Taking Your Fitness Goals To The Next Level- tips from the craziest runner I know!
Are you getting bored with your usual workout routines or feeling a bit unmotivated towards your fitness goals?
I hear you and that is why I have the craziest fit goal setter I know sharing with us his tips on taking your fitness goals to the next level. Also a peek into some of his crazy running experiences and his current training working towards the craziest of them all- 7 Marathons in 7 Days in 7 different states!
Yes you heard me right!!! …..and he only started running a few years ago!
Introducing the incredibly inspiring Phill Dernee super runner and dear friend of mine.
Phill, 26 was born and raised in Cowra, NSW currently working as an Occupational Therapist in Sydney.
“My first run was in November 2012, a 5 km funrun around my local university grounds, I was playing soccer at the time and thought myself quite fit (which was subsequently proved awfully wrong). After that I started running very occasionally – maybe a few times a month, and the following year came back for the same 5 km funrun and found it a much more enjoyable and rewarding experience. From there things snowballed…
My greatest running achievements, in terms of base results /PB’s would probably be;
– 10 hour 6 minute 100km PB,
– 7th place at the 2015 Alpine Challenge (100km trail run through the Victorian alps in just over 15 hours)
– 7th place at the 2015 Cradle Mountain run – 80 km – 10 hours 6 minutes
– Half marathon PB – 84 minutes
What i’m most proud of was the recent 12 and a half month period from Australia Day 2015 to February 8th 2016 in which I participated and finished 12 ultramarathons and 3 marathons.”
Yes I told you he is crazy!!! So lets get Phill to share some of that craziness to spice up our fit goals 🙂
How do you choose your events/ next challenge Phill?
I seem to gravitate towards a few key area’s for events; length, varied terrain (with a preference for rough trail), geographical location and whether any fellow runners I’ve shared runs with before are going to the event as well.
So if I see a 100km run through rough trail in a beautiful part of the world of which 1 or more of my buddies are doing, then I’m there, regardless of the challenges in getting there (in fact those challenges make it that little bit more fun)!!!!
Mentally the general rule I follow is that if I’ve done the event before, or done something I consider easier previously, then that will reduce my motivation and mental strength to go after that event and give my all to it, therefore when I look for events I like to see something different, something with a new type of challenge that I haven’t faced yet. That way things don’t go stale mentally – I couldn’t even fathom trying to prepare for, as an example, a monthly 10km run in the same place over the same terrain, month in month out, it would very quickly see all my desire disappear.
So I suppose that I never really know if I’m ready for any particular run mentally when I sign up for it, in fact I thrive off the feeling of standing on the start line of an event and genuinely not being 100% confident that I can finish the event, it makes finishing that much sweeter. I know I can knock out a flat 10km at around 38-40 minutes, trying to best that be 10-120 seconds doesn’t provide me with any passion so instead I feed what does drive my passion, the unknown and a goal just on the periphery of your comfort zone.
Training prep both physical and mental- what you do and your best tips for others? And how do you prep to prevent injury?
Being unqualified to comment on anything specific regarding injury prevention or training tips, I’d say it’s all about balance and motivation. Find what works for you, during these ‘crazy’ ultramarathons I see a huge array of footwear, running styles, running clothes, training schedules etc from each individual, with the majority of them working somehow!
So I feel it’s about acknowledging and embracing that you are an individual, just because everyone seems to be wearing a certain type of running shoe, or that your favourite elite wears certain gear does not mean it will work for you and can be dangerous road to follow (no apologies to the endless running item companies that shove these ideas down peoples minds and full respect to the few companies/ stores that don’t!).
What works and helps me are a few things I think;
– I’m not time orientated. I rate my achievements on different parameters like amount of new areas / locations / experiences from a run, new friends etc
– I have a good running technique, whether from dumb luck or need from initially increasing my amount of running so much I seem to have a very light, easy gait and step
– Make sure your goals align with your purpose / desires – if you can’t find the motivation to do something there’s probably a reason for it, when you align your purpose and desires with action, motivation finds you (not only in running but in work, life etc too) – So I do what attracts me to running and hence rarely don’t feel like doing it, or if I don’t that’s fine because I’ve distracted myself with another passion or desire
– Listen to your body, not just after and before runs, but most importantly during runs, often your body will send you some early signs that your going to hard, favouring one leg, putting too much pressure on the ankle/knee/ITB, that if ignored build up and become debilitating but if acknowledged and acted on can be eased and lead to not only short term but long term happy running.
