the idea of some coaching last year during the Xterra Series, when I saw that they put on skill sessions but I never got round to it. I’d also looked at a few of the other coaches in Auckland but due to a serendipitous chain of events Chris Mckeown returned home to start Health Strive with his fiancée, Asia, who happens to be a nutritionist (so a double whammy training team).

Getting a coach seemed like overkill for someone of my running ability (or lack there of), me not being a very strong or quick runner. In the past running has only been part of the sports I played or training for the sport. Rugby training focused on scrums, lineouts and tricky back line moves but how you get there no one cared, and for rowing it was just for fitness.

I’ve know Chris from when he rowed with my younger brother at high school, and from that our mothers bonded through a shared love of wine and Bacardi. Through the Mothers Bush Telegraph Network I was told that Chris was returning from his OE and that it might be worth contacting to see if he’d be able to help me.

In my first sit down with Chris, I found out that he’s been training people for the past 5 years from those that have never run to people out to pb marathons, and for you nutters out there; people that were training for the Gobi March, Comrades, UTMB and The Coast to Coast. Chris is a runner himself having run everything from 5km to 100km, road and trail – so his experience and passion really shows through in the training that he’s been putting me through. Also being based in Greenhithe, he’s conveniently on my way home.

Sweet, I thought, that is exactly what I’m after – not a personal trainer who would just sent me out for a run but rather someone that will make me a better runner. Turns out I need more than just more km’s under my feet. So I have been prescribed a mixture of strength, mobility and running technique. I have come to the conclusion that most of these drills are designed more to make me look like an idiot first and foremost and better runner second.

After nearly 3 months I am definitely noticing a change in my running. I’ve started to move to my forefoot from a heel strike, my pace has picked up and there is the start of something going on in my core. Where I’d just been running with no real plan, I now have a training structure of technique, speed work and long runs. Chris has also been able to advise me the best way to recover for the myriad of niggly injuries I keep picking up.

Other than cutting out the crap food as much as I can, I haven’t really put the same effort into the nutrition side of things as I have into the getting moving side. While I have dropped a reasonable amount of weigh things have definitely slowed down more than I would like. Now with the double threat of Chris and Asia I have been given the start of a nutrition plan with threats of more to come. Which thus far has me cutting out bread and bread like products – so basically no more happiness as I love a good sammie.

If you’re interested in getting a bit of advice and help to further your running ambitions I’d recommend talking to Chris. Along with one on one training he offers group training and, with Asia’s input, nutritional advice. You can check out their website at www.healthstrive.co.nz his email is: chris@healthstrive.co.nz

All this will be put to the test this weekend with the kick off of the Xterra Auckland series and the Riverhead event. A course that 2 weeks ago was a dry fast trail, but thanks to the onset of winter, reports now put the condition as deep mud. This will be the first real test of my Icebug Zeals which I’ve been looking forward to testing out, and with everything coated with Fend I’ll be easy to clean up after.

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