Writing a book and running a marathon have a lot in common. You need a plan. You need dedication, days of hard work, and the ability to adapt and adjust. And that far off point in the distance the keeps driving you to continue as you feel it getting closer and closer. Much like running, writing a book gets easier the more you do it, and completing either one also proves to yourself that you are in fact capable of much more than you previously thought.
In this episode of The Entrepreneur to Author Podcast, your host Scott MacMillan talks with Nick Muxlow, Grammar Factory published author, ultra-marathoner, triathlete and coach who is no stranger to the authorship process with the release of this third book Run Fit.
GUEST BIO: Nick MuxlowNICK MUXLOW is the author of Run Fit (2021), Journey to Kona (2019), and Journey to 100 (2018). He’s a high-performance endurance coach and education professional with 20 years coaching experience and a drive for helping others to reach their full potential. Nick is the founder of The Run Journey, The Ultra Journey, and The Kona Journey. He’s been featured in industry publications such as Trail Runner, partnered with industry brands such as Ultra Trail Australia and speaks regularly to endurance athletes and professional associations. Nick’s coaching, is underpinned by a Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Movement) and a Bachelor of Education. His personal accomplishments are varied and include winning the state trail championships, the state ultramarathon championships, and running a 100 km ultra in the Blue Mountains where he received the highly sought-after silver belt buckle. His marathon personal best is 2 hours, 45 minutes, he has set numerous ultra-marathon course records along with representing Australia in multiple triathlon races and also finished the ultimate race – the Hawaii Ironman World Championships. Nick is well known for allowing his clients to improve their running and finish with a smile.
CONNECT WITH NICK:
Get your Run Fit Score: https://scorecard.therunjourney.com
Nick on Instagram (@theultrajourney): https://www.instagram.com/theultrajourney/
Nick on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nick-muxlow-367aa8108/
The Run Journey
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/therunjourney
The Ultra Journey
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/theultrajourney
The Kona Journey
CONNECT WITH SCOTT
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Scott on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/scottmacmillan/
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Please note: The transcript is produced by a third party company from an audio recording and may include transcription errors.
Scott A. MacMillan:
You're listening to the Entrepreneur to Author podcast, episode number 24. (music playing)
Welcome to the Entrepreneur to Author Podcast, the podcast that brings you practical strategies for building authority and growing your business, and now, here's your host, Scott MacMillan.
Scott A. MacMillan:
It's said that writing a book is a marathon, not a sprint. There's truth to that metaphor. Both take commitment, dedication, a plan to get from the starting line to an endpoint far off in the distance. Both favour a daily habitual routine over heroic one time bursts of energy that deliver quick results, but leave you drained with nothing left to give just when you need to give your best.
Both improve with experience. Both are seen as incredibly impressive achievements. More importantly, finishing a marathon or writing a book, both serve as a signal to yourself that you can achieve far more than you previously thought possible. My guest today is witness to this metaphor. If you guessed that he's written a book and completed a marathon, well you wouldn't be wrong. He has, and he has.
But that's not the half of it. He's written three books, and he's completed multiple ultra marathons and Iron Man races, some with distances of more than 100 kilometers, setting numerous course records, and representing Australia at the Iron Man World Championships in Hawaii. He knows what it takes to go the distance, and he's here to share his tips and experience with us, both for running your best race and for writing your best book.
So, now get ready and get set for this edition of Entrepreneur to Author.
My guest today is Nick Muxlow. Nick is a running coach and ultra marathon runner with more than 18 years of endurance racing experience. He's the founder of The Ultra Journey and author of three books, Journey to 100, Journey to KONA, and his most recent book, Run Fit. He's well known for helping his clients improve their running and finish with a smile.
Nick, welcome to Entrepreneur to Author. Thanks so much for joining us.
Awesome. Hi, Scott. Thanks for having me on here. I'm really excited to jump in and have bit of a conversation with you.
Scott A. MacMillan:
Absolutely. Maybe to start, why don't you share a little bit about your personal story. How did you get started with endurance running, and how has that led to what you do today with your business?
