Browsing articles tagged with " Motivation"

Blue Lake Fun Run Training

Oct 28, 2015   //   by phil.ackland   //   Articles, Blog, Events, Goal Setting, Motivation, Running Articles  //  No Comments

Here’s my Super-Simple training plan for the event.

3 Simple sessions each week:

1 – Hill Repeats:
Using a hill that resembles Bay Road, run a 500m section, jog/walk down. Repeat for 15-20mins

2- Steady Run:
Using a flat road, run a moderate, steady pace for 30-40mins.

3- Pace/Hills – Mount Gambier parkrun course
The parkrun course is a marked 5km around the Blue Lake so it makes complete sense to make use of this as a training tool for this event. Find some pace over the 5km course and use as a time-trial each week.
Ideally, you’ll jump in on the Saturday morning event and use the social atmosphere for a little extra competitive edge. If you can’t make it at that time, just follow the markers at any other time that works for you during the week.


Using these three easy to follow sessions spread across each week, you’re much more likely to have a more enjoyable and successful event day.
Allow rest days between each session and be sure to warm up and cool down prior to each of them. Also be sure to check with your doctor prior to commencing anything more vigorous than your usual lifestyle.

So that’s it. Nice and simple.
Of course a plan can be much more specific for the event or your individual situation and will then give you more specific results.

If you’re after something more focussed and tailored for you, give me a call and we’ll get you under way.


Find out more by visiting the running page of our website here:


Happy running!

Race Day Strategy

Oct 16, 2015   //   by phil.ackland   //   Articles, Blog, Fitness, Goal Setting, Motivation, Running Articles  //  No Comments

Going into your event with a positive mindset is crucial to a successful run. It’s normal to feel some level of nervousness and anxiety but having confidence in the training you’ve done and making a clear race plan ahead of the day will help to keep those feelings under control.

Your race day strategy should be worked out and tested well in advance during training. For example, in terms of pace, for the longer events especially, consider a conservative start that leads into a stronger finish. This should be practiced over shorter runs during training.

Once you have your plan in place, it’s important to then focus on running your own race.
In the early stages, this means avoiding getting swept up in the excitement of the start that can lead to you running at a faster pace than you otherwise would. If you find this happening, address it early and reset back to the original plan.

On a good day, one plan will get you from start to finish with your goal time achieved. This isn’t always the way it pans out, and really, if it was that easy every time…..well….where’s the challenge, right?
It’s a handy strategy to take along a plan A, B, and C.
Plan A being the ideal run. Everything aligns and falls into place just like you dreamed it would.
Plan B is still a good day out on course that needs some focus to keep together.
Plan C is just about getting it done and across the line.
Without B and C in mind, you run a higher risk of throwing in the towel all together if that ideal plan starts to fall away.

Race day is not the time for surprises or to try anything new.
Working with a coach can help you piece all of these aspects together.


Nothing New On Race Day

Sep 18, 2015   //   by phil.ackland   //   Articles, Blog, Events, Fitness, Goal Setting, Motivation, Motivation, Nutrition, Running Articles  //  No Comments


“Nothing new on race day”
It’s one of those Golden Rules that you may have heard before.
Anyone that’s learned this the hard way, and there’s plenty of us around, will hastily give you this key piece of advice.

What this means is that anything you intend to use or do on the day of your event, needs to be tried and tested in the weeks beforehand during training. In training, it’s not as crucial if you have a wardrobe malfunction, stomach upset issues, or unexpected blisters as it is on the big day you’ve been working so hard towards.



Three main areas to look at:

Race day strategy:
It’s so easy to get caught up in the buzz of an event and shoot off from the start at a faster than usual pace. Get a feel for setting your pace and controlling it during training sessions and then think your own pacing strategy through ahead of time and stick by it when the starters gun fires. On the day, it’s about running your own race and not someone else’s.
Food and nutrition:
In longer distance events, it becomes necessary to refuel during the run. This is definitely one you don’t want to chance on the day. Exactly what you are going to need is such an individual issue that will take some time to work out. Many products and food choices are available to use and finding which ones best suit your needs should be trialled during training well before the race.
Grabbing whatever the aid-stations have on offer at a moment’s notice is a risky strategy and should be used only as a last resort.

