Originally published on pickupthepacepaul
I am always on the look out for motivation. Recently I wrote about running a marathon, which is filled with encouragement and motivation to run a marathon. Taking part in a race is always a good way to motivate yourself, however some people find motivation from setting their own challenges. It is also really good to set yourself smaller goals within your overall challenge to keep forward momentum.
I have recently read Tobias Mews’ new book “GO! An inspirational guide to getting outside and challenging yourself” it is filled with challenges to do yourself #GORaceItYourself
Challenges range from things that you can do in a lunch time, to challenges that could take a lifetime. The book is helpfully broken into sections:
Midweek Madness: Short adventures that easily fit into your daily schedule.
Wacky Weekends: Full of ideas to get away for weekend adventures.
Long-term Burners: Longer and more challenging adventures that could last a lifetime.
I was fascinated by this book, and the motivation to get outside it provides. Tobias creates a detailed, yet simple guide to challenges that he has set himself, and ideas of how to do it yourself. The book is full of inspiration and he encourages you to go and find your own challenges. I’ve actually done a few of these challenges previously without even realising it.
The first was the race commute. I used to always get the bus to work, when one day I got fed up with significant delays. It was only a 5k journey to work, and I couldn’t help feel that I could have got to work quicker if I ran. So, the next day I did. I raced the bus, going the most direct route I could, and I won. Since then I never caught the bus to work again.
The next challenge I raced my wife from south to north London. A journey we usually take in the car together, to get to her parents, but I wanted to fit in a long training run. So I set off early, and ran… not only did I make it, but I was showered and dressed before she arrived. A nice long run, without impacting too much on the plans for the day.
Tobias has a list of incredible accomplishments to his name, and his book is full of ideas to set your own adventures. After you have looked through it once you can use it as a helpful guide. It won’t take long to read the book, and is much more of a reference guide in my opinion, something to open when you need a bit of inspiration. I asked Tobias a few questions after reading his book.
What led to you writing the book?
Having done well over 200 races of almost every format, got a lot of t-shirts, and even written the book about it – I began to look for new ways to challenge myself. I wanted to have the option to race not just on the weekend or once a year for a particular race, but whenever I wanted. Be that a Monday evening or a Thursday morning. Inspired by the classic ‘rounds’ such as the Bob Graham or the Paddy Buckley as well as the Audax cycling world and the ‘anytime challenges’ of the Long Distance Walkers Association, I became fascinated with creating my own challenges. Which is essentially how the book came about. It’s essentially an adventure recipe book – one you can dip into as and when, bastardising the challenges I’ve created or better yet, coming up with entirely new formats.
What is your favourite #GORaceItYourself activity?
I think my favourite, for the simple reason that I can do it every day of the year, anywhere in the world, for as long or as short I want to make it – is a Race the Sun challenge. I love the simplicity of it. And the fact you can make it as difficult or easy as you like.
Which challenge do you undertake most often or which would you like to undertake more if you could?
Of all the challenges I’ve done, I’ve probably raced some form of public transport the most. When I moved to London in 2008, after a career in the Army, I was determined to avoid taking public transport. I wanted to prove that I could get there by human powered means as quick or quicker than a tube, train or bus. So, over the course of almost a decade, I’ve raced against boats, buses, trains, tubes and even bikes. I’ve not always won – but I’ve had a brilliant time trying.
What adventures do you have coming up?
I’m now based in the French Pyrenees – which is full of untapped potential for adventure creativity. I’ve got this plan to cycle and then run around the Pyrenees Massif. I’m hoping to do the bike version this summer and the run next year. Besides that, I’m doing a spot of extreme twinning between Pau and Saragossa as well as some Yo-Yo peaks up the Col de Soulor.
What advice do you have for someone looking for motivation, and don’t know where to start?
Some people are motivated by loosing weight. Some take up some form of sport as a way to channel their energy post a break up. Or in my instance, looking for a new identity post army. The most important thing is that once you’ve satisfied your first reason for running or whatever, is that you have a back up plan for after that ‘big challenge’ you set yourself.
I’d say the single most important way I stay motivated is to find variety in my training and races, followed swiftly by doing adventure challenges with your mates. Sharing a moment where you’re both pushing the limits of your self-imposed limitations – that’s the stuff that will stay with you forever.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and it has started me thinking about the challenges I could set myself at lunch. Traditionally my challenges have revolved around an event. At lunch time I have set routes and sometimes I try to beat my time, but what more could I do? Could I go a bit further; could I race a tube; could I try to tick off various tourist attractions? I’m full of inspiration for my next adventure.