Yeah, absolutely. I guess to start with endurance running is not ever... As a kid, you don't sort of wake up and kind of go, "That's what I want to do." So, I find for myself, I initially played chase in the schoolyard. That's how kids learned to run. Really, I obviously loved that a lot. I played team sport for a number of years. I played lacrosse actually 16 years, and basically within that I played through the center. That meant I could run all day, which was basically the next best thing, chasing after a little ball rolling around the park.
Then that sort of progressed into triathlon, and then ultimately from there long distance triathlon, and then into the ultra running. It's I guess much more of a gradual crescendo of progression that I guess I've been through, because ultra running is often something that's more of an older person's sport than someone that's straight out of college or that sort of thing.
Yeah, it's worked it really well.
Scott A. MacMillan:
I don't know if you knew this, but lacrosse is actually one of Canada's national sports. We have two, hockey and lacrosse.
Yeah, totally. Initially, I had friends that went and played in the college system over there in the competition that I played here. We had lots of people come over from Canada and America playing on our team. My brother continued to play, and actually went on to represent Australia at the National Lacrosse Championships. He played against the Americans and the Canadians in Israel when it was held there. So, yeah well and truly involved in the sport, know his origins come from, and where some very good lacrosse players live, that's for sure.
Scott A. MacMillan:
Fantastic. Nice. In general, fitness training seems like a competitive market, but it seems to me that you've taken a passion or interest in the endurance running and paired that with your skills and experience as an educator to create a business that is really quite focused and well-tailored to you, and what makes you unique. Could you talk a little bit about whether or not that sort of niching down has been important for you in your business, and if so, how has that helped?
Yeah, definitely. I guess the first part was really... There's two parts to the question. The first one's really I guess sort of how I've ended up coaching. I always had a fascination with coaching. It must be sort of in the genes or something, because my dad was a coach for the lacrosse team. He did that for many years, and obviously was a player himself prior to when he was younger.
I actually started coaching the juniors originally. When you're that age, it's not really something that you can make a quid off. That was where it was like I kind of to where I saw was the next best thing, which was I'm going to be a PE teacher. It's kind of like coaching. It sort of fits. I did that, and basically from there I was just totally immersed in long distance triathlon. I just loved it.
You have to just live it and breathe it to be able to compete and obviously make it over to Hawaii as an age group athlete. That basically then, from there, sort of culminated with I had this education, I had this education degree. I had this interest in sports science, and I had this interest in coaching. I sort of always originally thought "I'll coach when I get older." I actually went through a really challenging time at school.
So basically, I had been a PE teacher. That was fantastic. But I was looking for permanency. I was just contract, which means you just come and go. You're there one year and you might not be there the next. So, I started with this job and basically was then in the classroom. Basically, the school just didn't work out. I just couldn't get the kids to settle. I personally didn't feel I had the support of leadership either within that role.
Basically, it sort of culminated with them saying, "Look, fix the class or leave." My nature is to just dig in and go [inaudible]. You do what it takes. You don't quit. Basically, I had a few days off. I actually got food poisoning, crazily enough. I ended up with these few days off, and initially I'm like, "Yeah, I'm going to go fix this." Then a conscious dawned on me. I was like, sometimes you're just fighting a losing battle. If I don't have the support elsewhere, I was completely new to the school, that's when I'm like, "No, I just want to put things in my own court."
For me, the way that I could put things in my own court versus just bouncing around from contract work to contract work, was basically "No, you're going to be your own boss." So, I started coaching. I started coaching actually, this is probably for other entrepreneurs listening, I was charging $120.00 for the athletes that I was working with a month. I'm doing the math on it, and you don't have to do too much hard math, and it's like, "I just can't make this work."
But it gave me a starting point. I figured, and I've always said to myself, "Before I hit the bottom, I'm going to be able to deploy the parachute." Basically, I just started, and just from there just continued. That's really led down what has been a magnificent path. I look back on that, and I'm like... Wow, I hated it at the time, just that stress with work, and just knowing that you're good at something, but then just not having that appreciated, and not having the support.