Clothing and gear:
The day of the event is a big deal. You want to look pretty awesome in all those photos. A whole new outfit is great for a night out, not so great for your race. Do you know if those shorts are going to ride up as you go? Is that new singlet top going to chafe under your arms? Will those shoes, that look great out of the box, blister your feet a few km’s in?
All answers you really want to find out during training when you still have time to find an alternative if need be.


Bottom line is, don’t try anything during the race that you haven’t tested already at home.





TNF100 2015

May 31, 2015   //   by phil.ackland   //   Articles, Blog, Events, Motivation, Running Articles, Uncategorized  //  No Comments

There are a lot of big  trail running events springng up around the Australia but, in 2015, The North Face 100 in The Blue Mountains is still the biggest, and most hottly contested, on offer in the country

For me, this year was a chance to really test myself against my own performance here in 2014. Last year it was an event full of unknowns and inexperience. The North Face 100 of 2014 very nearly beat me into submission and I only just managed to hold onto a finish. Something which many starters did not acheive. It was a super-proud moment but a huge learning curve and experience.
I decided, towards the end of last year, that I would get a lot of value from lining up with a coach that knew this sport, and specifically, this event, inside-out and I signed on with Brendan Davies on the same day that I registered for the event.

This year, I travelled to the Blue Mountains with a team that consisted of my wife Nikki, Scott and Nicole Sawyer, and Justyna and Daniel Grosse. Scott and Justyna were both lining up for the 50km version of the event for the first time. It made for a fun and adventurous road-trip style extended weekend away. Friday was put aside for being tourists in The Blue Mountains while avoiding the tempation to do too much on the day before the event.

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Race Day

The day, like every other event day for me, started much earlier than it needed to. I’ve not once been woken by an alarm for an event and this was no exception. With an alarm set for 4:30am I was awake closer to 2:30. The biggest difference this year was that I didn’t let that stress me. I lay quietly and calmly, keeping relaxed and mostly thinking of the day ahead……..for two hours.

Start – CP1

Heading out from the start, the first 4kms of the course is a road section that works well to spread the field out a little before we hit the first stairs and narrow trail sections.
It’s a fairly uneventful through here but the course soon hits the Furber stairs downhill and onto the rainforest tracks that lead through the landslide section along and around the ridge to the Golden Stairs. This staircase leads up to Narrowneck on on to CP1 at just over 10km.
I was feeling pretty good with the run through here and settled in to the pace with the other runners around me. Not a lot of opportunity for overtaking and there’s a little self-imposed pressure to hold your place in the cue.
Arriving at the first checkpoint in around 1hr 15min I was spot on my esimated time. No need to stop I ran through the checkpoint and continued on.

CP1 – CP2

This section is mostly open fire trail with regular sweeping views of the valleys. The main feature being Tarros Ladders somewhere around the middle of the leg. There wasn’t much of a line-up here but still an opportunity to have a quick breather and a moments rest. There’s time for a bit of general discussion with other runners  and I overheared one runner ask “Is this the 14hr train?” (in reference to the sought after silver buckle cut-off time) I realised that I was currently on track for my “If everything falls into place on the day” goal at around 21km into the race. A little mental boost but still too early to make such a call.
There are also some scrambly single track sections through the scrub here that were a bit of fun to fly along. More fire trail and we were approaching Dunphys Camp. It was at this point I started feeling a bit “off” Getting towards mid-morning and the temperature was just starting to get a little warmer.
No major problem but I did bring my pace back and played things a bit more cautiously for a while. Still a long run ahead.
In hindsight, I may have been pushing a little to quick in the early stages even though it didn’t feel that way at the time? It’s a hard one to pick.
Arriving at CP2, I made a fairly smooth and to-plan stop. Refilling both water and Tailwind supplies and moving on.


