Ultra before work #upandrun

Thursday morning >> ultra before work

You could say that ultrarunning is addictive. A few years ago, a study entitled ‘Would You Stop Running if You Knew It Was Bad for You? The Ultramarathon Runner Response’, found….what result do you think (n=1349)?

…that 75% would NOT stop running, even if it was found to be bad for you. Those who would stop (25%) ‘..were older, more likely to be married, had more children, were running less, were more health oriented, were less achievement oriented, and had less psychological motivations for running.’

One of the most fielded questions is why? Why do you do it? Last weekend I ran for a couple of hours to drive my wife home. Yesterday I ran for a few hours with an old friend (old in that we have known each other for almost 40 years, not that he is old…) to a BBQ. We arrived sweaty but not smelly. No-one wanted to hug us. You just fit it in, the mileage that is. Early starts, a mode of transport, when home alone etc etc.

Reading some of the writings of the great ultra runners, all will give their reasons. They are personal and varied. Some of my reasons include pursuing a purpose (#upandrun to ease suffering and improve lives affected by chronic pain), wanting to know how far I can go, pushing beyond the pain barrier, exploring consciousness, feeling fit and well (despite consistent aches and pains from the running — paradox?), seeing places, being alone, meeting people, being part of something a bit mad, to impress my wife :), and more. This is in no particular order, although it is often my purpose that keeps me going.

This coming Thursday I am running from Hampton Court to the Thames Barrier along the Thames Path before doing my afternoon clinic: an ultra before work. An ultra is anything beyond a marathon (26.2 miles). This is part of the prep for Race to the Stones on July 13th, which is 100k.

Thames Path
Last section up to the Thames Barrier

I’ll be setting off early, so if you are out on a run, walk or commute along the river and you see me, do give me a shout, tweet a pic or on Instagram using the #upandrun hashtag.

The next Understand Pain Talk and workshop is on July 3rd >> read here

Richmond Stace


Further ultramarathon tips

Further ultramarathon tips…

Having chatted to my old pal who is a far more experienced runner than I, here are some of the things we spoke about.

Eat before you get hungry

Otherwise it’s too late. Most ultras have rest stops packed with food and drink choices. Early on you may not feel hungry, but eat anyway to stock up for later on when you need the energy.

Pursu nutrition

What should I eat? Listen to your body

This is one day when you don’t have to worry about what you are eating (if you do normally). So when you are faced with a table of fruit, sweets, flapjacks, cookies, sandwiches, pizza, pasta, and the rest, what grabs you? Go for it!

Pic N Mix table on the IOW Challenge

Don’t stop for too long

Making a judgement about stopping at the rest stations means considering what fuel and drink you need, stretches that help nourish areas working hard and repetitively and not resting too long. The last point is important because if you are like me, I stiffen fairly quickly meaning it is hard to get going again.

There’s no definite approach, so you must find your own. In that sense, each run is a voyage of discovery! And no run is ever the same so we can only draw loose conclusions anyway.

If you are running and someone walks past, start walking

Sometimes it feels like we are moving along nicely but our perception is different from reality. In particular, on your way up a hill, if others are walking at the same pace or quicker than your run or jog, then save energy and join them.

May 25th London to Brighton 100k ultrachallenge

Tomorrow I will be running from Richmond to Brighton for UP as part of the #upandrun 2019 series for Understand Pain. This week I held an UP workshop at The Groves Medical Centre for people who want to understand pain and know how to move onto live a fulfilling life. There will be future workshops that will be publicised on the website and social media.

Sponsorship and partnering opportunities

We are seeking sponsors and partners for #upandrun to share in the story of improving lives and society. If you are interested, please get in touch: richmond@specialistpainphysio.com

UP Top 5 Ultramarathon Tips

Top tips for ultramarathons

UP top 5 tips for ultramarathons

In association with my fuel sponsor Pursu, here are 5 top ultramarathon tips that I have learned so far. There are many, but these have been particularly helpful for me running distances beyond the marathon; so over 26.2 miles.

1. Be curious

People often ask why. However, the answer is not straightforward and each person will have their own reasons why they run for hours and hours, and hours. So you need to be curious about yourself and what you can achieve — what is under your hood? One thing for sure, is that you get to know more about who you are, especially during the long sections when you maybe running alone.

