Mark Lyons - Ambassador Blog
I began running in 2015, I had been struggling with anxiety and depression and began to use running as an outlet on my bad days. I ran a half marathon, and although I was terrified of the groups at the start line, the feeling afterwards was something I always wanted to chase.
 
I took on more races of various distances each year since, and began running to raise awareness and funds for numerous charities, while trying to inspire others that they could achieve their goals too. Which is why I ran a half marathon in a 20lbs weight vest for Movember, I wanted to physically demonstrate the hardship of mental health struggles (feeling weighed down, short of breath, tense and sore body etc) but show people how exercise can help change their lives if they want it to.
 
And that’s how I began completing the various and slightly odd challenges I do now!
 

What are your personal bests?

My personal bests never seem to follow pacing and target times. I am someone who looks more at completing random challenges that I like to think test my physical and mental endurance. Things like running a half marathon while wearing a weight vest, running a half marathon every day for 31 days over the month of December to try and promote staying healthy over the Christmas period. I have just ran a marathon in barefoot shoes, something I planned on doing since last year. And then during lockdown I spent one of my days heading out to tackle an Ironman 70.3. So they’re my personal bests currently.

What have you been doing during lockdown?

Lockdown was a great chance to take a step back from my normal routine and the chance to train differently and relax more.

I spent a lot of the time away from weight sessions and worked more on body weight training and HIIT. I took up more yoga like the rest of the quarantined world and decided to increase my running miles and focus more on mobility and core work. I took the time to read through more books, spend some time on the PlayStation and finally made time to finish off decorating the house!

 

In between that I went out and completed my first Ironman 70.3, ran and rode through the deserted city centre of Liverpool and went for walks to places that would usually have been too busy to enjoy.

It has also been a chance to help issues around the world by donating or raising funds and completing virtual race events with people uniting around the globe and running for the NHS, and various Black Lives Matter incidents, and something I hope continues going forward.

Did COVID-19 affect many events / training?

I was lucky enough to return from a trip to Australia just as COVID-19 began, but the pandemic ruined my race calendar completely, I had the London Marathon, Dublin Half Marathon, a triathlon and a race up the worlds steepest street, and a few more local races around Liverpool all planned which have all been pushed back or cancelled. I managed to complete one event this year before the lockdown hit us, so at least I had that.

How did you cope with training during lockdown?

Training wise, it actually helped. I had a lot more time to get out and focus on increased mileage and had no worry about timeframes as my work life was impacted a lot by not being able to work in offices, so it gave me more time to myself. I had more time on the bike and managed to fit two or three various types of training into one day, so I’ve absolutely loved lockdown training. It’s just the open water swimming that I missed.

How have you found being an ambassador for XMiles?

I’ve loved it. It was the first time I have ever taken the chance to represent a company and with it being UK based too it is a stance to help support local business now that we are easing back to the new normal.

XMiles has a great range of stock from various sports companies and it gives you the chance to test out a multitude of gels, chews and on the go snacks before commuting and buying in bulk. The reward scheme is nice too.

Although we’ve not had much to complete this year, it would be great in future if we could host an XMiles event, giving the chance for all us UK ambassadors to meet up and complete an event together!

What do you have planned for the future?

My main future event and what my focus is mostly on, is London. We have not yet had an update after the October date was set, but I believe we will have to cancel until 2021. I was running it to help raise awareness and funds for a new project in the UK which is helping children with mental health issues. If anyone would like to help and donate, I have included the link below, and people can also find out more information by visiting Children First International.

Donate Here

 


About the Author
Mark Lyons
XMiles Ambassador
Follow Mark on Instagram: @markjameslyons
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