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CP2 – CP3

Between these checkpoints, there’s a really interesting section that has you climbing to the top of Iron Pot Ridge. It’s a steep scramble to the top before making a rocky out-and-back pass along the top of the ridge.  The reward for the effort is the amazing views over the gully below and the sound of a digeredoo being played as you pass by.
I made the climb to the top ok but didn’t have the pace I would have liked across the top. It’s a shared single-track, meaning you need to negotiate the track with runners moving in both directions. I took a conservative approach and allowed runners moving in either direction, with a bit of urgency in their stride, to go past. It was frustrating but I had to consider the distance yet to travel and play it smart. The run down from the ridge is gravelly and steep. Taking corners like a mountain bike and aiming for trees to use as the occasional brake to slow the decent. On the dirt road stage into CP3 I began to utilise my run/hike startegy to keep a steady push forward before striking  a good downhill run  into CP3. The first stop that support crews had access to.

Arriving in at the checkpoint, I was glad to catch up with Nikki. I was feeling pretty flat at this stage of the race and I felt that I really needed to grab some moral support to keep holding it together. I was pretty much unresponsive for the first few minutes and just wanted to stop and regroup. Once I was ready to talk about things and discuss the situation, we stuck to the refuelling plan and worked towards getting back into the race.
One aspect of having run this course before, was that I knew what was coming up. This has it’s pros and cons but at this point, it was having a negative effect in terms of my headspace, being aware that the stage ahead had a particulary gruelling climb along the way.


CP3 – CP4

Beginning as a gradually building climb, mostly along access roads, I had a consistent run/hike strategy here. The plan involved counting 1-20 in continous loops. I would run for  (x)number of 20 steps, hike for (x)number of 20 steps with (x) depending on the terrain and how I was feeling. Running about 70% of the distance. It proved to be an effective strategy for getting more running in than I otherwise would have.
Moving off from the roads into the more winding trail section that leads to the stairs of Nellies Glen, I was certainly not forgetting what this section of the course meant to my efforts last year. If you’re not fimilar with my 2014 experience, this climb last year almost ended my race with it’s relentless incline and gruelling stairs.
A big strategy this year, was to fully take on Coach Brendan’s advice about fuelling up ahead of the climb. I had a flask of Hammer gel in my pack specifically for these “in-need-of-a-boost” stages of the course.
At the suggested course mark, I downed a slurp of gel and preared for the ascent. Ok, let’s not kid ourselves and say this was easy, it was really damn hard but, it was  a great deal less trouble than during the year before. I took the occasional quick breather on the way up and another shot of gel somewhere around the middle but made it to the final stairs, took a moment at the top and cotinued on.
Between the top of the climb and CP4 at Katoomba, it’s was mentally a case of consistently moving forward. I knew it was close, I knew I was now guaranteed of reaching that point. Beyond that…….let’s not think too far ahead just yet.

This next checkpoint at the Aquatic Centre, is a welcome sight….. It’s 57km into a mountainous course. Of course it’s a welcome sight!
It was great to see Nikki here again, even if I didn’t give her that impresssion when I arrived. Like the previous stop, I wasn’t being very responsive. I was drained, tired and feeling a bit fragile and emotional. Initially I just needed to stop, breathe and settle my thoughts before I was ready to talk about the race so far, let alone what the plan was moving forward.
Feeling better, I downed a cup of soup that maybe should have been the proverbial cup of cement instead.
In 2014, I  stayed at this point for just on an hour. This year, the plan was for 8-10mins. I was there for about 30mins. Not a bad compromise I thought. The major difference though, I was leaving this checkpoint more than 3 hours ahead of last year and in bright daylight instead of in the dark. I was feeling flat but this marked a massive improvement so far.


