Monthly Archives: August 2007

Running Up Hills to Go Faster

Hill Running

A while back my friend Jyoti was asking if hill running would substitute for speedwork and Monica and I thought it probably was about equivalent to interval training (running fast for short distances, jogging a bit and then running fast again) but we didn’t have any real info on it.

Here’s a great article on running hills for speed:

One of the most famous proponents of hill training is Olympic coach Arthur Lydiard. His hill circuit training requires the athlete to bound (focus on horizontal motion) or leap (focus on vertical motion) up the hill. Lydiard concentrated a great deal on hill running form to promote efficiency. Driving the knees, for example, is one aspect on which to focus–as well as toeing-off and slapping the heel to the buttocks.

Bonus, Lydiard is a New Zealander like me and he used to have his atheletes run about in the Waitakere Ranges out west in my home town Auckland. Jyoti lives there and those hills are right in her backyard.

Link (via Cool Running)

US Life Expectancy Ranking Drops

After moving from the US back to a country with universal health care again it is interesting to read about this type of thing. Running a small IT consultancy here in the UK at least I’m not burdened with huge medical insurance bills… just large tax bills 🙂

A combination of expensive health insurance and an ever-increasing rate of obesity appear to be behind a startling fall by the US in the world rankings of life expectancy.

Despite being one of the richest countries in the world, America has dropped from 11th to 42nd place in 20 years, according to official US figures.

I wonder what is happening in the UK which is experiencing similar obesity levels.


Pick a number, a simple number

Peter Paul Roosen and Tatsuya Nakagawa post to LifeHack about

So, what does Jerry Seinfeld and a typical sales person have in common? A focus on a key number. Seinfeld always needed new jokes so early in his career he used a calendar and a big red marker to cross out each day he sat down for a session to write new material. He needed one session per day and made sure every day on his calendar was marked. His number “1” helped him to become number 1 in his area. Anyone working in sales is quite familiar with “meeting the number”, whatever that number is for his or her manager or company.

There is no simpler number than 1.

Number 1: the special thing you do every day to become number one.

You can start a chain and keep doing your special thing.


From abstract plan to real-life change

g333k living claims that there are two keys to a successful ‘diet’: self-convincing and self-discipline. Believe in your desire and ability to change, stick with it, and success will be yours!

This (arguably over-simple) philosophy can be summed up in two words: accept change.

Accept change and you’ll be able to run a marathon, quit smoking, climb Everest, eat two Baconators in one sitting, get a promotion… you get my drift.

We created the Seinfeldian chain to help motivate people to accomplish their goals. But where do you go once you have the motivation? How do we transform our desire to change into another link in the chain?

The g333k has some really helpful suggestions, citing practical examples that he’s used to help him change:


Every time you go to bed, just remember what your goals are and reaffirm them. Don’t focus on the non-resulting “now”, stay positive and focus ahead.


Set up reminders in ical or google calendar or your phone to constantly remind you to stick to the plan and stay on track. Having a strong routine and sticking to it helps the body regulate the input/output much better. So when it pops up, just don’t think: act, right away.


…once a week, feel free to go totally backwards and enjoy yourself. Be sure to stick to self-discipline to not do it more than once a week! I found out that if go full-on on a diet as of ‘now’, it’s really sad. First, it’s like giving up all the things you like, you get that good-bye feeling, horrible. Second, it’s not a long term plan. You will be on it for about 2 months, maybe a bit more if you are strong, and then boom, jumping backwards. Too hard. And you’re right, it is!


… adapt the ultimate plan you are after to something more livable in the first day. Adaptation is a key. If you are used to have coke everyday, you can’t just drop it tomorrow. Gradually drop it, count down. Keep some kind of agenda if it helps you.



I just fixed a bug where sometimes a read only chain that you’ve shared would fail to load. Sorry about that and we now return to our regularly scheduled service.

Any bugs, please send to Many thanks,


Wanna be Smarter and Fitter? Then think for yourself.

The fitness industry might be booming, but being fit isn’t exactly the norm. No matter our intentions, it’s often hard to turn down the slice of pie that everyone’s having, or a glass from that pitcher of beer that’s going around the table. Face it: being fit is a personal choice, and it requires thinking for yourself.

Easier said than done, right? Not according to Life is a Jounal: this site has list of 10 ways to think for yourself. A few of the suggestions are especially good for the aspiring smarter, fitter folk:

  • Don’t feel you have to follow the crowd.
  • Trust your feelings.
  • Be Brave.

I’d like to add a a couple of my own:

  • Know what you want. Write it down. Remind yourself. Make it a part of you. When you’ve done this, all other distractions will be “off the radar”.
  • Live deliberately, as Henry David Thoreau said:

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.

Link (via Lifehacker)