I had worked in other schools, and it was fantastic. I loved it, and did actually again after. Yeah, it was just a really challenging time. It's always, you don't necessarily see the glass half full part of the time. I sort of look back on that, what is probably six years down the track, and it's like maybe I was really lucky that that happened because it gave me that motivation to just jump and just basically put things in my own court.
Scott A. MacMillan:
Yeah, wow that's so interesting. When you talk about when you first starting coaching, and how you were charging such a low price point, what was it that helped you address that? Did niching play a part in that?
Yeah, definitely. There were multiple parts that played a role in it. I initially thought I'd coach triathletes. That's where I was known moreso as an athlete myself. I obviously had this interest and love of running even within the triathlon. I actually basically did a talk. I spoke to a bunch of ultra runners. Afterwards, kind of at the end of the talk, I just said, "Oh yeah, I coach people if anyone wants to come aboard."
I was super raw. I had just started. I just did it because I enjoyed teaching and talking, and that sort of thing. I just got swamped afterwards. I was like, "Oh my goodness, I've not got more tri and ultra runners that I'm coaching than I do triathletes." They were the ones that started to find me. That was sort of when it was like, "Okay, well sure my skillset from triathlon to ultra running, and the fact I love running like that, is a real easy playoff," but it was almost driven by the market initially.
Then from there... Everyone says, niche, niche, niche. Whenever you start to do it, you're always reluctant. I definitely had that reluctance, and I initially found... It's interesting, because I found that when I first niched, it was actually almost too small a niche. I was deliberately targeting 100 kilometer ultra marathon runners. That ended up being a bit too small. So then I went, "Oh hang on, I've niched too small." That's such a small market, that I then almost went "Okay, I've just got to release the reins a little bit and just keep it to runners."
I sort of did that, and then I've actually now gone back the other way because I've now found that I've now got, as my credibility and authority has grown, it's actually really allowed me to then go back to what that first niche was. So, I don't necessarily have what is an answer to anyone, but I guess the key thing is don't be scared to niche absolutely. Just try and get the niche to the right level. I possibly went a little bit too focused initially.
I should have possibly kept it just slightly broader in terms of half marathon runners, marathon runners, and ultra marathon runners. I definitely don't play around in the 3-5K kind of space. Then as you progress, you'll find that you get that authority builds, your understanding builds, and then you can just become really niched down. That's what I've been basically starting to go back to.
Now I definitely work with the marathon runners and the half marathon runners, but I pitch everything to the tri and the ultra runners. What I find is that the marathon or the half marathon runners that have an interest in that area will find me. The triathletes that I coach often have an interest in tri and ultra running. I've got that bullseye, and so I talk to that bullseye, but it definitely brings in just the periphery of those that still have that underlying focus, and it's been fantastic.
Scott A. MacMillan:
That's a really great way to think about that. Interesting that your market found you. That's often the way, and I think that that little bit of tri and error, kind of niching down like you did, expanding it if you need to, and then kind of reaching that happy medium is a really good approach.
I often tell people that conceptually, think about what niche could you realistically be number one at, and be the absolute best at, and make that as big as you possibly can. I really love how you came to that. I've mentioned to you that I've recently picked up running again myself. I ran long distance back in high school, and recently picked it back up of course when all exercise moved outdoors during the pandemic.
I think many people think of coaching, particularly in athletics, as something that's meant for top level athletes rather than weekend warriors like me. Is that true? If it's not, what's different in terms of how you work with and coach someone who has perhaps more or less experience?
Yeah, totally. It's one of the biggest misconceptions that I actually have to break down. Everyone is kind of like, "Oh, you're a really good runner. You won't want to work with me." That's the furthest from the truth. I have maybe a couple of people that I consider elite that I work with, and 99% of the people are not elite. I definitely work with those that fall into that term, "the weekend warrior".