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CP4 – CP5

After spending the remainder of the course in the dark in 2014, it was a goal from the outset this year to see as much of this fifth leg in daylight hours as I could. Hoping to get to CP5 just after sunset.
It’s an amazing section of the course in terms of scenery and adventure with loads of weaving single-track, cliff-top views, and waterfalls.
With this though, comes a lot of stairs and climbing. I was definitely finding this section to be pretty tough going. I was being overtaken much more often than I was overtaking others. That, in itself, can be mentally challenging and draining. It’s certainly an aspect of an ultra-distance race that you need to be able to deal with and manage if you’re going to make it through. It was important to put any ego aside, focus on my own race, and hold focus on consistent forward progression. Even if I wasn’t holding the pace I had been hoping for at this point.
Just after passing through Leura, at around 70km, the sun was setting and the reflective vests and headlamps came into play. Only about 8km short of my goal of CP5 before dark.
Eventually hitting the road section that leads to the checkpoint, I found a bit of energy and picked up some pace to take it in. Pleasantly surprised to see a car of familiar faces driving by and shouting encouragement. Scott, Justyna, Nicole and Daniel had finished up their 50km roles for the day and made the drive out to catch up with me on the way through. Uncanny how good their timing was here considering the course layout and timeframe variables on the day.

Reaching CP5, 78km’s done and the trek through the valley ahead.
The mental boost you receive by seeing a familiar face at this point cannot be overstated. After the previous two checkpoint stops, I was feeling much more alert here. Nikki even got a conversation from me, having to wait for only about 5 minutes first this time.
It was great to have a drop-in visit from the rest of the team at this point too.
Not doing so well at staying focussed on the job at hand, the challenge here was working with Nikki on the important final-leg nutrition plan. By this point, it’s crucial to have flexibilty built into the original on-paper plan and be able to work together in response to current conditions. My nutrition plan had worked well enough so far to get me to this point but it was starting to fade. Nikki threw some ideas at me and we came up with a solution and packed a plan B and plan C into my pack as well…….ready to head into the valley and the final leg to bring it home.

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CP5 – Finish

Time of day was now 8:00pm. Still at least 3 hours ahead of the same point last year and heading into the valley below.
It’s a pretty lonley stage of the race as the feild has well and truly spread out over the course. I started off from the checkpoint with a fairly average pace, returning to the run/hike strategy to push on. My plan, and coach’s advice, for this long downhill stage was to make the most of it, even on tired legs. Use the downhill for some pace in this last stage ahead of the long climb that follows.
Good plan but my body had other ideas. Running the downhill, I developed a dull stitch under my ribs that meant I had to walk more often to stretch it out. The valley at night is so quiet, calm, and still with a constant hushing sound of flowing water. Now, imagine you were to buy a relaxation/meditation CD to put on at home…….rainforest sounds, flowing water?
With my now fatigued state, slowed pace, and soothing enviroment, the dreaded hallucinations and sleep-walking that plagued my final leg efforts last year where settling in again. This was a huge confidence drainer. Memories of last year and knowing what was still ahead had me seriously concerned that I was in for another all-night slog if I was going to see it through. This went on for the remainder of the downhill section but, before long, I was pleasantly surprised to find I had reached the creek at the bottom in much less time than I had anticipated. (Maybe because I slept part of the way?)
I’m pretty sure I was asleep on my feet as I approached the creek and the sound of the rushing water grabbed my attention. I hadn’t been aware that I was approaching it but, suddenly, it was about 10 meters away.  Before making the crossing, I decided to use the cold mountain water to refresh myself, splashing it onto my face and rubbing my eyes.
This was a major turning point. From here, I was wide awake and ready for the long uphill stage coming up.
It sounds weird to say, but I enjoyed the climbing section out of the valley much more than the decent into it. I set up a solid and steady rythmn and pushed through to the aid station at 91km, stopped to refill supplies and carried on. On a few occasions I took the time to look around and appreciate being alone, at night, in the amazing landscape of the rainforest.
With a little over 5km to the end, the course becomes an interesting and technical single-track section. It’s a really enjoyable stage. Even at the end of a long day.
900 metres to go and almost 1000 stairs to the top. Time to just dig in, grit your teeth and get it done.
All that’s left here is a short run to the last few steps the lead you to the finish chute.

Cheering crowds, a fist pump in the air to cross the line and a finisher’s buckle to top it off.

100km in The Blue Mountains in a time of 18:21:24
A PB time for me by 7 hours 20mins!


