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My Journey to 10km

21 January 2015

I was thinking about running a few weeks back and I why I loved it, and why I loved coaching people to run.

I was thinking back to the time when I was in my early 20’s and I’d go for a two mile run and then immediately treat myself a Chinese takeaway. I could get away with it back then. I could go for a ‘small’ run, have my curry and still wake up the next morning and jump right back in to my 26” waist jeans.

Fast forward 15 years and I've just turned 40. I don’t eat as many curries as I did back then and certainly don’t wear 26” jeans, but I do still run. And I love it.

Like most people, I started jogging all those years ago to combat the effects of over-indulgence at the weekends, but over the years I've grown to really enjoy 'pounding' the pavement – but only in the last 5 years or so. And here’s why.

During my 5 years working in gyms, I was taking up to 25 classes per week, ranging from spinning to core to aqua-aerobics. I didn’t have the time or need to run. I was keeping fit just by going to work and taking classes.

However, all of that changed in 2010. I left my gym job to work for myself, which meant I wasn’t going to be taking so many classes. Suddenly, I had to find another way to burn off around 7,500 calories per week or I was going to get fat very quickly. So out came the running shoes!

But it wasn't an easy transition from the spin bike to the pavement, unfortunately.

I remember going on my first run back in February 2011 and nearly dying. I was flabbergasted that being so fit from spinning 8 times a week, doing 100s of burpees & chasing around a gym for 8 hours a day I wasn't able to put my jogging shoes on and run 5 miles.

I was right back at the start, plodding and struggling to breath and hurting after just a few hundred yards.

I had the knowledge from my studies in health and fitness, but now I had to put it in to practice. I persevered, step by step, and slowly built myself up towards the 8km (5 mile) mark by April.

A bunch of the Bounce Fitness gang had entered in to the Urban Trails (4km & 8km) race that month and I was determined to run it with them without any problem.

That was a big day for me, and for quite a few of the Bounce gang. The race was seriously good fun. We had all started our running journey roughly around the same time and had an amazing day out. As everyone crossed the finish line, the cheers got louder and louder. The sense of achievement amongst us all was fantastic. Accomplishment is so much better when its shared with your friends. I still have the photos of that day, and in my 8 years as a personal trainer, they're some of my favourites.


The first hurdle was crossed. I was hooked. It was only a matter of how far I’d go now. By this time it was almost summer, the days were longer and it was easier to pop on my trainers and head out for a jog.

It wasn’t until I hit the 10km mark, however, that I really that running was my thing. Once I passed that mark, I was no longer a novice who simply hit the road a couple of times a week to keep the calorie monsters away. I felt a change that now I could call myself a ‘runner’ - someone who does it for the love of it.

I had conquered the 5km, the 8km and now the 10km was mine. It was then I started to believe I could run any distance.

Some of my favourite races to this day have been 10kms. In all of the big events and races I've run since, some of my favourites have been the 10kms. It’s a special distance because it’s a very achievable distance for almost anyone and it’s a distance that will always challenge even the best runner. You see, the better you get at it, the better you want to get at it – if you get me!? My ultimate goal is to run a sub-45 minute 10km and I'm not far off.

And that’s why the 10km is so special to me. It was a catalyst for all of the bigger races that I went on to run and it still challenges me today.

I've done it, so now I want to help others do it too.

Since then in my running classes, I’ve helped upwards of 100 people run 5km, 10km, 10 miles, half marathon and even the big one – the Dublin marathon.

Running is a fantastic way of getting fit, losing weight and discovering a brand new sense of freedom in your life. Its extremely liberating.

And that’s what got me thinking a few weeks back. How many people aspire to find the same love of running that I did? Maybe you see joggers out on a Sunday morning and wished you could do that. Perhaps you can already run a few kms, have tried the mini marathon, walked a bit, run a bit, but would love to run the entire thing.

So last week I decided to get a group of 10-20 girls and guys together and help them reach that goal. I've designed a 12 week program to help the complete beginner from the couch to the very special 10km mark.

The program will start at the very basics, teaching breathing and posture and gradually building you up from 100 meters to 10 kilometres in just 12 short weeks. After that, its the stars. You can achieve anything.

If you’d like to join us on our 10km journey, just click the link below. There you will find all the details of my course. We start on February 2nd.

All it takes is just a little belief and dedication. And I believe that anyone can achieve it. I believe in you. And so do your team-mates.

Come and join our team and see your true potential, because it's your turn to shine!