This is just also then when word-of-mouth starts kicking in. So, although I'm niched, I actually coach a couple of runners who are far from ultra runners, and they're right at the very start of the spectrum in running. The way I work with them is obviously totally different to the way that I work with someone that's doing 100K or 100 mile, or dare I say a 200 miler.
Basically, it has to do with coming back to your fundamental principles, which I just quickly are your frequency, your intensity, your time, and your type. We just basically look at where you are at the moment. So, if you're potentially running say two runs of half an hour the weekend, and then a run on the weekend that's an hour, well that just gives us that starting point and we just build from there.
Whereas, if someone was to come to me and they were already running. They might be doing four hours on the weekend, and they're doing a couple of runs through the weekend, and mid-week long run. Well, they've got a different starting point. So, you just tailor it to where that individual is actually at. Because what I do is all... Well, not all. Actually, that's kind of a lie. But with my one-on-one coaching, it's all individualized.
Because of that, it means that it doesn't matter what strengths or weaknesses the runner brings. I'm basically looking at that, and then working with them. That's how basically I can coach front-of-pack, mid-pack, and top-of-pack athletes.
Scott A. MacMillan:
Very good. Very good. Let's talk a little bit about Run Fit as a methodology. What I found in reading Run Fit that I thought was quite interesting, was you're making a distinction less around that beginner, intermediate, advanced, and more about the mindset of somebody that wants to improve continually. It'd be great if you could speak a little bit to Run Fit as a framework or a methodology, and how does that connect your latest book, which is titled Run Fit, into how you work with your clients and in your coaching business?
Yeah, totally. Run Fit, I guess just to give your listeners an understanding of the method of mention, you have four dinner plates, two on top and two on the bottom. They're kind of like the four key areas that I end up unpacking. Those four overlap. You'd have the game plan, you'd have the mindset, you'd have the skillset, and you'd have the fitness.
At the junction of those four dinner plates, in the middle when they all overlap, that's actually what runners have to be, yourself or someone who is even chasing the Olympics, or an ultra marathon runner. This actually goes across every single discipline of running. Basically, that Run Fit is at that center. It's only when you get the intersection of those four dinner plates, or those four areas coming together, that you can actually achieve that.
As a coach, what becomes quickly apparent is that runners absolutely rock at the fitness. That's where they spend all their time. They might not get it quite right, because each of those areas has three subareas that I unpack in the book. So, they spend all their time there, but they just don't spend the time in the other areas. Because of that, they're just living time on the table, or improving on the table.
This really unpacks that methodology that allows them to improve, and it can be applied if you're... Say yourself, that's really common, someone who's previously been around or been involved in team sport goes away and then comes back to it a bit later in life. Or, someone who is younger than you, and so might be straightaway like they finished college, they want to go to... That's their sport of choice, basically, and they want to basically straightaway tackle things.
It doesn't matter on your level. It's also an underpinning philosophy of running. It really unpacks a lot of the mistakes and the understanding that a lot of runners have, and I sort of then explain how they could possibly change that perspective to really improve their running because a lot of runners come in and they're really shortsighted. When I say shortsighted, they're chasing "Oh, I've got a marathon in 12 weeks. I've got a half marathon I want to do in six weeks."
I've worked with athletes for three plus years, and they're continuing to improve to this day. What I do with them now would have absolutely broke them back in year one. They would have ended up with injuries. They just couldn't have done it, because their body wasn't at the ability that it could handle it. But they now can. That sort of improvement, if I think of a 100 kilometer distance, I always look for whatever someone's done beforehand, I like to take an hour of their time, first one.
The second one, I'm aiming to take a half hour off. Then the third time, so in three is I'm aiming to take 15 minutes off. So, it was just kind of like you have it each time. I've managed to do that with a guy who actually had read, and started training under Journey to 100, and read that book prior to doing his first and I coached him for the last bit. But I've still been able to pull an hour and 20 of his time.
