Welcome back to another ‘5 Minutes with…’ this month I’m talking to Mara from ‘The Fit Londoner‘ about topics such as her journey to Iron Man. Her favourite obstacle course race, diversity in sport and spilling coffee on the train (I too, am that person).
I’ve been following Mara on social media for a few years now, much to my embarrassment I’ll admit that I saw her at key drop after ‘The Wolf Run’ and had a complete confidence lapse which meant I didn’t even say hi. I know what your thinking, shame on me!
I love her sense of humour, the fact she’s completed 3 marathons and the fact she isn’t afraid to speak up about topics she’s passionate about such as ‘modest fitness fashion’ and
So, let’s talk about 5.45am starts, training twice a day and the journey to Iron(wo)man.
I never tire of hearing about people’s morning routines, can you tell me about yours?
When I’m not in my lycra, I’m in my 9-5 office job on the weekdays. The night before I usually lay my clothes out, pack my gym bag, breakfast and lunch so the next morning, I can take things slowly. Before I started training for my latest challenge, my alarm would usually go off at 7 but these days, my mornings often begin at 5:45. I’ll ease myself into the morning, with Radio 4 on as I catch up with the news and then head to the gym or pool. By the time I’ve done my workout, I get ready for work then listen to a podcast during my commute, whilst drinking coffee, hoping not to spill any in a jam-packed central line tube- sorry Londoners, I am that person who does that!
You’re currently training for your first Ironman, which in my opinion is incredible, can you share the story of your choice to enter this event?
I’ve wanted to Ironman for a few years now, but just never had the guts or money to enter. I have a phobia of deep water, from a childhood bullying incident, that’s never seemed to go away and I haven’t cycled in years. Ironman is my way of conquering my fears and challenging my limits but also I want to be able to cross the line of one of the world’s toughest endurance events and say I did it. But it’s more than just about me.
Diversity in sport is really important to me – in the long-distance running and obstacle course events I’ve taken part in, I’ve often noticed how few the number of women from different ethnic backgrounds are around. I’ve never done a triathlon before, and this whole journey to Ironman for me is going to be long and tough and I’m going to be learning lots of new things. It’s part of my way to encourage women and men of different ethnicities to do something new and defy either their own expectations of themselves or those that people have of them. I really want and hope to inspire someone to try something new.
You’ve taken on a fair few obstacle course races which race has been your favourite and why?
Yikes – that’s such a tough question. It would have to be the Spartan Beast. Tough Mudder was fun, and I loved getting head-to-toe muddy, but the competitive nature of Spartan and the very physical obstacles was what probably what swings it.
At what point do you stop ‘working’ (or working out) for the day? How do you then relax?
For my Ironman training, I’ve got a coach, so I follow the plan he’s set me. There are days I’m training twice a day, which usually means I come home at 8 pm. I usually have a few other projects I’m working on the side to work on them afterwards. A lot of my friends aren’t into fitness and sports in the same way as I am, so a phone call or meet-up (usually food included!) with them helps me to relax because we can just talk about everything else.
Finally, tell me what fitness wear pieces you’re loving right now?
I love colour and prints! Months ago, before I even decided to do an Ironman race, I bought a funky, sparkly, purple swimming costume from Maru, which I have loved wearing during my swim training sessions so far.