Building self-awareness

Hi guys,
Some months ago (I just realized it was by 2017!), I wrote a post about trying different stuff such as mindfulness, meditation, yoga or long fasting.
Well, I have tested some bit and pieces of those goals, but I´ve not dug deeper to share some clear conclusions with you.

Meditation is probably the biggest learning so far.
Coming from a position of “I´m drastically failing in it” or “I can´t do it, this is not for me” to engage with other people much savvier than I in the topic and understanding, yet believing, that practising meditations is already a success itself. I´ve still not found a regular rhythm, but things are moving in the right direction.

Fasting is definitely the one I am more constant.
Educating my body to hold long times of fasting, without feeling foolish.
Even I don´t think this is the healthiest way, I sometimes like to feel emptiness.
Take in account I combine it with a sports practice, usually a long run, but I would recommend building a foundation before trying it.

Plant Based is my very last acquisition.
I´m not an advocator of any diet, nor detractor.
Yet, I´ve never done a diet in my life, but to follow common sense.
So, why is this new thing with a Plant-Based test?
Excellent question, let me dissect it.

  • Self-awareness:
    How is my body reacting to the lack of meat?
    Am I sleeping better or worse? Where´s the trigger?
    Is my clarity while thinking affected?
    And my relationships and mood?
  • Challenging the status quo:
    This one is self-explanatory: Change before you have to change!
    Am I performing better, worse or the same?
    Can I hack the process and improve it?
  • Inspiring:
    Can anyone, either from my inner circle or beyond, get inspired by it?
    Why go out of the comfort area in great times, both personal and career wise?
    As the London 2012 Olympics statements, “inspire a generation”. That would be amazing.
  • Meaningfulness:
    I´m the first one that says I respect the environment, I want to create an impact in the society and contribute to have a better world.
    Am I doing it? Is this a vehicle to build in that direction?
    How is the Plant-Based diet affecting to diabetes and how can I learn to improve peoples lives?

These are some of the thoughts that are spinning around my head currently.
That said, I´m not a Plant-Based strict guy, nor vegan or so.
I still believe and defend, that common sense and being far away to any extreme, is the key to happiness and a better life.

So how do I do?

  • I started by decreasing the dose of meat, from daily to a Meatless Monday and from there to 2 per week. I´m now with 1x every two weeks. Therefore, don´t try to run a marathon before you have under your belt some 10k, half marathons etc.
  • I have involved my wife. A team is always more powerful than an individual.
  • I have set some time to analyze how my body is reacting. Positives and negatives. Also some rewards such ice cream on Sundays.
  • I´m still full of common sense, not avoiding a steak when my body asks for it, or I´m in a dinner with friends and this is the main dish.
  • Finally, I´ve not deducted all the food, keeping the one that makes sense to me. Those ones are as follows: Eggs, salmon and tuna. Those 3 have an important source of protein that I believe is necessary, so I try to intake one every other day.

And that´s it!
I´m keen on analyzing how all this evolve, how my body reacts to it and what can I learn as a best practice.
It may become an habit at some point, or just help me to identify types of food that are not making my body to perform as it should.

Any advice or suggestion?

Cheers,
Dani Juan

 

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Winter sports weekend I

Hi guys,
I’m back from the mountains after an amazing time outdoors, practising some winter sports in Inzell and Rupholding.

On Saturday, we chose Ski Touring, going all the way up to Kampenwand.
In the beginning, we were pretty impressed with the lack of snow, having to walk with the skis on the shoulder and the comfy boots on (I can’t be more sarcastic).
After almost half an hour by feet, we found the first sign of snow.
Skiis on and up we go!
The snow quality is not the best one, but good enough to enjoy. As much as we gain elevation, the landscape is getting more beautiful and the views, outstanding: The Bayerish Meer, more typically known as the Chiemsee is sparkling on the horizon. And that deserves a photo.

The summit is not far away and we arrived without any complexity. At the top, an Alm awaits and we decided to take a drink to refuel. I love the way the Alms are setup in the Alps.

Skins off and skiing mode on! The way down is fantastic. The slopes are literally empty and we have the whole playground for us. The weather is fastly changing and some drops are already on us, but the visibility and fun remain untouched.

After a great practice outdoors, we head to Inzell to taste some Bayerish treats, drink a good beer and enjoy a last walk before shutting down. What a day!