Chat soon,




Part one..

It was late 2008. August, I think. A random Saturday - a day like any other that was going to change everything. Back then, I was engaged to be married, overweight, bearded (not in a sexy 2014 way!), going bald and miserable in a job I truly hated. I had been made redundant some 12 months earlier and was spinning around a life that had no solid future, or at least clear view of the future. 

I didn't want to be a taxi driver. I had so much more to contribute than driving strangers around Dublin. It was a lazy decision I had made when the news was broken that the hotel I had worked in for 12 years was to close. Rather than go and do something useful with myself, something that might require a bit of effort, I decided to go for the easy option. The appeal of being my own boss, working when I wanted and on my own terms was too great. But you learn from your mistakes.

The money was ok but on quiet days you never knew where your next €10 was coming from. Work became all about money. Not in the same way that a footballer might sign a multi-million pound contract and then go home and bath in £100 notes, or you might choose one job over another for a higher salary, but it was about earning just enough. Most people go to work at 9am and finish at 5:30pm. My day wasn't over until I had earned enough.

It was all I would think about. Every trip to the shops became a hassle because you'd start converting your basket items in to taxi fares. Every Chinese take-away was an Airport job, every meal became a number on the taxi meter. I had to drive someone from Grafton street to Ballsbridge just to buy a chicken fillet roll. I didn't eat particularly healthily back then!

I hated it. This wasn't how it was meant to be. You know there's no future in a job when you start researching 'hypertension' on the internet, or reading other taxi driver's blogs. And of course, an unhappy professional life will generally lead to an unhappy domestic life. Anyone who hates their job will probably know what I'm talking about. I brought my stress home with me which inevitably added strain to my relationship. I closed down. I became a shadow of myself. When I did open up it generally involved kicking a hole in a door.

My cousin's wedding in Durrow Castle in May of that year stands out. I was due to get married there the following year. I was hit by this massive panic. I was about to become a husband, and probably a father not long after. I wanted to be able to stand up during my speech with my head held high among men who had been there and done it all before. I wanted my future kids to be as proud of me as I am of my own father. I wanted to make something of myself. I was going about it the wrong way.

Which brings me to that day in August 2008. I was sitting on a taxi rank on Dawson street on a busy Friday when the phone rang. My close friend Ian had just returned from living in the UK and I had been meaning to catch up with him.

Ian was a fitness instructor in his 40s - always happy, full of vitality and wisdom. If anyone could lift me from my rut it was him. We chatted briefly and arranged to meet for coffee in town the following day, while my fiancée would be off wedding dress shopping with her Mum and sister.

It was one conversation I will remember for the rest of my life. Outside a coffee shop, on a beautiful summer's afternoon, I remember Ian saying so clearly, "If you don't like what you're doing, stop doing it." Just like that! "But its not that easy", I thought. "What would I do instead?" I had a mortgage and car re-payments just like most people. I couldn't just stop.


I had always liked fitness. A few years earlier I had discovered weight training and managed to get in to great shape before I lost my job. Then the weight piled on. I brought up the idea of becoming a fitness instructor to Ian and he nodded in such a positive way that before I had even finished suggesting it, I was already getting pangs of excitement.

We talked about courses, the job itself and how I could go about getting started. The idea of keeping fit for a living and being paid to exercise started to really appeal to me. If I needed any further convincing, all I had to do was look at how happy Ian was in his work. The only downside is that fitness instructors don't earn very much working in gyms. In fact, I'd make a good guess that flipping burgers in McDonald's is more lucrative. But money isn't everything. I'd easily give up €100 per week for my happiness, my sanity and a happier home life. Anything to stop thinking about those taxi meter meals.

The more we discussed it, the more the idea came to life. Ian assured me that it was the job for me. I would be excellent at it. I didn't really believe him at the time, but Ian is always so positive and supportive that he makes you believe it. He's a guy you love to be around, because he makes you feel good about yourself. For the first time in ages, I did feel good about myself. I was excited.

So that was the start of two very crazy years. There and then, I decided to quit driving a taxi and become a fitness instructor. It was going to be amazing. One swift decision on a random, sunny Saturday afternoon in August. I couldn't wait to tell my fiancée the news. She knew that driving a taxi was making me unhappy. But now at last I could see a future that was bright and beautiful, just like that glorious afternoon in August. But almost as quickly as I had made the decision, the clouds came and the heavens opened....

Part two soon :)


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