Huge thanks has to go to my wife Nikki for supporting me on these adventures.
Support crew, logistics manager, motivator, and event planner, to name a few of the roles she takes on and does so well. I doubt I would even get close to the starting line at all without her support.
I’d also like to thank coach Brendan Davies for his insight, direction, and coaching this year in the lead up to this event and getting me so much further ahead than I was 12 months ago.

Will I do it again?
Considering discussions on potential improvements for 2016′s event were taking place on the day after the race, I’d say it’s very likely.
I’m really pleased with my result this year but there’s definitely still so much potential for improvement. ……always a work in progress.


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Workout Of The Week

Jul 1, 2013   //   by phil.ackland   //   Blog, Fitness, Motivation, Workouts  //  No Comments

These workouts are designed to be performed with minimal or no equipment for those times when you don’t have access to the equipment at a gym.

This workout involves working supersets of paired exercises. Aim  to move from 1st to 2nd exercise in each set with little to no break and then rest before repeating.

Set A: 3-4 times / Set B: 3-4 times / Set C: 3-4 times

Choose a number of reps for each between 10-20  to suit your fitness level.

Make sure you include a warmup, cool down and stretches.



*If you are new to exercising or have existing injuries, be sure to check in with your doctor before commencing any fitness program.


Click here for more workouts and other posts

Workout Of The Week

Jun 24, 2013   //   by phil.ackland   //   Blog, Fitness, Workouts  //  No Comments


These workouts are designed to be performed with minimal or no equipment for those times when you don’t have access to the equipment at a gym.

For this session, grab a skipping rope that your kids have left lying around. If you don’t have one, you can find these in many shops for very little cost. As an alternative, perform the skipping without the rope.

Spend about 5 minutes warming up with light exercises or an easy couple of rounds of this circuit. Leave out the skipping and perform about half of each of the exercises listed.

Aim to take minimal breaks between each exercise once you have started. After the plank, take a suitable break for your fitness level, around 1-2 minutes and then repeat from the top.

Aim for 3-6 rounds, again, depending on your own fitness level.

Remember: Technique is always more important than time.

*If you are new to exercising or have existing injuries, be sure to check in with your doctor before commencing any fitness program.

Workout Of The Day : Monday

Nov 18, 2012   //   by Reflexion   //   Fitness, Motivation, Workouts  //  No Comments


Equipment Required: None


Warmup :

Perform this circuit twice doing only 4 reps for each exercise.

The Workout :

Perform as a circuit. No rest between exercises. Rest for 1-2mins at the end. Repeat the circuit 3-5 times.

Stretch once your done. Nice work!



* Be sure to check with a your doctor before starting any new strenous activity and stay safe.

Don’t Forget How To Play

Apr 11, 2012   //   by Reflexion   //   Blog, Fitness, Goal Setting, Motivation, Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Tough Mudder

Apr 9, 2012   //   by Reflexion   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Toughest Event On The Planet?

So what is Tough Mudder?

“Tough Mudder events are hardcore 20 km-long obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie.”

If you caught any of the media coverage leading up to this event, you would likely have figured that this was one hell of a crazy, lucky-to-come-out-alive elitist event, complete with Death Waiver to obtain entry to the field. A large number of people were put off attempting the event based on this sort of hype but, as it turned out, that didn’t stop the 20,000 or so entrants paying out up to $150 dollars from throwing themselves at it. You should definitely not enter this event if you don’t like getting your hands dirty or your hair messed up. In saying that, you don’t “need” to be superfit or strong to make it through the course but will need to be determined and prepared to work with those around you to stick it out over the 3-5 hours that you’ll be out there. Every obstacle does allow you the option of  skipping it or moving on if you are unable to complete it for any reason. Part of the spiel at the start “…if you can’t swim, don’t jump in the lake.”

From a spectator point of view, Tough Mudder is fantastic. They allow access to every part of the course as long as they don’t interfere with the event in any way and that they “must wear their wristbands at all times or else……….”. Compare this to a regular running event, you wave goodbye, pick a vantage spot on course, wave goodbye again and see them at the end.

