An Interview with Luke Hinds: Ultra-Marathon Runner.
As a little bit of context, Luke was one of our very first customers way back at the start of the year. We sent an email trying to assess how our new oils were going down and Luke took our breath away with his response.
Luke is an Ultra-marathon runner who started taking our CBD way back in the begining. All of us here at CBDiablo were taken aback by the amazing achievements that Luke was able to do and we wanted to somehow be involved in his running.
We are continuing to send Luke products, and asking for his feedback as somebody who is a true CBDeity to help improve our products and services.
We have put together a couple of questions for Luke to answer to showcase a person living life to the fullest and embracing a Deity mindset!
What made you start running ultramarathons?
It was a progression for me, as happens with many others. I found myself overweight and unhappy with my physical health and knew that the longer I left getting into the shape, the harder it would to make a start and the more likely I could develop a serious condition. I had been in quite good shape for a good number of years, as I regularly trained and sometimes competed in martial arts tournaments (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu). However I quit after getting injured and moving areas for work. The problem was that I kept eating like I was in training, but I was now sitting on my arse all day – so the pounds packed on.
Three to four years of this and I could tell health issues were going to start to appear, unless I did something. I never got really sick, but I started to catch colds very easily and develop sleep apnea at night. I had a moment where I somehow willed myself to change and so I purchased some trainers, put them on the next day and started to shuffle around the block doing run / walk. A few months after this I did my first park run (5k), then I moved up to a 10k, and then a half marathon, marathon, and then a 50k and on from there.
It become an addiction in all truth, but a very healthy one, so I stuck with it!
On average how many miles do you run a week?/ What does your training schedule consist of?
Peak mileage before an event is on average 70 miles per week. I also do strength training to help ward off injuries (lots of squats, kettlebells and plyometrics). I also follow the rule of 80 / 20, whereby 80% of my runs are at an easy conversational pace, with a day a week dedicated to a harder speed session (hill repeats or track intervals). I often see people not follow this rule (including myself) and they end up injured. Running is very different to how you would approach a gym session, in the gym you can lift to the point of failure, running however needs more time and patience to develop the needed adaptations, as we are working on the cardiovascular system, which is an intricate network of cells (mitochondria) and not just muscle fibres.
Ultrarunning is as much about mental strength and resilience, as it is a physical challenge. What keeps you going even in the darkest moments when your body is broken and you are sleep deprived?
Good question. When it gets tough I tend to break things into smaller chunks. I tell myself I will get to the next aid point and not dwell on the fact that I have X many miles to go. If it’s really bad, I bring it right down to putting one foot in front of the other. I have also started to practice mindfulness while running, this helps manage my mind better, as if anything will pull me out of a race, it has before and will be again, my mind.
Using mindfulness I am working on stopping thoughts running away with themselves (especially the negative ones). It’s the difference between observing “feeling tired” and rumination runaway style thinking of “I feel tired, I should not be tired at this point, why do I tire easily? You should be doing better than this!, Maybe you’re not cut out for this!”. Also what mindset do you give yourself to get out when it is cold and wet/ you feel tired/ can’t be bothered? What do you tell yourself? I am really lucky here, as I love running so much, and even more so in bad weather.
The worst thing for me is not being able to run because I am injured. I am more likely to find myself looking out of the window when its raining and gray, and wishing I was out there. I think this is why I really like Mountain events, I love having a hood up on a gore tex coat and bearing the elements. I think its my Ginger celtic genetics playing out 🙂 One thing with running in cold shit weather, you warm up quick, and can then tune into being a really comfortable temperature by adjusting your layers.
How do you think ultrarunning has impacted your mental health/ ability to deal with working life and life in general -and why has it helped you cope?
Massively. Endurance running really hardens your resolve to stick at things, even when its not pleasurable. I was always a good starter before, but a bad finisher, running helps break that mold. It also introduced focus into my life at a time when I really needed it.
I find having a race to work towards really helps drive me forwards and is something I really look forward to. I think we all need events and junctures to aspire and drives towards and challenge ourselves – water that does not move, becomes stagnant. I was recently reading a book which spoke on two forms of happiness, “hedonistic” and “eudaimonic”, hedonism is pleasure from material comforts and often acquired with very little effort, where as eudaimonism is based on pursuit of fulfilling your potential, through striving to challenge yourself and meet goals.
Aristotle was the originator of eudaimonistic happiness , with the concept furthered by other stoic centric philosophers. Eudaimonism is available to all, I am just as moved by the overweight person trying to shuffle around there first park run, as I am some super man going to extremes, both are very noble to me. Likewise with the podium winner or the last person in, limping and grimacing to get over the finish line, in the middle of the night when everyone else has gone home.
As you know, Sam has entered an ultra-marathon event after being inspired by what you do – what advice would you give him before he starts, and is there anything you would suggest he think about to physically & mentally prepare himself?
