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I feel fortunate to live in an era where we have endless information and inspiration at our fingertips via the Internet. Thanks to audio, we have the option to consume it whilst working up a sweat in training, prepping meals, moving at a snail’s pace in peak hour traffic and going about other daily activities. Finding the time and focus to read can be challenging at the best of times but even more so now that my baby is nearly four months old and is becoming a lot more active. This opportunity allows me to learn and challenge my thinking every day.

Photo: Tom Huntley

Naturally my favourite part of preparing for a Marathon is being able to run, preferably pain-free and out amongst nature with company. Repetitive and somewhat mind-numbing cardio sessions in the gym and on a rowing ergo in our living room nearly drove me to insanity during the healing phase of a metatarsal stress fracture in 2014. It wasn’t until my relatively recent discovery of podcasts that I started to see cross-training sessions as valuable opportunities to learn and gain motivation whilst building fitness and strength without the load of running. I am now able to embrace the once dreaded cross-training sessions when they feature on my program or become a last-minute addition due to a niggle. Smarter training choices through a greater willingness to replace running with cross-training if necessary can be powerful in the prevention of injury. This shift in mindset was also an asset throughout pregnancy and has been highly valuable in my return to training postpartum.

“The only training you benefit from is the training that you recover from” - Brad Beer quoting Dr. Shona Halson.

As I swung my arms back and forth and circled my legs on the Elliptical trainer in our carport last week, I repeated these wise words. Brad Beer’s interviews with David McNeill and Dr. Nicky Keay on ‘The Physical Performance Show’ podcast prompted me to reflect on moments throughout the last decade when I was more focused on trying to tick off training than on setting myself up well to achieve the desired adaptations. I recalled a period in late 2010 when I naively failed to fuel adequately over a couple of months, resulting in a significant lull in my training output. In 2018, with an extra eight years of experience under my belt, I slipped into the trap again of letting single-mindedness dominate reason. I was so determined to reassure myself that I was in peak Marathon fitness that I almost tipped myself over the edge in a heat session prior to the taper. These two podcast episodes highlighted that it’s ‘during our recovery-phase and particularly when sleeping that tissue and bone remodelling occur in response to training stimuli to make us stronger for the next workout’. Whilst the important roles of rest, recovery and training-to-feel seem obvious, sometimes these points require a little reinforcement in the right moment to really sink in.

Days later, whilst pressing my heels into a Swiss ball and raising into a bridge position, I learnt about the unwavering willpower and hard work-ethic that led to Grant Hackett’s successin the pool (and now in business) through his interview with Mark on ‘The Howie Games’. His desire to get the most out of himself and commitment to working harder than his rivals, plus a little more, earned him gold medals but also saw him battle health challenges along the way. His raw insights reiterated the importance of recovery to allow the body to operate in its optimal state and for long term health. Whilst 'recovery' on a daily (and nightly) basis looks as little different for me now as a Mum, scheduled non-running days, earlier nights, nutritious meals, adequate hydration, daily monitoring and willingness to adapt training as needed have been important components of my routine. Since Billy’s birth I feel like I have been more present than ever before. Freeing my mind of unnecessary thoughts and coming back into running with a fresh perspective has helped me to maximise my training and recovery opportunities,

I find learning the life stories of others incredibly motivating. Discovering how people think, how they navigate challenges and what makes them tick encourages me to reflect on my own beliefs, goals and strategies. The few episodes alone filled my brain with tools and my heart with belief about the endless possibilities that exist when passion and determination meet wisdom.

I don’t think I’ll ever run out of Podcast episodes to listen to given the length of my current list (below) but if you do have any that you would recommend adding, please let me know!

Thanks and all the best for 2020 : )

My Podcast Playlist:

- Inside Running Podcast

- The Physical Performance Show

- The Howie Games

- The Clean Sport Collective

- Kurt Fearnley’s Tiny Island

- Trained (I particularly enjoyed Angela Duckworth’s episode on 27/12/2018)

- How I Built This

- Crappy to Happy

- The Imperfects

- Lady Startups

- Australian Birth Stories

- The Aussie Runner Podcast

- Train Smarter with Science

- The Real Science of Sport

- The Wellness Collective

- Nexasport

- 2020 Vision

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