**Click on any pictures on this page to enlarge**

Is it “The Toughest Event On The Planet”?

So, my run through from the inside out…..short version.

Thoroughly enjoyed the day with a good mix of running, strength, agility and MUDDY obstacles to work through. Over walls, mud and hay bales; through water, mud and ice; under barbed wire, mud and nets, and did I mention MUD? Lots of MUD! On a few occasions, wait times were a bit long for certain obstacles meaning you cooled down and had to ward off cramping legs. This just became part of the challenge though and would be reduced if you snagged an early start time.

Alright, now for the long version……..

Well before arriving, we got a feel for the scale of this event. The crawl of traffic making it’s way to the Grand Prix track on the island stretched for as far as you could see. Glad we had allowed plenty of time to get there. Once there, we organised check in, and food. I was running the event solo but was lucky to have my support crew of wife, Nikki and youngest three kids so had to make sure they were all sorted for the day as well. That done, had some time to kill before my start time. What better way of filling it in then getting an onsite haircut? Mohawk it is! Now I’m ready to start.

Once boxed into the starting pen, we were given a pep talk from the sidelines to build the adrenaline “…help your fellow mudders” and a repeat-after-me run through the Tough Mudder Creed. A blast of AC/DC and we were off to the sound of Eye of the Tiger. Yes, corny and cheesy but, against my better judgment, it worked… Pumped!

  • Hot Lap

The first challenge, a run down pit straight of the GP track then following the circuit for the next few turns. Roughly 1km of this to get us warmed up and onto the first obstacle.

  • Berlin Walls

These walls were the first wake up that this was not your standard road race. These walls were always in pairs and this set stood at 4m high. Each wall had a foot hold bolted a little way off the ground. The plan then, was to get a run up and launch upwards from there to grab the top of the wall then drag to the top and clamber over. Thankfully all went to plan and I headed on. A bit more running ahead to get us back where we started, but facing the other way, for a repeat performance of a pair of walls.

  • Devil’s Beard

Just on from the last walls, a large net lay across the “kitty litter”. Gravel that is great for stopping high-speed vehicles, not so great for crawling on. Slotting in with a nearby group and walking backwards, head down bum up, proved the best strategy.

  • Arctic Enema

Up next, two refrigerated trucks flanked the 2 metre high esky. Chest deep, thick, chunky ice. Faced with a jump in and wade across, hindered by crossbars forcing you to submerge yourself completely in ice, this one was certainly out of the comfort zone and took my breath away.

  • Electric Eel

This was our “Mystery Obstacle”. Thankfully, there was a bit of running before the next obstacle giving us a chance to warm a little from the ice before reaching the sprinkler soaked mat with overhanging electric wires. I’m not sure there was much of a spark going on at this point and didn’t cop any sort of jolt on the way through.

  • Walk The Plank


A signature obstacle for any Tough Mudder course, a 5metre high platform overlooking a 50m wide lake. These type of things always look easier from the sidelines than they do from the top. I must admit, looking down to the murky water gave me that butterflies-in-the stomach sensation. I decided on the don’t think just  jump approach. From in the water, the fully-clothed swim started to test me out as I approached the other side, and I’m sure, if it had been much further across, I may have been in the same trouble as many other people that required assistance from the lifeguards that really earned their money for the day.

  •  Kiss of Mud

Starting to move along on the circuit, you could be starting to wonder where all the mud is. Ohhhh….that mud! The mud began with a clamber up an incredibly slippery muddy slope that turned rocky by the top. Near impossible to get a foothold and the help from those nearby was a great help. At the top, the slope leveled but was now covered by low-lying barbed wire over a bed of sloppy mud. Only way through was belly down and crawling.  Helllooooo Mud!

  • Greased Lightning

“What goes up, must come down.” Who played on a Slip ‘n Slide as a kid? The quickest way downhill into the muddy lake at the bottom. Not as smooth as it looked. Underneath the mat was rough and rocky with no chance of slowing before the bottom. The guys in front of me weren’t paying attention and get cleaned up as I reached the bottom.

