When Ian signed up to RNT, running 70km a week was just his version of normality. He was running 5 days a week for at least 60mins and more on his long run days. This was all he did - after his family, running was Ian’s number one priority and he lived and breathed it.
The trouble was, he didn’t have the right foundation to support the mileage he was continually hitting. He didn’t go to the gym and he didn’t fuel his body the way it needed to make his passion sustainable.
“To be honest, I was in good physical shape. I was relatively fit and strong but not healthy. It was a pretty bad situation as I was drinking about 1-3 beers everyday! And I knew that I had to get on top of diet and nutrition to be on my A game. And I knew that I had to join RNT to be able to achieve that. It really was a no-brainer, I needed the experts to show me the way.”
Rewiring Old Behaviours
It’s one thing to want to do something, it is quite another thing to actually commit to it and see it through. Which is why in 2020, before signing up for RNT, Ian decided to give up beer completely except on holidays and special occasions.
Cleaning up his palate was hard in the first two weeks but he quickly shifted into gear.
“I realised how amazing it felt to run the next morning without any alcohol in my system. It was so much more fun! I was drinking a gallon of water a day, was reading about 10 pages of a book and sweated through two 45 min exercise sessions everyday. This did help immensely.”
As is often the case, nutrition was the biggest missing piece for Ian and his lack of understanding was what was keeping him from being fit, strong AND healthy.
“Calories and macros may as well have been in a foreign language. I had no comprehension of how many calories were in stuff. No awareness of what macros I should have or the quality of the macros. It was only through RNT that I learnt that fats can be either from chocolate or avocado or peanuts and I learnt to pick the better choice!”
Balancing Strength Training And Running
Since running was his priority, Ian had to work his strength sessions into his week in a way that best supported his running goal.
“Running was always my priority. I wanted to become more resilient and stronger to complement and support my running. Which is why I was really aiming for strength without growth. I didn’t want to get bigger or ‘muscley’. I was running 6 days a week and plugging in 100km a week which meant that my legs were never fully rested. I had to plan my strength sessions on those days when I ran for shorter durations. I knew that I needed to plan my strength sessions so I could get the maximum value from my gym sessions.”
Running After RNT
Ian had been chasing down a goal of running a marathon in under 2 hours and 45 mins for a few years. He had run a sub 3 hour marathon before but he knew he really needed to be in the best physical condition if he had to get to to run the distance in less than that time.
“Fuelling properly was a real game changer. The training and the nutrition gave me better resilience to the high volume mileage. I have always headed out for a run first thing in the morning without really eating anything. And when the quality of food improved and the alcohol stopped I felt so much better in the mornings without feeling sick and nauseous. I don’t feel like shit anymore! I was still tired but my mental alertness significantly improved.”
This switch to eating better and making better choices doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years of being ruthlessly consistent with your diet and training to settle into a steady, happy state. Altering your relationship with food where you think of it as fuel for your body and nothing more takes time and years of practice.
“When I started, I was quite literally on a pendulum where I was either a monk or a raging alcoholic. I still am not perfect and I have a long way to go. I have reached a point where I am in better control and I don’t want to go back to the old ways again. You don’t know what it’s like to be fit until you’ve been fit and you can’t explain to someone what it’s like to be fit, so once you experience it and have it, you don’t want to let go of it.”
Setting Up A Structure To Succeed
When you are an entrepreneur and you have to work your way around a number of constantly moving elements, you have to have some concrete blocks around which to structure the rest of the day.
Ian achieved this by establishing his non-negotiables and really dialling in on them when work got challenging.
“I am lucky I have the support of an amazing wife. Without her support it would be so much harder. We make sure we spend enough quality time together so when I am training it doesn’t feel like I’m compromising too much.
But on a weekly basis I have my running time blocked out in my diary. I am an early riser so I am up and out of the house at 4:30am so my running is out of the way even before my day has begun.
If I’m struggling at work and I’m having a particularly hard week, I question myself: am I drinking enough water? Am I eating the right food? Am I planning my time properly? I try to make sure that these fundamental ingredients are in the right balance. And if it is and I’m still feeling rough, I know I need some time off or I need a deload week.”
This is key, only you can identify the signs when things are going out of hand so you can take the necessary steps to bring it back in control. If there are some elements that are outside your control, doubling down on the aspects that you can control will help to take the edge off the rough patches.
Running A Sub 2:45 Marathon
After signing up with RNT, Ian finally filled the gaps in his training and learnt the importance of fuelling his body with the right type of food.
“RNT has been a game changer with fueling properly and the accountability that the platform provides. Going to gym has given my body the resilience it needs to go through the gruelling training and come out injury free!
To go through such a rigorous training schedule you have to have a bulletproof mind where you are laser focused on your goals.
To achieve my goals I know that all I can really do is my best and the result will roll out however it does. Only you know if you have done your best but you can’t decide the outcome. When running at crazy speeds I don’t think about how long I can hold this pace. I only think, I can stay in this zone for now and that’s all I can control.”
Ian pushed himself and gave his training all of his single-minded focus and attention and managed to run a marathon in 2hr 44 mins and 36 secs! He did it within 24 secs of the goal he set himself!
The catalyst that propelled him to achieve this remarkable feat was the quality of training and nutrition that he gleaned from RNT. These two vital elements gave his body the foundation to run 100km a week for six months without injury!
Defining High Performance
What does it mean to be on your A game? Every individual’s perspective on what high performance means takes on a different perspective based on their priorities.
For Ian it was setting a standard that he couldn’t fall below in multiple areas of his life.
“It’s easy to be good at one thing, but maintaining a balance between lots of different areas in your life without letting standards fall is high performance to me. And achieving what you set out to achieve, following through on your word is to me, essential.”
Physical Is The Vehicle
Learning how to listen to the needs of his body and responding in kind accelerated Ian’s performance on the road and in other areas of his life.
“I very rarely think about my mood anymore. My body does what it’s told and I don’t feel like shit anymore. Rather than being an expert at getting away with what I can get away with I have fine-tuned my discipline and my moods are so much more consistent.
Even as an entrepreneur my output has skyrocketed! I follow through on commitments and there is so much more integrity to my word. Even the commitments I make to myself have gone up another level.”
From One RNTer To Another
One of the biggest strengths of RNT is our supportive community. We learn from each other enabling us to progress further and faster than we thought possible.
Ian’s number one piece of advice to other RNTers on their journey is to not think of RNT as the ‘golden bullet’ to transformation.
“You have to take responsibility for your own transformation. RNT does not do it for you, you have to do it yourself. You are shown the tools in the tool box and you are given lessons on how you can use them effectively. But ultimately, you have to learn to apply them and make them work for your unique goals.
You will fail loads of times. It is bound to happen. I am not where I need to be but where I am now is unrecognisable when compared to where I was a year ago. Trust the program and you will reap the benefits.”
In episode 275 of RNT Fitness Radio Akash and Ian talk about the rigours of marathon training and how closely it compares to strength training in the gym. Ian walks us through the gruelling training routine he had to endure to hit his goal of running a marathon in under 2 hours and 45 mins. In this podcast Ian says, “Now that I am in the shape of my life after thrashing myself to an inch of my life I am all set to find that happy medium” That is the holy grail that we all seek and a journey that we all have to walk for the rest of our lives.