How to deal with the unexpected/ unplanned for? Any stories you have?
Haha, maybe this is where my ‘crazy’ comes in. I embrace challenges, the unexpected and the unplanned. In fact if anything I’m guilty of underpreparing on purpose as an almost self-destructive attempt to come up against more unexpected things than I can handle (but that’s a whole other story). The best way to deal with the unexpected is always have multiple fall-backs and safeties, aiming for a 3 hour marathon but on race day you can’t keep pace and get slower, have a back up plan to find other goals / reasons to be out there, i.e.
Plan 1) a 3 hour marathon
Plan 2) run with a buddy for a bit
Plan 3) strike a conversation with someone looking better/worse/older/younger than you during the run
Plan 4) enjoy the run for the run’s sake
Plan 5) work on the tan, being sun safe of course
Plan 6) etc etc etc
The other week I was competing in the Tassie Trailfest, a 3 day trail run event in Derby Tassie. Day one saw a 44 km event. There were 3 aid stations with water and a few snacks, I had on me 2 x cliff bars and a 500ml water bottle.
About 22 km in I took a wrong turn (or more accurately failed to take the right turn!), and found myself on an awesome downhill, technical, lightly turning trail which naturally I bombed down like a 5 year old with a huge grin on my face. About 8 km later I came across another runner coming the opposite way, we were lost! After more searching we found 8 other runners who all took the same wrong turn. The group of 10 of us rang the race director, who given our huge detour (about 8-9km off course at this stage) was uncertain of our actual whereabouts could do little to help.
Luckily a few sapphire miners (a hobby I’m yet to embrace) at a nearby creek were around and, knowing the area, slightly better than us, were nice enough to drive the 10 of us back to a point about 2km before the 20km check point (our last checkpoint before getting lost). 6 of us continued from that point where the 4 others took the much more inviting option of getting a lift to the nearest pub and calling for help from there.
So after 30ish km’s of running, an hour or so of confused conversation, uncertainty over our location, stiffening of muscles and joints we got going again and the 44 km run (would have taken about 4 1/2 hours at my pace) turned into a 7 hour 60km.
How did I deal with that? I knew my limits and abilities, I knew and trusted my gear / supplies, I had a good idea of what led me to the unexpected and hence how to cope to avoid it in future and I had the want to right the mistake.
At the end of the day I love to run into the unexpected, as long as you have a few basic and necessary things (water, way to communicate with the outside world, bit of experience and self-awareness of your abilities / breaking points) the unexpected is really just another word for fun and adventure.
Tell us a bit about your upcoming challenge. Why you are doing it? Your fears or uncertainties towards it? Prep…?
The 7 marathons7days7states came about because I had been looking at doing something big for a good charity in 2016 and was so far hitting dead ends with planning logistics and lining up a charity on my own. Then a running mate announced his plans to do the 777 and I was in!! (literally within 24 hours of hearing about it I had signed up). It is an event organised and planned by Bravehearts Foundation, a group which aims to prevent and abolish child abuse in Australia – an issues that, given it’s nature, is so often swept under the rug, under reported and ignored. 1 in 5 aussies will be abused before their 18th birthday, often at the hand of those they know well.
I am required to raise at least $10,000 for Bravehearts to take part with an obvious goal of going above and beyond this amount. I want to embrace my ‘crazy’ and use it as a vehicle to help those that through no fault of their own find themselves in awful situations. Physically I’m keeping up a routine of regular ‘big’ events to keep the legs ticking over. Mentally I really focus on a clear vision of the why, if I can understand the why behind what I do then the actual act of doing it becomes secondary.
My biggest fear is letting myself down and letting down those that have supported me. My biggest worry is that with the hectic travel schedule in and around the marathons (this is a BIG country) I won’t be able to enjoy the experience.
You can support Phill with his 777marathons Braveheart fundraiser over at his:
Charity page I just donated 🙂
And here is a video of just one of Phill’s crazy fitness adventures!
I hope we are all feeling super motivated to take our fitness goals to the next level. Whether it is adding a new kind of fitness session into our routine each week or completing our first half marathon like myself in 5 weeks time 🙂
Happy fit goal setting lovelies and don’t forget to tag #barevitality in your fit adventures!