This somewhat blends with your purpose. Some will run for a cause or charity, mine being Understand Pain. This I have written about in the marathon tips blog and the keeping going blog. For the inevitable tough moments that make you and the event, we need strategies to continue putting one foot in front of the other. This ranges from dogged determination to using visualisation. Be curious about how you approach them, what you think, what you do, and how you steer yourself onward.

2. Look after your feet

Running the Isle of Wight Challenge recently, I was surprised at how many people left their foot care until when the blisters had caused them to stop. Some were in a really bad state — agonising. I am sure a number of such folk would have dropped out having done all that preparation. That must be so disappointing, especially when that degree of injury was preventable.

Of course this includes choosing the right footwear. I recently made a mistake that I am now recovering from. Excitedly I selected a pair of road shoes that had too much stability, meaning that I was taking extra strain around my hips, pelvis and lower abdomen. Over months and many miles sensitivity built up — I am sensitive, resulting in feeling sensations and emotions more richly, and frequently aware of bodily sensations. On going for a closer examination of the fitting of my runners, I am now in a neutral shoe and half a size up. Heaven!

On feeling the familiar tingle that warns of a blister coming, be quick to take action. If you are out on a long run, you can dry your foot and apply a dressing such as a Compeed, perhaps even taping it for added security. Choosing good running socks is important as they pull the moisture away from the skin. However, sometimes even with the best care, the sheer number of steps, the temperature and ground conditions cause rubbing and blisters. We just need to minimise the risk and take care early. A further preventative measure is to apply an anti-blister stick to vulnerable areas before running.

3. Fuel

Getting fuelled up before, during and afterwards is vital for these longer runs. Each person must find their own way according to individual needs and tolerances. Some ultra runners eat pizza and burrito at lunch. I can’t stomach that kind of food, instead opt for the stuff my body needs. Working out a plan and trying different foods is part of your training. Don’t leave it to discover on the day that you cannot digest certain things and then find yourself running with a bag of cement in your stomach. Or worse…

Read up on what you need nutritionally and then choose your foods. My basic routine is this: lots of protein and fibre in the week before (chicken, tuna steaks, veg, fruit, flaxseed, nuts, seeds, beetroot); carbs the two days building up to the event (pasta mainly), especially spaghetti bolognese the night before (that’s a tradition now) with extra spaghetti; porridge on the morning of the run with at least one proper coffee, water, Pursu bar, banana and maybe a handful of nuts.

During the run I will sip water and an energy drink (2 bottles in my chest pack). Mostly at the rest stops I take on a banana (potassium), wet fruit (e.g./ melon), cookies, salt and vinegar crisps (salt), shot of coffee (especially in the morning), coke (flat) and water. I carry gels that I use as needed whilst on the go.

Afterwards I usually crave pizza, coke (cold and fizzy), and anything else that is in my path….

4. Enjoy the ride

Typically the longer runs are along scenic routes. I make a point of taking it all in as I am trotting along. One of the privileges of running is being able to see things you would not otherwise see.

Life appears to go by so quickly. My sense of time always shifts dramatically when I am out running for hours. I lose track, and it’s wonderful.

On the IOW Challenge there were long periods of running alone. I like that, but it is also great when you come across and fellow participant. Sometimes you run together for a while and chat. There’s an immediate connection because you are both doing something mad.

5. Look after your body (your whole self)

Not that your body is separate from your embodied mind — the body keeps the score of all your experiences. Regular readers of my blogs about overcoming pain will know that I firmly believe in the notion of the whole person.

That said, the conditioning behind the scenes is an important part of the training programme. In brief, the main components should include strength, body control (balance work) and flexibility (yoga, stretching). Often I speak to amateur runners, even those who are accomplished, and they pay little attention to conditioning their body. There are two primary risks of this approach: (1) injury (2) not reaching your potential.

Day to day behind the scenes routines make the difference: diet, sleep, how you manage your life, regular movement (especially if you have a sedentary job), how you roll with the inevitable ups and downs of life. The race is just the tip of the iceberg; the reward if you like. This depends upon the running training but also how you look after yourself. With athletes, I spend time with them looking at ways that they can improve their outcomes by best managing all these areas of life that are inseparable, much as mind and body are inseparable. You are a whole person, on a timeline when nothing happens in isolation.