  • Cliffhanger

From the bottom of the hill, the course did a u-turn and faced uphill with a muddy slope to the top. The start of this climb was a slippery ledge that was impossible to manage on your own. This was the first of the hold ups along the way but really worked on the camaraderie side of the event with everyone helping each other out to make it through.

  • Berlin Walls #3

After the climb, the course dodged and weaved along the coastline providing awesome views of the ocean and leading us to another set of walls. These walls were not the fresh looking pine that we saw before. I discovered here that my legs were not responding quite as well as they had done earlier as a bounced off the wall back to the ground after a failed attempt to reach the top. A rethink, then second attempt, and I cleared the top, pausing at the top of the second wall to look back at the view.

  • Boa Constrictor

If you’re claustrophobic this one might throw you off a little. Crawling through these above ground pipes and finding pools of mud in between left the forearms a little bruised and scuffed.

  • King of The Mountain

Not those typical rectangular bales, but the huge round ones in a pyramid stack. Nikki and the kids were patiently waiting here as they had done at several spots so far through the day. Was good to have a quick chat and breather before going over the top.

  • Firewalker

A big deal was made about running through fire and extreme heat in the lead up. Smoke coming off the controlled burn tended by bored looking firefighters was the bigger concern. For an asthmatic though, still a bit of a problem. Handy to have the support crew with ventolin on standby. (Bit of a Tough Guy image breaker….but, gotta breath right?)

  • Hold Your Wood

Grab a fence post, carry it, walk it through a lake, over a hill and dump it back where you found it. Pretty much as easy as that sounds. The posts were not heavy and, once in the lake, the wood floated so a few of us were playing around with various ways of using the log as a flotation device and having a bit of a laugh.

  • Ball Shrinker

I know what they were getting at here with the name but, was more of the same water we had seen before. The rope bridge crossing, by this stage of the day, was a little saggy and out of shape so a hand-over-hand drag through the water was an easy trip to the other side. (Some people were still managing to make this look like hard work though.)

  • Trench Warfare

Claustrophobia, again, would shake your nerves here. Like the tunnels earlier but this time underground flat on the ground and dragging through. At the end………mud. A big sloshy pool of it.


  • Mud Mile

Award here for least imaginative obstacle and maybe least thought out. The biggest problem, with this 1.5km trench walk through waist deep water was that it required single file to get through. A lot of waiting and shuffling forward while avoiding cold and cramps but it did allow for some bonding time with others in the same situation. For example, I learnt from the guy in the remarkably clean pink tutu, that while in it’s rinsed and clean state it was very light. However, when it was muddy it become extremely heavy and cumbersome.


  • Twinkle Toes

A series of 10m long timber planks over the top of a muddy tank of water. I was keen to do well here, I’d put in some practice. Of course, different on the day with cold and fatigue also playing a increasing role. About 2/3 of the way across I’d been looking at my feet way too long instead of straight ahead as planned and went swimming instead. I did have plenty of company though and, with a few curse words, found the ladder and moved on.

  • Monkey Bars

Another Tough Mudder signature obstacle and another that I was keen to give a really good shot. I’d made a point of spending some time on monkey bars beforehand. The biggest problem was not that they were wet, muddy and slippery, but that they were not fixed and were able to rotate once you had hold of them. I don’t remember that from primary school. A third of the way over and I went swimming again. I did only see one person cross successfully to much applause. This one was tough. Way more training needed before returning.

  • Turds Nest

Colourful choice of name for a cargo net crossing over the Mud Mile walkers beneath. Nothing too tricky here although the woman that was calling for “Anyone that’s shaking this thing, can they please stop it!” might tell you otherwise. Whereas the guys in business suits were barrel rolling across.