It's the underlying methodology that I use in all my coaching, and it really impacts that so that those I work with can actually go, "All right, when Nick's asking me to do this, I can understand where he's coming from," rather than not understanding the why.
Scott A. MacMillan:
Yeah, right. That really, I'm sure, sets you up as the expert in their mind. It shows that you're more than just somebody who knows how to run. You're somebody who's really thought about the underlying mechanics of what makes a good runner, and how to train people. I really, really love that.
Many people aspire to write a book, but only a small fraction ever make it happen. You've now written three books. What is it that made you want to continue writing and publishing, instead of just ticking that box after your first book and calling it a day?
It's interesting, what I guess I'd also like to precede this is I wrote the first book, and straightaway I'd written the first book and everyone had asked me, "When's the next one coming out?" I already knew that it was there, but I couldn't believe it. I just the process. It's exactly like running. Kind of as you mentioned earlier, basically you have to be able to put small steps in place over a really long period of time to be able to write a book.
You've got to follow a really detailed process. It requires meticulous planning, and then you've obviously got to go through then the process of editing, and everything that follows beyond that. It's actually really structured. I actually love that structure and what it kind of comes out to at the end. I see it really as a mental representation of doing an Iron Man, or doing an ultra marathon in the sense that basically I'm putting small steps in place over a long period of time, and we do more than one race.
It's not like you do one marathon and you're like, "Oh yeah, I'm done with marathons now." You want to do another one. For me, writing is the same. I really enjoy it. I love, as I said, that process and all those different components that really challenge me. It gives me that mental challenge, because I can't actually run all the time every day. So, I've got to be able to do something else with my time, so I spent some time writing books as well.
Beyond that, you kind of need a little bit more as well. My first book, I actually wrote it as everyone, like you want to write a book. What really gave me confidence was that I'm like even if I only give this to the runners that I work with, then that's already achieved enough for me. Anyone else who reads it is really a bonus. The conversations or what I unpack in the first book, that's Journey to 100 for any listeners wandering, is a bunch of conversations that I would actually have to go through with anyone that was to start coaching with me.
I can basically give it to them, and it guides through it the right way every single time. Basically, they can then read it, and it's come from me. Then a lot of athletes say, "It's like you're talking to me, Nick." I'm like, "Well yeah, that's what writing is. It's just an extenuation of our voice." When they start coaching with me, they have that understanding of the why, not just from what I programmed, but also because they'd manage to read the book and they can understand how it all comes together.
That was my driving factor for the first one. Obviously, there was additional cherries on top, which was naturally to build my authority in that area, because I wasn't well known, as I mentioned earlier, in the tri and ultra running scene. So, that was also definitely something that from a business perspective I was really after from it. I knew that even if it just achieved that other bit, I was happy, and that was more than enough to make it worthwhile.
That's kind of I guess led onto the books that have followed. So, the Journey to KONA is kind of the triathlon equivalent of Journey to 100, which was sort of a natural progression for me going back to what was my upbringing in sport. Then really Run Fit is that more philosophy and overarching unpacking of what we do. So, if any of those that coach, or anyone, so I would say start with Run Fit, read that. That'll give you this big picture, understanding of what we're trying to achieve.
Then the Journey to 100, or Journey to KONA, was actually like the nitty-gritty. It's how we actually get in there and do it. I'm pretty blessed that I get emails, or I'll speak to people. Particularly, Journey to 100, I guess just because I spend more time in the Tri and ultra scene, they're like, "Yeah Nick, I've got sticky tabs all throughout the book. I've read it twice, and I keep referring to it." I'm like, wow, that's pretty special because I didn't see that coming from it.
While I know it's been a value to those that I speak to, if I hear that those from those that I speak to, I know that it's delivering value to so many other people around the world, and that's pretty special to know that I've helped someone. Actually, I don't know how, but up in Canada I have a few books that go up there, because I can see from Amazon that more seem to go there than other places. It's like wow, there are some ultra runners up in Canada that are achieving cool things because of a little book that a guy in Adelaide wrote.
So, that's the power of the text.