Cheers,
Dani Juan

Abel Tasman Trail, New Zealand

Guys, I don’t want to exaggerate, but Abel Tasman trail is one of my favorite trails ever.
I can’t barely describe with words how beautiful it is, the quality of the ground for enjoying an absolutely great running practice and the number of views that you’ll meet during the session.

The trail is easily accessible, and you can either park by the entrance or run from the base camp, in case you are overnight. In our case, we arrived the night before, to take a walk along the beach and have a drink with the ocean as a witness. Amazing!

I’m waking up early and preparing my coffee (grind, heating water, french press, pour over, wait, enjoy). With the first sip, I like to wake Nicki up. She slowly opens her eyes and I know she wants to sleep a bit more, so I give to her two more sips, while I’m staring at the first lights of the day and enjoying my favorite time of the day. After the grace period, I open the doors and Nicki jump out.

We normally don’t like to have breakfast before the 1st practice of the day, so it’s quite straightforward for us: Clothes and runners on, water intake and we’re ready to go.
Disclaimer: I’m aware that taking long training sessions in fasting could not be good. We do because we are used to, but we do know it’s may not the best approach. Find your way.

Starting out from the base camp and hitting the trail after 1,5km. From there, prepare yourself to enjoy a trail I bet you’ll not be disappointed. The conditions of the ground are simply perfect, with a wide path that allows you to run fast and with a great grip. The panorama is unbelievable, with the sea all the way up on your right and a forest that plays drawing a zig-zag across bridges and falls. Open your eyes, because you’ll find several spots to go down to beaches that are not accessible by car, and the water is crystal clear. In our way back, we can’t resist anymore temptation, so we turn the engines off and we are in our way down to the beach. And it’s pay off! A rock access to a white sand beach, with an incredible turquoise water that is calling us to try it out.

After spending some minutes there, we start again to run back, and this time the traffic is terrific. The people have started to do the trail and the solitude is gone. Rather, the run itself is a challenge to avoid crashes, since the people (and I don’t blame them for that) is enjoying an amazing walk with family and friends.

To wrap up and give some facts, we did around 22k in two ways, but you can easily extend to something around 26 to 30k. The trail is allowing you to push as much as you want, and the only negative point can be the traffic, so I recommend to start early to have a fresh track.
Beautiful trail, amazing training and unforgettable views, I hope to hit it again!

Cheers,
Dani

Alex Knob Trail, New Zealand

During our honeymoon across New Zealand and, after almost 2.000km of driving, we stopped over in the Franz Josef Glacier. It’s amazingly sad to stare how the Glacier is getting smaller year by year, mostly because of the climate change. Still, it’s quite impressive to see such a natural phenomenon and stare for some minutes realizing how small we are.

After walking across the natural park, we headed up to the town and enjoyed some bribes, with a burger and some French fries to share. During the dinner, we were researching for the next day hiking route and eventually decided for the Alex Knob.

Day D arrives and we are ready to go.
After grinding some coffee beans with the manual grinder (what a great investment!) I prepare a French press and pour the coffee over a titanium mug from Snowpeak that Nicki has giving to me as a present. The process of the coffee preparation is a habit I’ve, a routine that I love to do every morning.

I’m driving at 6.30am from the base camp. I’m a really bad sleeper, I recognize that. As soon as I’m excited due to an upcoming activity, my body travels to my childhood and I only hope that the night goes fast.
We hit the starting point before 7.00am, ensuring that we are kicking the trail off and avoiding traffic.

We’re discussing in front of the billboard with the Alex Knob trail details, where is written that we will need around 8h to complete the hike. As we know by experience that they overexaggerate the timings and we, as usual, are planning to run as much as possible, the forecast is dropping down from something around 4h30’ to 5h.

The day was grey and a bit rainy, which on the one hand make the weather delicious and perfect to run with one layer. The opposite side of the coin is that the lookouts are covered with fog, and we can’t see anything below us.

In terms of describing the trail, I would say is a great track to enjoy a combination of running and hiking. The route has many parts runnable, and it’s not getting super step until the last kilometers. The trails are well maintained, which make you comfortable and safe during the whole thing.
The length is around 17km, with an altitude of 1.200m and took us around 3h25’ .
The price is, basically,  the 2 lookouts you’ll find during your way up (when clear weather), the forest track where you have to pass under trees and little climbs and finally the lookout to the Franz Josef Glacier (that we were not able to see at all due to the conditions).