For more on this, please contact me: richmond@specialistpainphysio.com


UP Top 5 Marathon Training Tips

Top marathon tips
Sanjay & Richmond

This is the first in the series of top tips this week in the build up to the London to Brighton 100k ultra in association with Pursu nutrition bars. Pursu was created by Sanjay (above), who followed his dream and is pursing his passion for cycling and healthy eating. As well as being delicious, there are features of these bars that really stand out: no sugar, the finest ingredients (and they really mean that!), and sustainability (read more here). Pursu and Sanjay have been sponsoring #upandrun, which I am immensely grateful for, especially when I need fuel!

UP Top 5 Marathon Training Tips

There are many tips one could give, and indeed I have been given lots of advice that has helped me. Here are my top 5.

1. Get to the start line

This may sound obvious, but this is always a primary goal. It means that you have followed your programme and not over- or under-done the training. Along the way there are always aches and pains; that is to be expected. However, sometimes there is a decision to be made: should I train or not? This maybe when you have a recurring pain or an injury (they are not the same or well related — read here) or if you are unwell. The former you should take advice to determine what has happened and what you must do, and the latter will require a period of recovery.

People often fear that they will be behind in their training or lose fitness of they cannot follow their programme to the letter. However, when you remember that only by getting to the start line will you be able to participate, then the best decision becomes clearer.

IOW start line

2. Chill out the week before but plan it

For at least a week before take it really easy. It’s a wonderful time relaxing, eating and having more time…also known as tapering and maranoia! Suddenly it seems like you are not training, which can throw you. Keeping focused and planning the week is important. You will feel better for it as the excitement builds.

Your training plan will include tapering. This means a few easy runs to keep moving at an easy pace, and perhaps a short one (just a few kms) at race pace for the feel. The rest of the time can be spent keeping your body moving and relaxed with a daily stretching programme, yoga, lots of movement if you have a sedentary job, walking, easy swimming, breathing exercises, meditation, focusing on what you want to achieve (see below), consistent bed times and fuelling up. Make a plan for this and stick with it. Writing down your plan makes it more likely you will follow it.

3. Plan your travel and logistics

As relaxed as you maybe, plan what time to arrive at the start and how you will get there. You will be excited and nervous (they feel the same, so you can decide…), so to fully enjoy the build up in the morning, know what you are doing. Late surprises or forgetting kit is annoying and can easily knock you off track. Keep it simple.

This is a habit of peak performers, paying attention to the detail and focusing on what you can control: your plans and attitude. Things to consider: pack your kit the night before, time to arrive, how to arrive, breakfast, hydration, bag drop (there can be long queues), toilet (there can be long queues), when to get to the starting pen.

Top tips for marathons

4. Use visualisation as a way to focus

Keeping focused is important, especially as the excitement builds. It is also a great thinking tool when tough moments arise during the run. What do you want to achieve?

There are many things you can focus on to lift your energy and maintain direction towards your picture of success. For example, visualise running over the finish line, bring to mind the purpose of your run (what is the reason why you are running the distance?), or think of loved ones who are spurring you on. Notice the change in your energy as you do.

5. Enjoy it and look around

It goes by in a flash. So, from the moment of registration until the end, look around and take it all in. You maybe running somewhere stunning or be surrounded by inspiring people who are running for great causes; take it all in and feel the positive energy.

All the training has been done. Usually the training is much harder than the actual day — that’s the purpose in a way. With two weeks or so to go, there’s nothing to be gained fitness-wise, so focus on preparing to be in the best shape (see above) so that you can enjoy the day. The moment that you duck under the finish line, you will feel an incredible wave of emotion in the light of what you have just achieved. The final straight is as close to sensing what it is like to be at the Olympics as people cheer and shout, and suddenly you experience that famous burst of energy, striding towards the end. For many though, this will not be the end. It will be the beginning.

Look out for more tips this week!


London to Brighton May 25th ~ a few tips on keeping going

London to Brighton 100k 25th May

The next stage of #upandrun for Understand Pain is the London (Richmond upon Thames) to Brighton. 100k from city to coast. I lived in Brighton for some years, so it feels a little like running home.

This time I will be doing it in one day; the full 100k. Of course I am expecting and preparing for challenging moments along the way. That’s why we do it! To face, overcome and complete.