Scott A. MacMillan:
Absolutely, yeah. That's amazing. That's amazing. It's so nice to know that you're having that impact even if you don't necessarily know who the individual is at a particular point in time. As you've written your subsequent books, what did you learn about the writing process? What did you learn by now that you wish you'd known back when you sat down to write Journey to 100?
I swear, each book I've written I'm like, "Was it really this hard?" I don't know, somehow you forget and then you're in the middle of it, and you're like, "Oh my goodness." It is freaking hard work, I'm not going to lie. I guess I'm fortunate that my coaching background played a real strength in effect of my planning. I guess the thing that I always say to everyone that then speaks to me about writing a book, plan, plan, plan, and keep planning.
I was really fortunate. I had no idea how to write a book. Obviously, someone you know well, Jackie, she wrote a book that obviously you're well aware of, Grammar Factory-
Scott A. MacMillan:
Scott A. MacMil...:
I had to think of it for a second. I had a mental blank. I literally read her book to understand how to write a book. If it wasn't for that, the mistake I would have made would have been not planning to the extent that I needed to. While I didn't have that problem, that is by far the biggest problem that I see coming across, and that's what I recommend to everyone, just plan, plan, plan, and plan again.
Interestingly... Probably, actually no. I lied. You've actually unpacked it. I haven't read your book, but all good authors look through the contents page to get a real feel for the book. That was something that I actually hadn't considered, your part five, which is how to, you'll have to correct with me this, basically along the lines of how to monetize your business through your book. That was something I didn't do in my first book. That's something that I could have done far better.
If I had have had that understanding at the time, it would have changed a few things that I did within the book. It wouldn't have changed the overall value that it delivers, but it absolutely would have meant that it would have allowed to progress in business faster than what I would have. Scott had no idea I was about to say that.
Scott A. MacMillan:
No, that's absolutely great. That's great. You're right. That's what's a little bit different I find between a professional writer, an author who's writing a book for the sake of selling books, and building a following of readers. For those authors, it's almost exclusively about the reader journey. For those of us that are writing a nonfiction book that is linked to our business, that reader journey is still vitally important, but there's that other lens of how are you going to monetize it? How are you going to get value for yourself as an author and for your business?
I think you're bang on. That's where I see a lot of first time authors not really putting that thought into how they're going to get that value for themselves, and that's so important. So, I'm really happy to hear that you feel like you've managed to do that with subsequent books.
You're spot on. Actually, it's a probably a mistake I made in my first two books. I was happy to have achieved it without. It was probably somewhere where it was different in the sense that it still delivered great value, and it still achieved that authority that I was after. But it is definitely something I would change would be to make sure that I could have fast tracked and got additional benefit for my business out of that. You're spot on there.
Scott A. MacMillan:
You talked about the importance of planning, both for writing a book and for endurance running. Are there any other parallels that you see, at least in terms of the mental discipline required to write a book versus say running a marathon? What tips might you give to somebody training for their first race that might also hold true for somebody who wants to write their first book?
Yeah, great question. They are so alike that it's uncanny. It's really coming back to accepting that you just got to, as I sort of mentioned earlier, do a little bit each day or do a little bit consistently over a long period of time, and not becoming overwhelmed at the task. You are always going to end up at a spot in the middle, probably when you're at about, depending on how long your book is, probably 25,000-30,000 words.
I didn't realize my first two books are behemoths. They're 55,000 words. I'd never written a book before. I thought that was just a book, but obviously a lot of books end up being around the 30,000 words in the entrepreneur space. It's almost a double book, and that's before you put the training plan that is actually in those books as well, which require substantial.
So, I must have been at like 30,000 words, and I'm just like, "Oh my goodness, is this thing going to end?" But you just keep going. It's the same when you train. You go out for runs, and you have runs that you kind of don't want to do, but you're just like, "You know what, it's raining, it's cold, it's wet, but I've just got to go do it. Next week, it'll be great."
