Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Running like Mo

The Olympics were inspiring in many ways and you can only hope that there are many small children out there riding their bikes like Bradley Wiggins or trying to sprint faster than Usain Bolt. But for me the inspiration was Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis who both have something in common; that is the reason they gave for their success. Mo’s put his success down to “hard work and graft”. Simple isn’t it? No fancy equipment, mystical training regime or scientific diet. Sure diet and training regime have a part to play but there is no shortcut.

This is something I’ve taken to heart, too often I can be a dreamer, wanting to read all the magazines and buy the gear rather than just getting out there and running. Not any more, now I’m getting out there and doing it. Trying to build up the mileage, getting my legs and lungs stronger so that I can do the races that I want to. I can realise some of those dreams.

Watching Mo run also taught me something else, if you watch him run he looks like he is floating, those strides look effortless. This is pretty much the opposite to no doubt how I look, when you’re trying to get back into running you end up being a plodder, one foot after the other, having to fight to just keep going. It’s hard to break this habit when all you can think about is your lungs about to explode.

So I’ve started quite literally running like Mo, trying to land my feet with less impact and take longer strides. The effect is quite incredible, it forces you not to drop down into your hips and engage your core more. It takes some of the pressure off your lower back which for me is a godsend.

It takes some getting used to though and you definitely have to build strength in your legs and core, but I would highly recommend you trying it. If it’s good enough for Mo then it’s good enough for me.

All of this means I am now running at least 3 times a week, mostly with Bracken as there really isn’t enough time for a run and a dog walk each day. In a typical week I try to get the following in, as I’ve said before I don’t really take a formal approach to training but do try to keep some variety. I’ve been doing this for about 6 weeks now and am thankfully starting to feel the benefit and actually feel strong on a run.

  • 2-3 runs of around 5 miles, normally with Bracken at 6am (with preferably 1 off road)
  • A core workout in the gym during lunch time; 5 exercises for 40 seconds each and 20 seconds rest between exercises. Repeat 3 times
  • 30 minutes pilates
  • A speed session; sets of sprints (up hill if possible), it’s a pretty quick session and really helps build up strength in your legs for getting up hills.

It might sound quite a bit but apart from the 5 mile runs the rest can be done in 30-40mins which is easy enough to fit in either before work or during a lunch time. I plan to try and start doing a longer run once a week if possible and then if I get my London marathon place will need to up the training a whole lot  more!


  1. I admire your discipline. I don’t think I even give this much consistency to the things I love doing by nature (though it sounds like you do love running). I’ve long been more of the Dylan Moran character in Run Fatboy Run who hears that the rival boyfriend runs marathons and, without skipping a beat, asks: “Why?” The Olympics and Paralympics made me realise that I really need to take up and commit to doing something active. I don’t want my daughter to think that sport and fitness are gendered because daddy cycles and runs and mummy does, well, the laundry.

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