My Journey to
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
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
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
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
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!
"IF YOU DON'T LIKE WHAT YOU'RE DOING, STOP DOING IT!"
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
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.
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
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
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 :)