Putting in the miles Putting in the miles

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Putting in the miles

Jon proudly displaying his latest medal, having completed the Kingston half marathon.
Jon proudly displaying his latest medal, having completed the Kingston half marathon.

A recent initiative of Sailors’ Society has been the introduction and implementation of their Wellness at Sea programme. This is a wide-ranging set of initiatives put in place in early 2015 that support seafarers across the globe. Among these initiatives are the Crisis Response Centres that provide care and support for seafarers impacted by piracy and attacks at sea, and ear and eye testing facilities in India.

The Wellness at Sea programme is now fully accessible via a free app, available at both of the key download sites. The latest version, kindly sponsored by Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, sees various enhancements that include a range of healthy living tips, recipes and exercises, all of which are designed to help monitor and maintain physical and mental health at home, in port and at sea.

Given the impending challenge I face, the physical exercise suggestions given on the Wellness at Sea app are very interesting, especially those that target proper stretching and recovery.

Although not an immediate problem when the luxury of being ashore exists, what is neat with the approach on the app is that the activities and exercises are presented as options that suit the physical space constraints of a typical cabin, and the time constraints of a busy working life on board ship.

For example, activity suggestions include a Turbo Charged Morning Workout that requires just 6 minutes, but which exercises all the major muscle groups; plus various warm-up and stretching routines. In addition, there is a complete list of all exercises to allow for mixing up work-outs to suit personal preferences or capabilities.

The Wellness at Sea app has a variety of exercises and tips to help users keep fit
The Wellness at Sea app has a variety of exercises and tips to help users keep fit

Elsewhere in the app is the opportunity to answer simple daily questions on aspects of social, emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual life.

The outcome of this is a neat overview and 30-day summary that tracks your general mood and well-being and which can assist in identifying those areas that maybe need some attention, or when thinking about things other than work might be of benefit.

Who can honestly say that they don’t feel overwhelmed sometimes? The Wellness at Sea app can be of great benefit to anyone – ashore or at sea – looking for a straightforward way to prompt a time out for some personal reflection or rest.

Jon taking on one of the many obstacles at the Ridge Runner Obstacle Course Race in Romsey
Jon taking on one of the many obstacles at the Ridge Runner Obstacle Course Race in Romsey

The official start for my 2018 London Marathon training was 1 October. Not wanting to hold back, I booked myself on to the Royal Borough of Kingston Half Marathon for that day, but not before sneaking in a quick 10km Obstacle Course Race (OCR) in Romsey the day before.

Both events were quite straightforward, in particular, the half marathon was very flat, much of it along the Thames, and the weather stayed nice. Perhaps the OCR had taken the edge off, but despite a strong start and managing to keep up with the 2hr 15min pacemakers for the first eight miles, my strength then dropped away at around 10 miles.

Determined to not walk I eventually crossed the line at 2hr 22mins, not exactly where I wanted to be, but still a decent improvement on the Wimbledon half from July.

Am I confident right now? It’s hard to say – another 13.1 miles on top of the 13.1 already run this morning feels like a big ask. However, keeping a strong mind, staying focused, being aware of when I need to take a break, and remembering what I’m doing it all for is going to help.

And of course the training plan and getting plenty more miles in before April!

Jon Holloway is Executive Director at L&R Midland (UK) Ltd. He was an Engineer Cadet with BP Shipping, sailing with BP up to the rank of Chief Engineer. Jon came ashore in 2001 and has worked in various shipping roles for BP Shipping, INTERTANKO and BG Group before taking on his current position. He has been an Ambassador for Sailors’ Society since 2007 and became a Trustee of the Society in 2014. He is fundraising on behalf of Sailors’ Society.