April 7, 2020

5 from 5: Mark Beaumont

On 17 September 2017, Mark Beaumont rose to acclaim as he completed a record breaking cycle around the world; covering over 18,000 miles in 78 days, 14 hours, and 40 minutes. Prior to this, Mark embarked on a number of other notable adventures: in 2010 he cycled the Americas, in 2011 he rowed from Resolute Bay to Nunavut Territory as part of a team of 8, and in 2015 he cycled from Cairo to Cape Town – again breaking the world-record for the fastest solo ride across the length of Africa. Beaumont can be aptly characterised as an adventurer, cyclist, documentary maker, author, and broadcaster. But, above all his accolades and achievements, he cites the importance of human connection in the making of any great experience.

1. WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND AND HOW DID YOU GET INTO CYCLING?

My name is Mark Beaumont, I am 37 years old and I live in Edinburgh with my wife Nicci and 2 young daughters. I currently hold the Circumnavigation World Record by bicycle, covering 18,000 miles in 78 days and 14 hours. I was homeschooled and lived on a farm, so in that regard, sport and adventure were there right from the start. When I was 12 years old I cycled across Scotland and since then, the journeys have just got bigger and bigger.

Source: Mark Beaumont

2. WHAT ARE YOUR TOP TIPS FOR JOINING THE ENDURANCE SPORTS WORLD?

We can’t all be sprint or power athletes, but we can all endure – endurance is about nutrition, planning and mindset, the physical aspect is far less important and comes after all of the above. Endurance is also a great leveller between men and women, and also across ages – the only thing stopping you enduring is your preparation and your resolve.

Source: Mark Beaumont

3. OTHER THAN CONVENTIONAL TRAINING, WHAT DO YOU DO TO HELP YOURSELF BE THE BEST ATHLETE YOU CAN BE?

A lot of endurance athletes focus on big miles and big hours, whereas I commit a lot of time both cross-training and core strength workouts. Being an endurance athlete is not about being the strongest athlete, but about not injuring yourself, not breaking down – so the more versatile of an athlete you are, the better conditioned you will be for long hours during the events. Unlike most cyclists, I spend time fell-running, which builds up all the small muscle balances around my ankles and knees – purely for injury prevention. I also focus on a fat adapted diet.

Source: Mark Beaumont

4. WHAT ARE YOU DOING DURING COVID-19?

During this time, I am taking full advantage of our daily exercise. Given we are only allowed out once a day for about an hour, I am running instead of cycling and my 6 year old daughter comes with me on her bike. Our mission is to have run/cycled every single street in Edinburgh by the time she goes back to school after the summer. It is important to have projects like this and routines, to keep the fitness discipline. This is also a great time to build her confidence and skill-set as a young athlete.

Source: Bikmo

5. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF YOUR TIME IN ENDURANCE SPORTS?

Over the past 15 years, my expeditions have taken me to about 130 countries. Whilst I have mainly been pushing firsts and fastests, the aspect which motivates me most is not the athletic ambitions, it is the people, places and cultures that I get to experience.  Whilst I am not an adrenaline junkie, there is certainly a level of risk taking on these journeys and the highs and lows are almost always aspects that you can’t plan for. You will also notice that my high points are not the World Records or the accolades, they are the human connections and money-can’t-buy experiences made along the way.

Here are some low points which have stuck with me. Capsizing mid-Atlantic while attempting to break the record of a 30 day Atlantic crossing and subsequently spent 14 hours fighting for our lives; seeing climbers fall to their death on Denali in Alaska; filming the changing sea levels on the Kiribati Islands; rowing through the high Arctic in Canada to show how the ice is melting; and losing my great friend David Peat, to myeloma. David was the man who got me into filmmaking.

But for every low point, there have been some truly amazing highlights. To name a few: cycling alongside a giraffe at full canter in Botswana; rowing through a pod of beluga whales in the Arctic; the friendship of strangers, for example, staying at a truck stop in the middle of the Sahara desert; free riding the world’s highest volcano in Chile; and, when finishing my latest cycle around the World, seeing my family for the first time in a few months.

Source: Mark Beaumont

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Train Like a Pro with GB Running World Champion, Josh Kerr

Who better to help with our event training prep than GB’s 1500m world champion, Josh Kerr? The Let’s Do This team caught up with him to chat about everything from his top tips, to ‘that’ gold medal-winning moment – plus, the science behind why he pees on a pen every morning. Want to know how to train like a pro? Join us to get race day ready with the champion himself.

Who better to help with our event training prep than GB’s 1500m world champion, Josh Kerr? The Let’s Do This team caught up with him to chat about everything from his top tips, to ‘that’ gold medal-winning moment – plus, the science behind why he pees on a pen every morning. Want to know how to train like a pro? Join us to get race day ready with the champion himself.