Running can be a great metaphor for life. Inevitably life is full of ups and downs. These are unavoidable. However, our approach and attitude define them as opportunities or obstacles. Whilst these moments maybe hard and unpleasant, the way we view them determines whether we learn and move on or suffer more than is necessary.

The tougher moments when running include fatigue and heaviness in the legs, knowing that despite going for hours, there are still hours remaining, and various aches and pains. I’ll share a few strategies that I use to re-focus and keep going.

1. Re-focus on what you want and keep going

Everything comes through the mind. The mind is embodied. These are both important considerations. There is no separation between body and mind. Instead we have a (whole) person. The way we think is embodied, the decisions we make are affected by our body state, and our bodies keep the score of all our thoughts and emotions. Skilfully appreciating this and using it to our advantage is one of the habits of peak performers. We can all be peak performers in our own way.

In that tougher moment, you learn to take a perspective and re-focus on what you want to achieve as an outcome. What is my picture of success, or dream? When you focus on what you want, you feel your energy lift. In one way, this is how you know you are focusing on your picture of success rather than something else. For instance, paying attention to the feeling of heavy legs and any on-going thoughts brings on further sensations of heaviness — it gets worse.

2. Remember your purpose

Knowing one’s purpose is healthy according to research to date. Since Viktor Frankl wrote Man’s Search for Meaning, there has been interest in purpose as something that spurs us on, gets us up in the morning and drives persistence in the face of adversity.

Many people run with purpose. Often this is for a cause such as a charity, chosen in the name of a loved one who suffers or has passed on. I believe that is why events such as the London Marathon are so emotive.

In that moment when it is ‘sticky’, you recall your purpose, the person or people you are representing and drive on. You know that no matter how much it hurts right now, it is nothing compared to the suffering of others.

3. Fuelling skilfully

On longer runs, your fuelling is essential. It is also personal and unique in as much as each person must find out what they need. The experimentation should take place on training runs so that you know and can prepare fully for the actual event.

The night before I always have a (big) bowl of spaghetti bolognese. In the morning, I am up early having porridge with blueberries and honey. At least one shot of coffee is also essential for me, together with two shots of beetroot juice. Until the start, I will nibble: a banana, a Pursu nutrition bar, cashew nuts; and sips of water.

During ultra runs, I re-fuel around the first 10-12k mark and then at the rest points. On the Ultra Challenges, the rest points are every 10-15k ish, offering a range of fruit, pastries, cookies, flapjacks, sweets, coffee, water, sports drinks, pick n mix, hot meals (at lunch) and more. Typically I will have a banana, salt and vinegar crisps, a cookie, water, a shot of coffee, pick n mix (yum!), watery fruit (e.g./ melon), sports drink and refill my bottles. I carry gels and use them as needed, but typically towards the end when I need a little booster.

The principle I follow is to keep hydrated and fuelled rather than wait. I used thirst as a guide, but only very mild thirst, sipping regularly, especially if it is hot. When I notice a particular type of heaviness and I know that there is a way to go before the next stop, I will use a gel.

Marathons are different because the are no rest points; the run is non-stop. Fuelling and drinking are on the go. It can be messy!

Whichever way you find works, it is a key strategy to use in order to keep going.

Next challenge >> Isle of Wight May 4/5 #upandrun 2019

#upandrun 2019 series >> Isle of Wight Challenge

I’ve sat and watched the London Marathon this morning as part of my preparation for the double ultra next weekend. It’s so inspiring to see the elites make it look so easy in their relaxed yet relentless pursuit to cross the line. Equally inspiring are the thousands of people driving themselves round the streets of London for a cause. All in all, very positive. Then the crowd plays its part without limit. So well I can remember the encouragement all the way, and then that final stretch……….it’s like winning the Olympic gold as people roar, wave, blow instruments and all the rest. The feeling is like nothing else whether you are in 1st place or hours later — I know the latter 🙂

This week I have set up a simple plan to relax, stretch, move and eat well, plus massage and yoga. I do have a mild groin strain off the back of the Brighton Marathon a few weeks ago, so will be putting plenty of emphasis on nourishing with movement.


Don’t forget the fun quiz night coming up on May 22nd at Wags N Tales in Surbiton raising money for Understand Pain social enterprise and CRPS UK charity. Tickets here.

