Giveaway: Down and Dirty – The Essential Training Guide for Obstacle Races and Mud Runs

As some of you will know, last year I took part in the Nuts Challenge. I absolutely loved it and spent most of the course with a grin this wide (except when I got to the nets where I probably had my default about-to-burst-into-tears expression instead).


Although in the days leading up to the challenge I did a lot of googling for tips, what I didn’t have is a book. A book like this one, perhaps.


Yeah, a nice big, thick, glossy book full of tips and photos of fit blokes (and girls) would have come in handy, that’s for sure. Plus it would have been an excuse to buy a book and I’m not one to miss an opportunity to buy more books.


Down and Dirty: The Essential Training Guide for Obstacle Races and Mud Runs covers the most popular obstacle races and mud runs and has tips ranging from those for newbies choosing their first race to a guide for the more hardcore amongst us to surviving a 24-hour-plus race such as Death Race or Tough Mudder.


Everything’s covered in the book, from how to conquer the obstacles, training techniques, what to wear and nutrition. There’s even a few recipes, including one for paleo energy bars (simply shredded coconut, pitted dates, cinnamon and maple syrup – very similar, in fact, to these delicious energy balls I made a few weeks ago).

Another thing it mentions and something I’d definitely advise taking into consideration is the facilities. The Nuts Challenge had a Pimms tent, which is obviously the most important bit but although it had a changing area, it didn’t have adequate washing facilities. You’re going to get muddy at these races. Seriously muddy. Caked in mud, in fact, and unless you’re travelling home in your own car or someone else’s car who doesn’t mind a bit of mud, you’re going to have to get on the train looking like Stig of the Dump and smelling like something that’s just emerged from a swamp (which, let’s face it is what you’ve just done). I got invited to take part in an obstacle challenge later this year but I’ve had to turn it down as there aren’t any showers and I wasn’t prepared to be seen in public looking like this.


Win a copy of Down and Dirty: The Essential Training Guide for Obstacle Races and Mud Runs

If you haven’t taken part in an obstacle race before, I thoroughly recommend you do – they’re amazing fun. And if you do sign up for one, well, you’re in luck as I’m giving away a copy of Down and Dirty: The Essential Training Guide for Obstacle Races and  Mud Runs. All you have to do is leave a comment letting me know which obstacle course/mud run you’ve done or one you’re signed up to do or one you’d like to do in the future.

I’ll choose a winner at random after the closing date of Friday 9 August 2014. UK entries only please.  Good luck!

Giveaway: What’s your excuse?


If you’ve got an excuse for not getting fit, you’ll probably find it in What’s Your Excuse … For Not Getting Fit by Joanne Henson.

The book covers excuses that could have been written just for me, such as:

‘I’m hungover’
‘I want to go to the pub instead’
‘I want to watch Eastenders’
‘My iPod needs charging and I don’t like to exercise without music’

and other excuses like:

‘It will mess up my hair’
‘I’m too fat’
‘I walk to the station and back every day, isn’t that enough?’
‘I hate the gym’
‘It’s too cold/hot’

Joanne covers all these excuses and how to change your habits and attitude. This isn’t a ‘how to get fit book’ but more of a ‘there are no excuses to not get fit’ book.


What’s Your Excuse … For Not Getting Fit is available on Amazon, but I’ve got a copy of it to give away. Just leave a comment below letting me know what your excuse is and I’ll pick a winner by random after the closing date of midnight, Friday 27 September.

Book review: First Time Ironman by Rhys Chong

first-time-ironman-rhys-chong38-year-old New Zealander Rhys Chong completed an Ironman in 12 hours 55 seconds. Then he wrote a book about it. First Time Ironman is a slim volume; at only 120 pages, you’ll get through it in a couple of hours.

With it being such a short book, it’s neither an in-depth guide to Ironman training (you won’t find any training schedules or meal plans here) nor did I feel like I was with Chong every second throughout his journey to Ironman finisher. Given that his recollection of weeing himself during the bike leg of the race is the most graphic part of the book, it’s probably a good idea that I wasn’t with him at that particular moment.

Chong comes across as committed and focused during his training. Either that or he didn’t want to waste the money he’d spent on his team which comprised a head coach, swim coach, bike mechanic, nutritionist, massage therapist and mental conditioning coach (Chong’s a physiotherapist, so he didn’t need one of those). In case we didn’t guess at that point that this dude has a bit of cash, he tells us he almost bought a bike for £7,000 and spent £1,500 on wheels. His coach talked him out of it; maybe he was worried his bill wouldn’t get paid. Chong also mentions his house has ‘several flights of stairs’ and I’m guessing this isn’t Chong poshing up the fact he lives on the top floor of a council tower block.

At the end of most of the fifteen chapters are three tips. Don’t expect anything mind-blowing or illuminating. The first tip is ‘Make the decision to do an Ironman by paying the money and entering’. Not very deep. And as for, ‘Don’t buy gadgets you don’t need’. Well, where’s the fun in buying gadgets you don’t need, huh?

As mentioned above, Chong comes across as committed and focused but not in a way that’s arrogant or pretentious. What is lacking, however, is any warmth or light-heartedness and the overall tone of the book is rather dull. I haven’t read any other Ironman books, but there’s bound to be better out there. Still, if you want a quick read about one man’s journey to Ironman, then Chong’s your man.

First Time Ironman by Rhys Chong is published by Ecademy Press and has an RRP of £12.99.