That sort of fortitude is definitely important. The other thing that's probably of interest to your listeners and things, and people writing a book is, I've actually written my first three books in a different way each. It's dependent on what's been happening in my life at the time. My first one, Journey to 100, as you can probably pique from my personality and what I do, I'm a bit a gung ho, so I had all the planning done, and basically used them like, "I'm going to start writing this book."
I booked a time with one of the editors at Grammar Factory. I booked that in because that was keeping me accountable. I was like, "Yep, my birthday is in March. I'm going to write it by then." All the planning was done, because obviously the planning takes a chunk. But the actual writing, I'm gonna start New Year's Day and I'm just going to freaking charge it because I was teaching at the stage and had the summer holidays. "I'm just going to write everyday."
I started doing that, and it was like cool. It got there, and it just kept going, and going. It was like I was super motivated obviously. Then basically school sort of went back into January, and it's like okay, I got to keep writing. Then I was getting up before work, I'd go down to the coffee shop. I'd basically get there when it opened, write for a couple of years, and then I'd go teach for the day.
I'd go back to the coffee shop after and write for a couple more hours. Basically, that was how I did it. I kind of see that as the "chip and charge method". It's just like you just launch yourself into it and you just write... I'm talking the first four wakes, that was literally pretty much all I was doing all day. That definitely put me to a point that I was kind of like a week or two out, and I'm like, "I'm not going to make this deadline."
Obviously, Jackie at that stage with Caroline, and I'm like, "Guys," I do it by pulling some all nighters, and I was like, "Guys, I'm just not going to quite make that." They said, "That's okay. We'll just reschedule you down the track." I then just put it away, because it was about a month away, or six weeks away, was the next spot I could get. I then just didn't want to look at it. I needed some down time from it, because I was just mentally cooked.
I basically then pulled it back out, and then continued to write until I obviously finished it. While I was doing that, because it was so mentally challenging, I basically used the Pomodoro Method, which for anyone that doesn't know it, it's literally a timer. I would basically go for 20 minute blocks, but it doesn't time out at the end. Then often that 20 minutes would end up being a 30 minute or 40 minute block.
Then I'd get my five minute break, and then [inaudible] grab a coffee, I'd go for a walk. I'd just freaking look at Facebook. Anything but. Then I'd basically go back into it and do another block of 20 minutes, which it often ended up being again 30 or 40 minutes. If I could get through three of those a day, then that was like I was doing pretty well. This is when I was teaching.
I didn't know how many times I had to freaking hit that go timer, but I knew eventually I wouldn't have to do it again. That was what propelled me through it. The second book, I was coaching a lot more then at that stage, and still had to do some relief teaching and stuff, but I was traveling a lot with the job I had. I basically employed the "Travel Method" or the "Plane Method".
So, I was going over to New Zealand basically once a month. On the flight over, basically I'd pull out the laptop, and I'd do the next chunk. Flight back, pull out the laptop, do the next chunk. I had then also, just purely by coincidence, that's when my brother played over in Israel and I went and visited him. That was a couple of long distance trips. Everyone else has got the movies going, and I'm in the middle row.
Everyone else is then asleep, and there's one light on in the middle, and I'm basically punching away on the keyboard, just getting this thing written. Then I'm like dimming the lights on the keyboard, turning it all off so that I can get maximum battery life, and then charging it when I go to the next airport, and then doing it again. That ends up being probably 30 hours of just solid writing time there. That was how I wrote it, was on planes, because there's just no distractions, so you can just get into your flow.
Then the third book, and this is the one that I think works probably for most people, and that's basically you've done all the planning, and when you decide to write, you just get up at 5:30. I wrote 5:30 until 7:00, and then I went and did my normal day's work. I just did that Monday through Friday. Monday through Friday, I run Thursday mornings with the groups, so it was basically Monday through Friday, but miss one of those.
I just did that until it was written. It probably took eight to 12 weeks, but you've got the backbone of the book, and then obviously it goes through the editing process, which is massively important. Then once I've got it back, I just continue that process again. It means that anyone can fit writing a book into their day. There's just no excuses. You're tired for the first week, the first two weeks, but eventually your body clock just goes, "No," and you're basically up.