To sum up, a great morning to explore outdoors, take a moderate physical activity and breathe fresh air.

Our very last tip about it: Prepare beforehand some picnic and park the camper/car at the entrance of the park, just in one side of the river. Take your breakfast/lunch there and enjoy the views!

Cheers,
Dani Juan

#nodaysoff – month 1

Hi guys,
After feeling inspired at the beginning of the year by tracksmith and his commitment to #nodaysoff, I decided to set this up as a 2017 goal.
You can join, track, use, copy, modify or suggest whatever you want in my strava.

In a nutshell, the aim is to do a kind of training (I modified it approach slightly) everyday or to say it differently, to smash 365 sessions in a row. Strike.

Before describing some of my sensations, one of the key learnings is how powerful is to be engaged with a goal. Those days that your legs are screaming for a break or you simply don’t feel like to crunch some kcal out, being commit to something is a natural booster.

During the first months, I’ve achieved a 100% effectivity.
I’ve experienced some days that I was quite tired, due to the Ironman Vietnam preparation, others that I was traveling either for job or leisure and a last bunch when I was postponing during the day and it was so difficult to overcome.
And this is exactly the key: To find something that is keeping you motivated

I’m not going to lie…I use to be badly keening on doing sports, thus is part of my life and I can’t separate. The days that I’ve described above were 2-3 maximum. But I think you get the idea, right?
Set up a goal, commit with something meaningful for you, partner with a friend, you girlfriend or a community and unleash your best.

Looking forward to smash the next 11 months =)

Cheers,
Dani Juan

How to score without a plan

Hi guys,
I always say that there is no off-season: There are periods where you will train more and others that you’ll do less, but to keep your body active and fit is a habit, rather than a seasonal thing. img_5597

When I’m not following a plan or preparing a race (that seems this is the trend in the last year), I sometimes can feel demotivated or not keening at all in getting some training done.
And if you know me, not doing sports and/or practicing my habits, may have a negative impact on my daily basis performance: personal, learning, social, job etc.

How I overcome this?
How I train without a plan?
It’s only about training or there are other parts that I want to push myself?

Normally, I set up short objectives, no longer than 1 week.
For instance, let me sum up the last weeks goals to give you a clear picture of what I mean:

  • Training: Running 70k in week 1 and 80k in week 2
  • Social: Join at least 1 activity with a group. img_5530
    Football game last Friday
  • Nutrition: Avoid sweets during working hours
  • Hydration: Don’t exceed 2,5 litres/day
  • Mind: Doing during 10 days 10′ meditation
  • Extra: Go 3 levels up in duolingo in one week

One of the things that are working for me, is to set up goals that are ambitious but achievable at the same time.
The idea behind is to be able to score and even go further.

Last but not least, short term objectives doesn’t need to be easy, so don’t forget to reward yourself and celebrateimg_5560
Cheers,
Dani Juan

Meditation from scratch

Hi guys,
It’s been a while since I had written in my list “things to try” a meditation routine.
Tired of delaying this topic much more, I have researched about it and having some ideas of how to do Meditation without knowing nothing about it. Or Meditation for dummies, feel free to called it.

Some hints that had steered me to try Meditation:

  1. I was realizing that I find quite easy to work against objectives, goals or projects.
    — However, when it was about to keep the mind blank, it was such a challenge
  2. The same as in training. Even when I’m tired, I can focus in doing a session and hit (with a better or worse performance) the objective of the practice.
    –Trying to relax afterwards in some quality minutes doing some stretching or just breathing is usually not possible. I’m already thinking in the next task.
  3. Feeling bad if I’m in the bed awake. My body (steer by my head) makes me leap out of the bed and start doing stuff. We’re talking 5.30 to 6.00am, even on the weekends.
    I was putting quite an effort to stay in the bed on Sunday’s, but I failed over and over.

For those reasons and others and, confiming this pattern with Nicki, I realized I’ve not as much control as I thought on my mind.

Back to the research point, I was reading some advice of how meditation can help you to focus during the day and also how can improve your daily productivity.
Credits to one of my recurrent learning/hacking sources, Tim Ferriss

So I’m trying for 10 days an app called Headspace to experience whether Meditation can actually help to feel better, keep you more focused and rise your productivity or, rather, is something that is not suiting me.

Any recommendation guys?

Day 1 accomplished, with 10′ this morning after my running session and I’ve to admit I felt better the whole day. Placebo?

Cheers,
Dani Juan