I start every morning with a run. Some days it’s just 1km – other days it’s 10km. But starting the day by moving my body is the key to a positive mindset. I live in Rye, so am spoilt for choice when it comes to running routes and diverse landscapes. On the weekend, I’ll end up at the beach for a cold-water dip. It’s deeply cleansing and helps me rebalance after a hectic week.
I need to do more strength training, especially as I get older. I know guys love lifting weights, but I find it a bit boring as I don’t care how my body looks on the outside. At the same time, I recognise that being strong is essential to enjoy a full life and to be capable of certain tasks – like carrying a two-year-old. I am also determined to crack my aversion to stretching. I have never – even as a professional footballer – enjoyed stretching, but it’s vital for injury prevention, especially as a runner.
My attitude to exercise has changed over the years. I used to get paid to compete, so exercise always felt much more important than it was. Truthfully, I lost the connection with why I loved it. Today, my exercise mantra is ‘chase the feeling’ – this reminds me that it’s irrelevant how fast I run or how much weight I lift. It’s all about the feeling I have during and after exercise, and that’s what keeps me coming back.
Near Earth is one of my favourite brands. I love its sustainable ethos and its content makes me want to get outside and run. Its running socks are made in Italy by some of the best garment manufacturers on the planet. Finisterre – another great brand and personal favourite – is also doing a great job in terms of its community and raising awareness of ocean protection. It makes great underwear, too.
Breathwork supports my brain. I learnt breathwork from my friend Jordan Turner, a breathwork practitioner and coach. We recently completed four ultra-marathons in four days together, totalling 200km of running. Through that experience, he taught me the value of conscious breathing and how to manage your heart and nervous systems through the breath. Most mornings, I put on Wim Hof’s 11-minute beginner’s breathwork practice on YouTube. It’s my way of calming the mind and creating a solid foundation for the day ahead.