Running through April

Excuse the pun. I do feel as though I literally ran through April in the sense that it’s another month that has just disappeared in a blink of the eye.

In training terms April has been a good month. I don’t want to write ‘May’ because as we enter May tomorrow that means I have just 12 days before I am driving down to London ready for the London Revolution cycle! 

My focus for London Revolution this month was to keep increasing the long Sunday ride along with slightly shorter rides on Saturdays, to ensure I was conditioning my muscles really for consecutive days cycling. My longest ride was 129km and I finished this ride feeling strong and felt as though there were still some miles left in me. This helped boost my confidence for London slightly but still feel anxious (and slightly nauseous) when I think about it.

I started to focus some attention on my running training plan to, it’s crazy to think that I have signed up to Gloucester Marathon in August. The cycling has taken most of my attention and focus and balancing the two is difficult. Gloucester doesn’t feel real yet.

Who watched the London Marathon? One of the biggest events in the running world. Who watched the marathon and thought “actually I could do that”? I hold my hand up. So many people from all different backgrounds crossed that start line, and finish line. 

My heart and attention was particularly with those running for the charity ‘Heads Together’ for the programme Mind Over Marathon. The programme resonates with me deeply and I have personally experienced the benefits of running and mental health. I liked how they focused on showing mental health as part of someone’s life, not all encompassing and not in a way that negative stigma is attached. Many people experience mental health struggles be it depression, anxiety, OCD or many others but it doesn’t and shouldn’t define you and you can function and live a normal life. You can carry on with family life, work hard at your career and personal commitments, it’s just a whole lot harder.

Running can help on so many levels from giving structure and routine, the need to fuel your body properly and look after yourself to get the most of your running. It offers a distraction, a place to find space in your mind and feel free. It floods your body with endorphins, that ‘runners high’ that can make you feel better about yourself. It also allows you to do something that you can achieve great things in, whether that is your first 5km, half marathon or full marathon. You can see yourself improving and it gives you worth.

I’m doing Gloucester Marathon in August, initially I thought about doing it for charity. Not only is raining money for charity an amazing thing to do but it also adds some responsibilities to the run. People have sponsored you so you have to go out there and finish. A marathon is a long long way, one that I don’t know if I can do and so the added motivation that people have sponsored me would have been a big help. But when I stopped and thought about exactly why I want to run a marathon (and was completely honest with myself) the reasons are exactly the same as all of those people on Mind Over Marathon (and probably thousands of others who ran London). I want to run Gloucester Marathon for me. I want to show myself that I can do it, that I am strong enough and that my anxiety and confidence issues that I often face about many situations is not going to stop me from getting to the start line. It will be 14 weeks of ‘lessons to learn’, ups and downs of training and battling negative thoughts that tell me I can’t do it, but the only thing that will stand between me and my finishers medal is injury, a genuine reason.

So back to cycling. May will be knocking at the door tomorrow and the countdown will begin. The next week will be a hard training week and then it will ease off slightly until the big day. Next time I write my monthly review it will be done and hopefully I will have an amazing story to tell.

That’s all for now.

M x

Running through April

To Bib, or not to Bib that is the question?

I am no professional, I actually consider myself an amateur, a newbie, a novice. But one lesson I learnt pretty swiftly is that whatever your level, if you are planning on spending a decent time in the saddle never underestimate the importance of bib shorts… lovely padded bib shorts.

When I first started riding, or should I say when I first thought about riding I bought a pair of bib shorts, I didn’t research them but they were in the sale and I thought I might need them, so I bought them. I wore them once and that was that. They didn’t feel much different to wearing my running tights if I am completely honest. Then when I was lucky enough to win entry into the London Revolution I realised that;

a) I was going to have to start taking my training seriously 

b) I was actually going to have to get on my road bike, on the road (no more hiding on the turbo in the comfort of my home) 

c) It was winter, it was cold and I was going to need appropriate bib tights. 

The ones I decided on (after limited research) were OK, but being a newbie I wasn’t 100% sure how I was meant to feel after a long ride, my bum still hurt after getting off the saddle and the longer the rides became the more I felt as though I was becoming part of the saddle, or the saddle was becoming part of me, either way it was a painful experience! Not to mention the ‘slight’ pain of consecutive days riding. To me this was normal. Then something that I can only describe as a complete game-changer happened. I discovered Stolen Goat. Yes I’m a Brand Ambassador however I write this blog completely impartial because the simple fact that I am an ambassador does not take away that on discovering Stolen Goat I discovered the key to a comfortable ride. 

With summer months approaching but still a little chilly I opted to buy some new bib shorts, I decided on the Women’s Orkaan waterproof shorts.

I love them.

Now as an amateur I’m not going to go in to too much technical detail because I’m still learning myself. 

But here is what makes Stolen Goat Orkaan Waterproof Bib Shorts so great: 

Waterproof fabric – the waterproofing is manufactured into the material and so no amount of washing will affect its performance.

Wind resistant – considered more wind resistant than other bib shorts.

Proprietary Pad – using dimple technology to increase airflow these bib shorts have been developed in Belgium alongside top level pro riders and so quality is guaranteed.

Premium fit – what I like about these compared to the first shorts I owned is that the legs are held in place by elasticated bands so that they hold in place throughout the ride instead of using silicon grippers which can be uncomfortable as well as irritating!

With London Revolution approaching I have been focusing on consecutive days in the saddle and these Stolen Goat shorts have made that possible. Not only are they comfortable and fit well but I love the SG logo and by choosing black I can pair with any cycling jersey (and yes I have just ordered another jersey from SG!)

These shorts are also waterproof. I have been lucky enough to avoid the rain but with our lovely British weather I’m sure it will only be a matter of weeks before they really are put to the test! 

If you are looking for some great performance bib shorts I would highly recommend Stolen Goat. 

Whether you are a beginner just setting out on your cycling journey and starting your cycling wardrobe, or you have more cycling kit than normal clothes. Whether you are going out on a leisurely Sunday ride or competing in a sportive, maybe you are clocking up the miles on a turbo or hitting the roads on a spring morning. Whatever your ride these are just the perfect kit.

An absolute essential for your cycling wardrobe.

Don’t just take my word for it, I am an amateur after all.
stolengoat.com

M x 

I am cycling the London Revolution 185 miles to raise pennies and awareness for the Shakespeare Hospice, a charity who do amazing things.

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

To Bib, or not to Bib that is the question?