Positive motivation is everything.

Would you run a half marathon, on your own, in the pouring rain, with no encouragement and no one to motivate you? Maybe you would but it is hard work. 

Would you run a half marathon, with 40 running friends, in the pouring rain, with motivation, encouragement, support and the most amazing positive energy you can imagine? (Filled with smiles, laughs and selfies) Yes you would. I know which I would prefer.

As someone who has run a half marathon alone with no one around for encouragement I can tell you that ok so it may be possible, but it is in no way fun and it’s a tough mental battle from the start line. I am also lucky enough to have been in the 2nd scenario just yesterday.

The reason for my post isn’t to talk about any specific marathon or even running as a topic but what became evident to me yesterday as I crossed the finish line of Warwick Half Marathon is just how amazing and powerful it is to be part of a group of like minded people. People who pass on advice, discuss what to wear before a race, get excited together, meet at the start line, push each other through their mental barriers and then regroup at the finish line and share each other’s achievements and pride. That just sums up Run Like A Girl Leamington.

Before I joined a running group I couldn’t understand the appeal, but one session with the group and the love and support became apparent. You don’t just become a member of a running group you become a part of something much bigger. Without sounding soppy or cliched you do gain a family, a running family and the best of friends. I have made friends who I feel I have known for years, friendships that will last for years to come.

Before the run I had doubts, I worried that my injury wouldn’t hold out, that my legs were too tired before I started, that I’d have to stop, that I just wouldn’t do it. Being sat on the groups Facebook page the night before with everyone sharing their worries and others giving advice and showing support my nerves were eased and I just had a knowledge that it was going to be ok. The positivity of RLAG would be enough to get me round. Then on the morning of the race when the rain was lashing down and it was a truly miserable morning my annoyance at the weather didn’t last long when I met up with the ladies before the run. We were all frustrated with the rain but we were able to see the funny side and we were facing it together. During the run I didn’t have time to really doubt myself because I was running with and talking to the RLAG ladies and the time flew by. I won’t say it was easy because we all had our struggles and moments of weaknesses with challenges to face but the power of the group seemed to make that process easier. When you run on your own it is easy to let your mind take over and as humans we can be very critical of ourselves. Go for the same run with a few friends and you stop criticising yourself so much and focus on the positives and begin to enjoy it.

Even families get involved with one of the Running Leaders little girls making lots of little bags of sweets with motivational messages to hand out to the group as we ran round. Is that not amazing?

The route was filled with supporters but what made it even more motivating to get round was that those RLAG ladies who were not racing that day still came out, in the rain to support us and encourage us from the side lines. The support a running group can give you is endless. I don’t like calling it a group because to me these ladies are more than that they are friends. 

Now this isn’t a plug to get more members for RLAG and I’m not saying you need to go and join a group to be a successful runner because that’s not necessarily true. What I am saying is it is truly amazing what you can achieve when surrounded by the right people. Never underestimate the power of a group of women, never underestimate the power of a group of women wearing running shoes and definitely do not underestimate the power of the RLAG army.

Ladies you really are amazing and it’s an absolute pleasure to be a Running Leader for you.

M x 

Positive motivation is everything.

Looking back over February 

It feels like I have only just reviewed January, how fast is this year going?!

The answer… too fast. May and the London Revolution are fast approaching and I feel completely unprepared for what is to come!

My plan for February was to continue to build a solid cycling base with increasing mileage on the long ride day. Did I achieve this? Yes. Do I feel any more prepared? No.

I managed to get my weekly mileage to 130 miles which is a step in the right direction but still lots of work to do. 

My training took me to the Peak District this month which was fab. It would have been amazing had I not contracted man flu before we went and felt horrific. For someone who struggles to take rest days, all I really wanted (and needed) to do was cuddle up in bed and sleep. I didn’t even visit the FREE spa in the hotel so I knew I must have been ill! But the weekend was booked and it was too good an opportunity to not train so I did. 

The Peak District has some beautiful places and I was lucky enough to run around Ladybower reservoir, after the first kilometre I was surprised at how flat our route seemed considering where we were and became quietly comfortable… and then we took it off road. I never run trails. I never run on grass. In fact I never run anywhere that isn’t considered ‘road running’ but I was taken out of my comfort zone and facing some very hilly, muddy, spiralling and challenging trails. But I LOVED it. It was refreshing to go out and run without having one eye on the Garmin looking at distance and pace. It’s the first run in a while that wasn’t ‘on the plan’ and it felt good. Granted it would have been better had I been able to breathe!

The following day I was feeling worse, the little energy I did have had been zapped, my head hurt and I felt rubbish. The thought of a long road ride (after seeing the massive hills that we had to drive over to get to the hotel) wasn’t appealing at all. I didn’t feel confident enough in my ability to use clip ins when it was so hilly and while feeling like I did, the last thing I wanted was to fall off. So we decided to get the mountain bikes and head out off road. 

“Just a little ride to see some views and stretch the legs”

We had a route and a map and I’m sure it would have been a flat, easy ride had we not missed the turn and ended up having to come off the trail. What started as an easy flat route quickly became a hill training session and I came face to face with the biggest hill I’ve ever seen in my life. (No exaggeration). I did it, it hurt, I couldn’t breathe because of the flu which ultimately made me panic slightly but I did it…and there was nice food and coffee at the top! There was also a beautiful view which made it worthwhile. 

Joking aside, what this ride did teach me is that I seriously need to focus on nutrition and my normal attitude of ‘water is all I need while training’ is not going to get me anywhere now the mileage and intensity is increasing. Before we stopped for food my legs felt like jelly, I was lightheaded and felt exhausted and I know that was more than flu causing it. Nutrition is a big challenge for me but something I need to master over the next few months.

Needless to say that training through flu was a silly idea and I suffered for it after and forced to take a good few rest days. The dehydration was the worst and my first run back after my rest days was painful. From the start my calf muscles cramped and it physically hurt to run, this was demoralising and made me doubt the half marathon I will be doing this weekend. But putting the flu and bad runs to one side I’ve been training well for the Half Marathon (better than last years) I’ve done two 10 mile runs this month and so I am prepared. When you are having a bad week or something gets in the way of training it is so easy to forget the positives and focus on the negatives.

Plan for March:

My longest ride so far was completely last week 53 miles. March will be about continuing to increase this while doing long rides on consecutive days to get used to what I will be facing at the London Revolution. I also plan to focus on nutrition and try and make some progress here.

March also marks the start of full Marathon training, more about that another day.

Let’s not forget the reasons I am doing this:

I am riding the London Revolution Ride to raise money for the Shakespeare Hospice, a charity that works hard to provide support for children and adults with life limiting and serious illnesses. At Blue Skies we have pledged to raise a lot of money in 2017 and so I wanted to do this ride for them, to not only raise money but awareness to.

If you are reading this and would like to show your support please do donate. I’m not asking anyone to sponsor me for the ride, people do crazy challenges all the time but I am asking you to support a fab charity.

All you need to do is;

Text MICM89

With your amount be it £1 or £10 

To 70070
Or visit my just giving page

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Michelle-Mumford3 
M x 

Looking back over February