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?

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 

Looking back over January

Can you believe January is already over and February is underway? 

If I’m honest I usually dislike Jan, it’s a strange month after the Christmas period, everything goes back to normal but feels incredibly slow. It’s cold, it’s grey and everyone lacks motivation. Most years my January is faced with New Years resolutions that I know I won’t keep, resolutions that will make my family happy and stop them worrying. Resolutions that promise 100% focus on recovery and a promise that everything is in hand and will be ok. 

This year was different, without me even thinking about it recovery was no longer the focus because it really was in hand. When January 1st came around I didn’t really need to think about ‘recovery’ in that sense because of how far I have come. This year I was able to focus my resolutions on making me better and stronger rather than survival. 

I’ve already posted on my NYR’s so I won’t go on!

So how did January go?



January was a month to focus my training for the London Revolution ride, to begin preparing myself for 185 miles in the saddle. Training went well, I focused on interval and strength sessions in the week on the turbo and started getting out on longer rides at the weekend. 

I must say my key achievement was probably using my new clip ins and having the confidence to just do it (after putting it off for way to long!). On the first ride it was a big success, on the next not so much! However only a minor fall, no cars were involved and only a few bruises to tell the tale! I got straight back up and it was mostly fine.

I must admit I spent hours trawling Google looking for a plan to get from amateur to 185 miles in 5 months but there were so many conflicting plans and none that seemed to exceed the 100 mile mark that I gave up and did my own thing (as I like to do anyway!). I was very happy when the London Revolution plan landed in my inbox to give me some indication whether I am on track or not. Pleased to say I think I am. 

Weekly mileage in the saddle for Jan ended on 90km. (Well it’s a start!)

How am I feeling?

I still don’t think I can comprehend the distance, it doesn’t feel real. A slight reality check when I looked at the calendar and realised it is less than 4 months away and I know the weeks are going to fly by! I’m a little more confident in using clip ins and generally being out on the road, something I was extremely nervous of. Especially when told to just ‘pretend you are a car’! Now that is enough to fill anyone with dread. Maybe I should get pink flashing indicators…back to Google 😉 

Plan for February:

My plan for Feb is half dictated by the cycle plan and half by my experiences in Jan.
Feb is all about building a solid base with steady rides, some intervals and strength sessions. I’m going to increase overall weekly mileage with particular attention to consecutive days in the saddle.
On a personal level I need to focus on nutrition on long rides and listen to what my body needs. 
This is the plan (although I will be extending the long rides at the weekend and fitting my running and strength training around it)

So that’s the London Ride. Although marathon training for Gloucester City marathon is not in full swing as it’s in August I wanted to still focus on this and build a stronger running base. With that in mind and maybe getting slightly jealous that lots of RLAG were entering I signed up to Warwick Half as a guide, it will show me where I am at and what I need to focus on. 

I haven’t really been following a plan but have aimed for at least two shorter week day runs and a long run on Saturdays getting progressively longer. It’s been going really well and I’m certain all of my cycle training is making me a stronger runner. 

Piriformis tends to join me on most long runs and likes to make me pay afterwards, but I just need to focus on the exercises given and if that doesn’t work keep everything crossed that it will go away!

I’m not going to lie, it has been and will continue to be a challenge training for a big cycle and running events at the same time, but I like a challenge and have never been one to choose the easy option!

So that’s my month, a good start but with a long way to go, hard training ahead and many lessons to learn.

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 
So that’s my January, I’m off for a ride!!

M x 

Looking back over January