A variety of mud filled runs from boggy to sloppy to shoe-stealing lay ahead. I got hit by some serious cramp at some point through here and was impressed by the concern showed by complete strangers before moving on as I was stretching out to find relief. The cramp served as a reminder of the carb-gel I had in my pocket. Wish I had thought of it earlier. Glad it was a chocolate one so I couldn’t see how much mud I had mixed with it as I squeezed it. Mmmmm…


  • Everest

Are you still reading? Awesome job, we’re nearly done. The skate ramp quarter pipe. The last of the holdups here. Must have been about 45mins of waiting for this one. I’ve heard a lot of talk of people skipping this one for that reason. At least, while shuffling towards the front, there was constant entertainment provided by the variety of techniques being used to get over the top of the ramp with the swelling crowd providing oohhhs and ahhhhs and suitable chanting and cheering. With my turn to go, an acknowledging nod between me and a guy at the top holding out a knotted shirt and I took a running leap towards the top. I found momentum was the key factor here. From starting my run up, through the two-handed grab of the shirt, to the pull over the top, until standing at the top, it was as close to one continuous move as I could manage.




  • Electroshock

The final obstacle. The much talked about electric shock run through to the end. Electric wires hanging over hay bale obstacles and a guy with a hose as you run in. I got hit a couple of times through here. A heavy thud that you’d rather not have, but nothing to knock you over, sideways or otherwise. I did here that they cranked it up for the Sunday runners though.

  • The End

After crossing the line, 4 hours after starting, an orange headband was shoved on your head, a t-shirt passed over and a VB, that went down like drinking water, thrust forward.

  • Toughest event on the planet?

Tough Mudder is by far the most fun I’ve had while being challenged in an event. The emphasis on camaraderie, team building and it’s “leave no man behind” attitude make it a future most-do on my calendar from here on.   I entered this event on my own but didn’t run it that way.












To view a complete photo gallery of my Tough Mudder experience, click here to check it out.

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Reaching Your Goals : Surefire Way To Stay On Track!

Mar 15, 2011   //   by Reflexion   //   Articles, Fitness, Goal Setting, Motivation  //  No Comments


Excellent! You have that goal worked out. It’s locked in place. “I’m going to lose 5kilos in 10 weeks!”, “I’m going to run 5km in 12 weeks.” The first weeks kick off full of drive and excitement. “I can do this!” But then, the momentum starts to drop. “How am I going to make it?”, “10 weeks seems so long.”, “I want it to happen NOW!” Sound familiar? Well, just like with your goal, don’t stop know. Read on to find out how to stay on track and make it happen for YOU.

In a follow up to my previous post on goal setting, I’m going to talk about gaining consistency with your training schedule. The benefits and the reasons for maintaining a schedule to get results.

The first thing to do is to return to the goal you have set. If you don’t have one yet or would like some ideas on setting one, you might like to read my previous post here.

Is one killer workout going to get you there? Not likely, and if it is, maybe try aiming a little further. So what is going to get  you there?

Grab out your diary or calendar and highlight the end-date you have set for your goal. Now, working backwards from there, mark out your workouts like appointments that you just have to keep until you get back to today’s date.

With a regular schedule now in place, the next step is to choose the activities that are going to fill these spots. This will depend on your particular goal and the options are almost endless. (I’ll save that one for a future chat.) But in more general terms, one major factor in sticking to your schedule and remaining consistent is FUN!

  • Set your goal
  • Grab your diary
  • Make it fun
  • Stick to it
  • Target reached!

So… find some enjoyment in what you are doing. If there’s no fun in what you’re currently doing, try something else. Keep changing it up until you land on something that really works for YOU. The aim here is to make it a priority to keep those sessions that you marked out. Is housework a priority on most peoples list? No. Because for most people, this is not something they consider to be a whole lot of fun.

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.”  – Dale Carnegie

Once you find those activities that really make you feel great and get the heart rate ticking along, your workouts will no longer seem like a chore. From here, keeping up the consistency needed to hit your goal, should be a great deal easier and something that you will look forward to.

Make sure your friends and family are aware of what you are working on so they can help and support. Better yet, get them involved too. A sure fire way to add some extra fun and motivation!

Do you have other ideas you would like to share? Leave a comment below or share this article with others on Facebook or Twitter.

Have Fun!