First off, Brilliant, this is great news Sam! I am sure you will smash it. I am so looking forward to hearing how you get on! Ultra running (or any distance running) requires a good amount of mileage each week. With this in mind, you need to build slowly! So even if you feel great, don’t increase mileage to quickly. The general rule is no more than 10% increase a week. So if you run 20 miles in a week, run 22 the next week. Consider joining a local running club, you will start to find others that you can run with for weekend long run company and they will often hold coached sessions which can be very useful. Train on the terrain you will race. If you’re going to be running in the mountains or trails, don’t do all your training on tarmac (although some training is better than none). Last of all, start very slow on your first race and make sure you eat lots!
Most people would consider ultra running as an extreme sport that requires extreme levels of self-motivation and resilience- it is found that a large percentage of ultra runners started running as a coping mechanism. If you have suffered from mental health issues in the past, what have they been?
I have had depression most of my life and that played out as addiction issues with drugs and alcohol. Running is a perfect elixir to this (perhaps not for everyone, but for a lot of people). I find running is exceptionally good for me to spend time thinking and reflecting on my life. For example, if I sit around at home and start thinking about my life, it has a tendency to turn a bit morbid or negative, where as when I think things through while running, I don’t find my thoughts running away with themselves. It’s like my safe place. Running is medidiative, so I am sure its from that and also all the hormones that it releases. In regards to needing extreme levels of self-motivation and resilience, you develop these over time from working at the cliff face during training. The victory of completing an event when then odds are against you, is not won on the day only, it’s from the 4 weeks before when you got up on a Monday morning at 5am to go out and run. You just need to keep at it, and it shapes you. What made you realize that you had an issue & what lead to your recovery/ betterment? This was going back many years in my younger days. At first everyone else was telling me I had an issue, until I eventually agreed with them. I sought out help after getting into some trouble with the law and over time I started ‘parent’ myself into taking care of my health and mental outlook and slowly rebuilding my life again. I also discovered exercise, which is perfect for learning discipline and getting a healthy fix!
What techniques/mindset/ activities helped you overcome the demons? And what do you do now to keep them in check (other than running if there are any :)?
I am lucky to have a wonderful family of my own now, they drive me forward and my wife is very good at making sure I am not falling into any traps or holes and will always point it out for me, in no uncertain times if I do. The key things for myself is constant vigilant care of my health and well being, I know that sounds kind of obvious. Let me frame it this way: Depression or any form of mental illness are like any other condition or illness. If you don’t eat, sleep and care for yourself well, then your primary condition will likely flare up as a result of not providing yourself with sufficient care. I have also over the years learned to be honest with myself and try to maintain this inner honestly. I do a lot of self searching and evaluate how I am behaving and it my behavior stemmed from me having an unresolved issue I have and need to talk to someone about or take a certain action?
What makes you get out and keep going in the darkest moments mentally? (do you use a mindset/ ethos/ your family/ something else?)
Eventually it will come down to pure stubbornness to not quit. Quite often at the end of a really hard event, I find myself almost turning feral in my mind, and just driving forward. Thinking of family won’t be enough, it boils down to a single focus of getting it done. I will often start letting rip with some expletives in the middle of the night and find that help, kind of a ‘bring it’ type attitude. Having said that, you also need to know when to quit. Especially with the mountain events. If you get stranded, others (Mountain rescue) will also be putting themselves at risk in trying to perform a rescue, so you do have to know when you should call it a day. I had a 100 mile race not long back, when I had to quit at 82 miles. My body just gave out on me, I could have gone ‘David Goggins’ and crawled on my hands and knees to the finish, but I knew I had a family holiday is coming up in just a few days and my wife would not be impressed if it meant I was in A&E while she was left packing the luggage!
What would you say is the most important lessons you have learned in life, and what would be something you would like to share to others who are also struggling with mental health/ is there anything in particular that has shaped the way you think about your own mental health?
Talking is #1! When we speak with someone else, we break our isolation. Isolation is what is lethal for us. When you keep your problems to yourself, you are left comparing how you feel inside, with how everyone else looks on the outside and you will always come worse off. The kicker here is that people are incredibly good at looking together externally, while internally they might well be in the middle of a storm. Never feel silly or like you will waste someone’s time, or your issues are petty somehow, just talk it out. Call the Samaritans if need be, if you don’t have a trusted person you can talk to. In the words of R.E.M “Everybody hurts, take comfort in your friends”.
Being A Deity!
What drives you?
Being scared of mediocrity.
How do you empower yourself?
Doing things that scare me and have a decent chance of failing.
How have you become impenetrable?
I am very open and happy to be a bit vulnerable with others- this makes me stronger so that nothing hurts me!
Why is it important for you to be tenacious and try again, even after you have failed?
Failures are just lessons learned. I am an engineer by trade, and the nature of the trade is you have to fail, assess why, make some tweaks and try again. “That which can be measured can be mastered!” I also I would much rather fail, then not even try in the first place, for fear of failure. I am a bit a sucker for quotes, and love the Roosevelt one: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
What is important to you about having a positive, forward-thinking mindset?
I am a much happier camper myself, and far more useful to my fellow man!