Colin McCourt is a middle distance runner from Great Britain who competed at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and was striving to attend the Olympics in 2012.  But he didn’t make the team.  And stepped away from running at age 27.  He never told anyone, just stepped away and got a job.

Over time, he gained weight.  He wasn’t in the best of head space.  He got married and had a son.  And came to realize that if he didn’t make some changes he would not be able to do all the things he wanted to do with his son, simple things like playing in the park.

Colin and I discuss how seeing an old photo of himself running caused him to rethink how he was living his life.  His first run was horrific to him.  After posting an up-to-date photo, his friends proposed a bet, one that changed his life.  He regained control of his life by reintroducing some structure in his life. He changed to a diet that better supported his running goals, and built running consistency by insisting to himself that he just get out the door and run.  No watch, just run, each day a bit more than the day before.  Run to time and how you feel.  Can we say #nowatchme?

This episode is a big longer than usual, but Colin and I were discussing such important concepts, and it was wonderful that he agreed that we could keep going.  Colin and I are so much on the same wavelength when it comes to being real and I know you will enjoy it.  

Today’s Guest

Colin McCourt hit the headlines for a bet he was undertaking. Having ballooned to 94 kg (207 lbs) after retiring from athletics, he stood to win money on a bet with friends if he could finish a 5k in under 16 minutes in 2017. If he failed, he had to have the names of seventeen of his friends tattooed onto his back. He finished the race in 15:38,  beating the bet significantly.

What you will learn about:

  • How Colin dropped out of running, got a job, and substituted working too hard and eating too much for the discipline of professional running
  • How posting a photo of himself resulted in friends “helping” him meet his goal by challenging him to run a 5k in under 16 minutes or forever live with their names tattooed on his body
  • How there is nothing wrong with heading out, taking whatever time you need for your run, stopping to take photos, embracing the scenery.  Remember what you were like as a kid.  How you should forget all the technical mumbo jumbo and just run.
  • How Colin reintroduced balance across all the facets of his life, from home to work to fitness
  • How posting and being real on social media helped him achieve his goals and inspire others to know they can do it too.  Life isn’t perfect and we need to all remember that bad days happen to everyone, even though they don’t talk about it.
  • How to win most of the little battles every day. And not worry about the small ones that you miss but can tackle the next day.

Listen to the Running for Real Podcast here:

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Inspirational Quotes:

If you miss a deadline at work, it isn’t as if someone is going to die.

My friends knew I was stupid enough to agree to a bet like that.  If I say I am going to do it, I commit to do it.

Just run.  Consistency is key.  Enjoy what you are doing.  

Most days it is critical to just get out there and do it, even if you don’t want to. But it is also critical to know when it important to listen to your body.  

With Strava and watches you can get too caught up in the times rather than how you are feeling and adapting each day.  I put exactly how I feel on the run in the description and then don’t go back and look at the paces.  I post what is real and what I am feeling each day.  Because you will get caught out in the lies eventually.

“I think I have just met the male version of me” – Tina Muir

My whole purpose is to teach my son that anything is possible.  You don’t have to keep worrying about what you did in the past.  The only way for sure that I won’t do it is if I don’t try when I have the opportunity.


Last week’s episode with Ali Feller

Colin on Instagram

Colin on Twitter

Running for Real Beginners Podcast Series

Rest of the Podcast Series

Thank you to BodyHealth for sponsoring this episode of Running for Real.

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Thanks for Listening! I hope you enjoyed today’s episode.

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Thank you to Colin. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.

#nowatchme, Commonwealth Games, effort based running, life balance

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