I started just naturally waking up at 5:00, writing from 5:00 until 7:00, because at the end of the day I'm tired, and I'm going to bed. That's kind of the method I lean to for everyone, that you could do. Lock yourself in a cabin for two weeks, do two weeks there, and then refer to the other method if you really want to get a head start.
Scott A. MacMillan:
Yeah, that's a really good suggestion. I found the same thing when I was writing my book, that getting up early... We'd just had our son, so I knew that at a certain point he'd be waking up, so I had to get up before him, and then write for a little bit and get it all done. That's great.
Listen, entrepreneurs are usually high achievers who are continually looking to challenge themselves. For listeners who may be keen to learn more about your community and your approach to how you help people train, what's the best way to learn more or get in touch with you? We're going to put all your links in the show notes, but if there's one place that you'd encourage people to go, where is that?
Yeah, definitely. You'll see a little bit of the niching and un-niching coming out here, because I've got basically three different businesses ultimately that sort of function under one. I've got the Ultra Journey, which is the one that I'm probably most well known for. That's for the tri runners and the ultra marathon runners. I've then got the Kona Journey, which is for the triathletes, obviously in particular Iron Man triathletes. Then I've also got the Run Journey, which is for really the road runners, or the half marathon runners, and the marathon runners.
Either of those, I've got a website set up at each. They're all independent, but everything comes back to me. Then from that, I've got probably for any runners, a fantastic starting sport is a like a score card I've set up, which really unpacks your understanding around the Run Fit methodology. That's at Scorecard.TheRunJourney.com. Any of the websites which, basically if you Google those different names they'll come up. Basically, you can access and find a bunch of blogs I've got on there as well.
That's probably a good spot to get started. Yeah, I'd definitely say to read the book is probably a good starting point. For those in Australia, it's available online. For those that are overseas, obviously it's on Amazon and all the other relevant places because postage kind of sucks from Australia over there. I guess the other thing is, if anyone does want to connect with me, I coach runners both in Australia, interstate for me, but also overseas.
So, people are often a little bit confused by like, "You're a running coach, and you coach people overseas?" It's like, yeah, because I'm looking at what's called the periodization, so the science and the structure of training over a long period of time. I've got some runners up through Europe and whatnot. No one in Canada yet, but I'm really keen to get Canada or America.
I will push that out to anyone over there.
Scott A. MacMillan:
We'll see if we can help you with that.
Yeah, exactly. That's probably the best spot to go.
Scott A. MacMillan:
Awesome. Okay, well we'll put all of those links in the show notes, that way people can Google, but they can also find it all in the show notes too.
Nick, it's been so helpful to hear about your Entrepreneur to Author journey, and how you're helping runners, like you say, around the world to get Run Fit, and finish with a smile. So, thank you so much for being generous with your time with us today.
No worries. Thanks for having me on, Scott. Definitely, if anyone's got any questions, feel free to sing out, or reach out, and I'll get back to them.
Scott A. MacMillan:
Nick clearly knows how to get across the finish line, whether that's 100 kilometers into a race, or 50,000 words into a manuscript. As we wrap up this episode of Entrepreneur to Author, remember this, if you're struggling to find the right niche for your business, a little trial and error isn't always a bad thing. Start by niching down heavy, then widen your focus a bit if it feels too tight.
As with long distance running, planning out your book before writing is critical. It's going to make the writing so much easier, and ensure that your book covers all of the content that you need it to. As Nick pointed out, there are multiple ways to get your writing done. Head down until it's finished may work for you. Or, writing in the in between spaces, like on a plane, might work better. But for most people, setting aside an hour or two each day to write, and then continuing on with your day is the best way to make solid, consistent progress on your manuscript. Before you know it, your book is written.
Now is the time, time to write, time to publish, and time to grow. I'm Scott MacMillan. Until next time. (music playing)