Josh Kerr on his gold medal-winning mindset

“If you trust that it’s going to be there, it’ll be there”, Josh Kerr wrote in his journal before the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest. This was the memorable race that would see him scoop the gold medal. “That means that I trust that my legs are going to feel good. I trust that my mind’s going to be making the right decisions and I’m going to be sharp on the day”, Kerr explains. His positive mindset has clearly played a role in his route to running success.  

Josh’s competitive nature appears to be another winning factor. We were curious to know what went through his mind in that final 200 metres. “It was all about putting pressure on”, he says, “I needed to make sure that Ingebrigtsen felt my presence. He kept looking over at me every 100 to 200m or so in that last 600, so I was like ‘Okay, I know he’s definitely not having an easy time of it’. My goal was to make sure that he was feeling pressure on that top bend so he was as tired as possible on that home stretch. Clearly, it worked. What else can we learn from Kerr’s success? We asked Josh to share his top training tips.  

Josh Kerr’s top three training tips

1.   Don’t compare yourself. “I run probably 50 to 60 miles less than some people I’m racing against […] I look at some people’s sessions and think ‘I can’t do that’. I’m still a world champion, but I can’t do those sessions. So don’t worry about what you can’t do – worry about what you can do”.

2.   Embrace your nerves. “When you’re in an individual sport and you look left and right and everyone’s trying to beat you, it’s a very difficult sport. There’s a reason you’re nervous and it’s because you care, but if you care too much and you get too nervous, you’re not going to do well. Just take a deep breath and go out and do what you do every day”.

3.   Prioritise rest.  “When I was in college, I got invited to run in New York in the murals mile and I spent the whole day walking around because I’d never been there. I got to the event and I was absolutely knackered. Staying off your feet and priming your body the day before is smart”.

Kerr’s nutritional recipe for success

Of course, nutrition plays a key role in any athlete’s training plan. Kerr advises against calorie counting and focussing on nutrition, instead. “I haven’t missed a single training day through illness or injury for two years”, he says. “Just make sure your body’s getting what it needs. That’s why I feel I’m hitting the peak right now. Because I fuel myself with the right amount of veg, protein, carbs and fat so my body can hit the tarmac every day and feel fine”. So, what does a gold medallist’s meal plan look like? 

Josh gave us the lowdown on his nutritional routine. “Monday night, Thursday night and Saturday night before sessions, we hit carbs pretty hard. Then we lower them the days after a session. So for example, Tuesday morning we’ll work out and then it’ll be a protein day for the rest of the day – pretty low on carbs. That’s the way we work things”.

Getting to know the real Josh Kerr

Off the track, Josh has one daily ritual that we weren’t expecting. “Err, yeah I can talk about it”, he grins, before divulging: “Every morning, I pee on a pen”. There’s a handy reason for it. “It tells me my hydration status so I can change my water/ sodium intake before training”, he says. “It’s a reasonably disgusting device. You pee in a cup every morning and it doesn’t look great, but it helps in making sure that I’m hydrated enough in the sessions”.

Once that’s been taken care of, Josh enjoys journalling and morning runs, where his training is often underscored by hard electronic dance music. “Every single time I put them on, my headphones tell me to turn down the music”, he says. On rest days, his go-to ritual is to get up early and have an ice bath, before napping for the rest of the day”. Josh also looks forward to spending time with his loved ones. It’s clear from our chat that he’s very much a family man. When asked who his biggest fan is, Josh replied “My family and my Mrs. My family as a whole”.

That rounds-off our chat with Josh Kerr. We left feeling inspired and ready to take on our next challenge. Though, we might leave the pee pen ritual – for now.

Ask Us Anything

Think of us as your active-lifestyle agony aunt. From gear recommendations to running hacks, we’ll answer all your event-related questions. Our favourites will feature across our social pages and in these newsletters.

Think of us as your active-lifestyle agony aunt. From gear recommendations to running hacks, we’ll answer all your event-related questions. Our favourites will feature across our social pages and in these newsletters.

To get your questions answered, either DM us at @letsdothis_ or email in at askusanything@letsdothis.com.

The best ones we’ll share here on our blog, in our newsletters and across social media to help others in our community. 

To view the latest questions and answers from our community, click here.

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Community Spotlight - Edition #01

Shining a light on you – our incredible community members. We’re sharing your amazing stories, training tips, hacks and more. These inspire us all to keep showing up on the track, road, bike, or in the water.

Shining a light on you – our incredible community members. We’re sharing your amazing stories, training tips, hacks and more. These inspire us all to keep showing up on the track, road, bike, or in the water.