Plus, on the afternoon of the 22nd I will be talking about pain and practical tools and strategies that people can use to improve their lives. Tickets here


Just in case you are new to the site, the purpose of Understand Pain is to raise awareness of the problem of pain, the No1 global health burden, and what we can do to improve lives. With some 100 million people in Europe suffering, and the yearly costs reaching 441bn Euros, the outcomes must change. The major hurdle is that pain is largely misunderstood meaning that people are not aware of their choices, ways that they can cope with the pain so that they can move on, and that indeed pain can and does change. Our understanding of pain has progressed enormously over the past 10 years. There has been some great revelations via the research, but also from related fields.

We are not just talking about back pain, neck pain or other common musculoskeletal pains. Think of all the conditions and situations in which pain features: cancer, diabetes, heart disease, auto-immune diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, pelvic pain, headaches, migraines, dementia. When you see all those charities running today, there are few, if any, where pain is not part of the reason for suffering. There is so much we CAN do, starting with understanding pain. And on this, Understand Pain, or UP, is keen to work with any charity or organisation that represents a condition that features pain.

If you have any questions or believe that you can help in some way, including donating funds to scale our work (e.g./ workshops across the UK), please get in touch: richmond@specialistpainphysio,com

Keep an eye out for the hashtag #upandrun as I keep plodding for pain!


#upandrun moves on to the Isle of Wight

It’s been a great weekend in Brighton, but now it’s straight back into training to be ready for the Isle of Wight Challenge at the start of May. That means a 20k trot today.

The route yesterday was lined with supporters giving enthusiastic encouragement. Some of the stretches were long and straight, meaning that as you were running, you could see the sea of bobbing heads stretched out in front for some distance. Coming back from the power station to Madeira Drive, the 360 and the pier were landmarks. With the wind blowing at you, they seemed so far away!

The final stretch to the finish line is an incredible moment. The crowd are going absolutely crazy and because you are stretched out, it feels like you are the only runner. Suddenly you’re filled with energy and find yourself sprinting (it feels like sprinting…) to the line. Awesome!

So now onto a longer run that is a totally different experience. My preference is off road, trailing running so although this is 53k x 2 (Sat/Sun), for me there’s no sense of needing to hit a pace. Instead it is about enjoying the ride, meeting others who are in for the long haul and marvelling at the scenery of the island’s coastal path.

As ever, this is for UP, so do follow us with the #upandrun as we seek to raise the awareness of the problem of pain, especially chronic pain, and what we can do as a society to ease suffering.


#upandrun Pain Points (6): there is no quick fix for persistent pain but you can understand your pain and move on to a fulfilling life

Me with Sanjay who created Pursu nutrition bars

There is no quick fix for persistent (chronic) pain, but you can understand your pain and move on to a fulfilling life

In a world where we have become accustomed to immediate gratification, the really important things take time and effort. For example, relationships, work satisfaction and wellness. There’s no quick fix for any of these, and the same goes for pain. All require understanding, a picture of success that you work towards each day by taking positive steps. This is normal.

People often ask if they can get better. I say yes. We can always improve and get better. What does this mean? It’s individual of course, but in essence it means that the person feels liberated from their suffering and is able to live a fulfilling life. Do they still experience pain? Probably. But there’s a big difference.

A suffering society ~ time for change

Pain is part of the way we protect ourselves and survive. It is normal and necessary. Yet why do so many people continue to experience pain when there is no immediate threat or danger? Similarly, why do people who suffer PTSD continue to suffer repeated episodes? Why do people with anxiety disorders feel anxious when nothing is actually happening? Why do people feel depressed when there is joy all around? Hopefully you can see the similarity in the patterns here. The words are interchangeable and the suffering immense. This can and must change, and driving this change is the purpose of Understand Pain.

The answers to these questions lie in the way we live and the way society has evolved and is working. This is why a social shift is necessary as we develop a new level of consciousness, understanding the causes of suffering so that we can focus on building wellness.

The difference is the impact factor. The inner disturbance lessens, life fills with meaning and great states more often as the person pursues a purpose and reconnects with people and the planet. We only have a limited capacity for awareness, so when we fill this with people who inspire us, support and love us, when we share and give, when we get outside into nature and feel that we are contributing to something greater than ourselves, life transforms.

There is no super-highway. To achieve a better life requires us to know what that life would look like and take steps in that direction each day. We need a clear direction and tools and practices to use to keep us motivated, orientated and an awareness of the achievements along the way.