This month we're talking to Jennifer Chambers - a running enthusiast from Melbourne, now living in London. She discovered running when she moved to Europe and has used it as a way to discover more of the UK and Europe - and herself - ever since.

A bit about you:

What’s your story? How did you start running?

My background is swimming and rowing, and I used to do Pilates a lot when I lived in Melbourne. However, when I moved to London, I got into running as it was an accessible way to see the city (and far more affordable than Pilates!) so I've been running for about eight years now. I started out going to the free community events that Nike ran, and eventually started going to all their different events across Europe. It gave me the bug for using running as a vehicle to travel and see different parts of the world. I now always try to plan trips around the runs I do.

What’s your favourite thing about running?

Running is a great way to explore places and get to know the cities more, whether that's where you live or new places you visit – especially at different times of the day to everyone else. It's a great opportunity to find a moment of zen in a hectic city. For example, having Hampstead Heath to yourself at 6 a.m. on a Monday vs. going for a run with everyone at 9am on a Saturday.

A lot of running for me is really about learning about my personality and respecting my body. It helps with being less impatient and learning to have the quiet confidence to trust the process or the plan my coach made for me. It's okay to fail or have setbacks; you've just got to keep trying, pick yourself back up and take the next step. You don't have to be a perfectionist.

What’s your favourite running route? (We’re always looking for new recommendations!)

There's a great loop around the Serpentine from Covent Garden. It's about five miles: head down to Trafalgar Square and run down Pall Mall to Buckingham Palace, up through Green Park to Hyde Park corner and towards Serpentine and then loop back. Great to do in your lunch break or with your team.

Other favourite routes:
Camden to Hampstead Heath and back – that's about 10km.

From Camden, along the canal to Victoria Park is great.

What’s your best piece of advice for anyone starting out?

Listen to the your body, don't go too fast too quickly and never run through an injury!

Best running/cycling hack?

Buy a running belt! (I've broken 2 iPhones by putting them in my sports bra from sweat damage! True story!)

What’s in your running belt / backpack?

iPhone and keys. For longer runs I use a Camelbag backpack to carry water and snacks.

Any pre or post-training rituals?

Post-run foam rolling, if I'm being very good ;)

You and events:

What event(s) are you most looking forward to doing next?

I've just signed up for the TTP Cambridge Half Marathon - I've never been to Cambridge so I'm really excited to use this race as an excuse to see the city - I've heard great things!

If money and distance were no object, what event would you love to take part in?

In the UK, I would really love to do Race to the Stones - it's a 100km ultra marathon paved in English history from Roman river crossings to Bronze Age forts. It's 100km so something that I'd need to work up to...one day!

Further afield, I saw this documentary about a Belgian dentist called Karel Sabbe who did the Via Alpina. It's a 2,650km trail through the Alps from Muggia in Italy to Monaco, which looks amazing. I'd also like to do the GR20 in Corsica; it's 112 miles of hiking and/or running. I attempted it a few years ago but sadly got injured. I'd like another attempt at completing it.

Best event you’ve done?

I did Vitality London 10,000 when I'd just moved to London. It was a great way to see all the sites, with the route running right through the city centre.

I also loved the Madeira Sky Race (not-so-surprisingly, in Madeira). It was a real mental and physical battle, but the energy from my fellow race participants and at the fuel stations was so incredible, it helped motivate me to the finish line. It ended up being as much an out-of-body experience, as much as it was a physical one.

Quick-fire round:

Best running song?

I love some SoundCloud mixes, especially 'Decade Mix' by Flight Facilities. One song that I love right now would be 'I Want Your Soul' by Armand Van Helden. Also, my coach recommended 'Running Up That Hill' by Kate Bush (the Stranger Things remix, obvs).

Favourite pre or post-run snack?

I only run on coffee.

Morning or evening run?

Ideally, I chase the sunset runs; but usually, morning runs wake me up for work.

Trainer of choice?

I'm very brand loyal to Asics

Best running product or accessory?

Obvs the Ciele hat

Music, podcasts, or nothing at all?

Music for short runs and podcasts for the long ones. Podcasts-wise, I'm constantly lolling to The Imperfects, or getting confused by Huberman [Lab], or fawning over Rich Roll. I'm not quite at the 'nothing at all' stage of running yet.

Favourite supporting exercise for running?

The [boring] rehab exercises my physio gave me, side planks and death-by-glute exercises.

Favourite running app?

Strava. My average daily time on it is shockingly high.

Describe your ideal rest day in emojis… 3,2,1, go!

😴🏖️🏄🍷🥗

In one word, what motivates you?

Stats!

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