We are designed to change — life would not be possible without change. Embracing this natural development, we can learn to create the conditions for moving on, whatever our start point. We continually ask questions of ourselves and the answers determine the quality of our lives via the answers and what we focus upon and decide to do. So asking the right questions is key. Here are some examples >> What CAN I do? How can I build my energy? How can I best look after myself? What steps can I take today towards my picture of success? What can we do together to move forwards? What is the best decision now? And now? Whatever you ask, you will answer.

Suffering chronic pain, you are likely to need support, help and encouragement with practical advice about what you must do each day. Pills do not provide this, nor any other form of quick fix. We are encouraged to push down emotions, distract and turn away yet it is by facing our ‘stuff’ and all the reasons in our life why we continue to suffer. This takes courage but it is the way to transform our lives. And we all want the best life we can create.

Sanjay is a superb example of someone who did exactly this, moving on to a meaningful, fulfilling, challenging, scary, exciting project, Pursu. I would encourage you to read his story on the Pursu website as he has created both an incredible product but more so is the meaning behind it and what he is doing to contribute to society. And this from a story of pain: Sanjay’s story

On May 22nd I will be talking about this and more, giving practical tips and knowledge about pain to help people gain insight and move on. This is free and you can get tickets here

Together we move on.


#upandrun >> the day before the Brighton Marathon

The day before the Brighton Marathon

Look out for the orange shirt and share pics >> #upandrun

I am pretty excited now. As usual I woke early, so we will get on the road to the South Coast. I’ve not done a road marathon since the London in 2017, and that brings back great memories.

This week has been a coaster, or tapering, which has its own challenges that are more mental than physical. Although it all comes as one experience of course — I don’t want to disappoint regular readers into thinking I have become a dualist!

I have noticed that the really short, easy paced runs of between 3 and 8 km to be more tough than the long ones! Although important to keep moving and the feel of the stride, I find them heavy, rather boring and puffy (I puff). There you go.

Anyway, it’s off to Brighton, one of my favourite places, to pick up the running pack, take in the sea air, meander through the lanes, end up with a big bowl of pasta and an early night.

If you are supporting or coming to watch the Brighton Marathon, give me a shout and a wave, take a pic and share with #upandrun so we can spread the word and gain momentum. Understand Pain is all about a better world that we can create together.


#upandrun Pain Points (5): Pain can and does change

Pain can and does change

This is a strong message and one that must be realised.

Life is only possible because of change and impermanence. Each moment unfolding is new, and fresh. Bodily sensations such as pain appear in our awareness as the objects and contents of consciousness, just as thoughts, sounds and what we see appear to us. This is our lived experience. When we stop and watch our own experience, this can be realised.

What often stays the same and recurs is what we tell ourselves about the pain we are feeling. Of course this can be reinforced by the fact that the same things are challenging each day. We attach to our stories. The inner dialogue can be so influential despite the fact that much of what we tell ourselves is untrue, self-critical or pure nonsense at times. What we need is a self-encourager that comes from self-compassion.

A problem that we can all have is the remnants of, or continuation of coping strategies that we once learned to shut off from stress, avoid pain and protect ourselves in the short term. However, in the longer term, the coping strategies cause dysfunction and prevent us from getting better and improving our lives. These are not set in stone and we can create new habits that build wellness and resilience, which support us create a better life.

Mindful practice and meditation is one way of realising this experience, gaining insight into the difference between the sensations of pain and the thoughts that we have about the pain. Learning how to observe our thoughts, feelings and experiences enables us to cut through the sense of self, be in touch with reality (the present and only moment), let go and liberate ourselves from on-going suffering.

Buddhism talks about the two arrows. The first arrow is the pain that you feel. The second arrow is the suffering caused by the way you are thinking about your pain. Learning about the knowing the difference is important.

There is much to be hopeful for. For some years I have focused on helping people gain insight into their suffering and what they can do to move onward. Compared to 10 years ago, people are much more open to what we know about pain rather than being dominated by limited beliefs and social conditioning that we are all subject to in unique ways from childhood through. The research and study of pain continues to reveal much that we can distill into practical tools for day to day use. Improving lives is a learning process, taking on new habits to build momentum. Some of the skills initially surprise people, but soon enough they realise their potency in changing our experiences sustainably.