KYMIRA endorsed Adventure Runner, Nikki Love is about to undergo a monumental challenge – she's going to run 2500 miles in 63 days on a treadmill in her house! Sounds crazy – it is crazy, but that's what's great about it!
When you hear the rest of the story, you'll learn that it's an alternative challenge to one she'd already set herself but had to change at the last minute because of Coronavirus. It's an inspirational tale of not letting a setback get in your way and carrying on regardless.
In this interview with Nikki we're going to learn more about the challenge, her preparation, her mindset and how KYMIRA are going to play an integral part in helping her reach the finish line!
Time to read: 6 minutes
KYMIRA endorsed Adventure Runner, Nikki Love is about to run 2500 miles in 63 days on a treadmill in her house! Sounds crazy – it is crazy, but that's what's great about it! Learn more about it here…
Nikki, tell us about the challenge! We want to know what you're doing, why you're doing it and how you're doing it!
I'd set myself a goal of running across Australia. I was all set – I'd done my training, I'd booked my flights and I was ready to start on the 1st of July. It was an attempt to run 2500 miles in 63 days, a challenge that would be a world record attempt.
Obviously with Coronavirus around I couldn't travel to Australia and plans had to change.
I wanted to do something that would raise money for charity and I picked Children with Cancer UK . Thanks to the cancellation of thousands of events that would normally raise money, charities have been hard hit. I wanted to do something despite social distancing and wondered if I could change my plans and do my challenge at home?!
Previously I'd said running on a treadmill at home would be a nightmare, because for me running is all about the places you go to and the people you meet. With a treadmill I lose a lot of that – it's more of a challenge mentally now, as well as physically.
It's also a lesson in I'll train my brain to cope with monotony, so it's further training for Australia, where I'll have to run along one straight road, the Eyre highway. It's one same road, with only subtle changes in scenery for about 1000 miles, so it's great prep for that!
How have you prepared for such an undertaking? Has lockdown affected your training?
Well I've had the Australia thing in my head for 2 years, slowly training for it. Things changed in March and I dropped my mileage, because I had to follow the protocol of only going out to exercise for an hour a day. I dropped training volume and instead focussed on speed work. I knew my ‘cruising' pace had to be increased, so focussed on that.
During the lockdown (in May) I got involved in an indoor relay which continued 24/7, with different runners taking it in turns to carry on the run. I borrowed a treadmill for it and ran as a team captain, with people joining me in legs of the journey on zoom. We kept the relay going for 30 days!
So that's how the treadmill and the interaction came into being. From there it was a hop skip and jump to changing the Australia challenge. I put it down as another training programme I'd followed, but I picked up an injury.
I currently have a sprained ligament. I'm working with an osteopath who knows me, my body and my mind well so is getting/keeping me in good shape to take part in the challenge!
A lot of people challenge themselves with their running, but this is another level altogether – how do you anticipate you'll cope physically?
Thankfully I've done similar things before – I once did a 9 week challenge, so I know what my body is going to go through. I know what's coming, but the problem is I know what's coming!
I'll be comfortable in the first week. By week 2, my body starts to fight back. I call this phase ‘the terrible two's'. As I said, I've done these challenges before and my body follows a similar pattern. I use the adventure as part of my training.
With the challenges being so long and so heavy, I train and then use the first 2 weeks as extra training. By week 3-4 the adaption has kicked in and the body starts to work. What happens in my mind and body play together.
In weeks 5,6 and 7 it becomes routine. My body is OK, then it's a question of holding on.
Here though, it's monotonous and the mental side kicks in. You feel like the only one who has put their life on hold!
Last 1-2 weeks you can see the end in sight so it becomes more fun, but then it's scary because you can see the end and wonder what's going to happen after this? The physical and mental side have to be as strong as each other.
I need a strong team who will understand what I'm going through and will support me. It's emotional, it's physically demanding, I'll get stressed, I'll fall down and I need people to get up and force you to take the next steps.
It makes you reflective – you think "I've survived, so I can do it again".
Many people find running on a treadmill challenging because there's less mental stimulation. What coping strategies do you have for hours spent staring straight ahead?
A few things. When I run I don't usually listen to anything, but on a treadmill I'm listening to podcasts – Tough Girl Challenges, (interview with Nikki on the 30th) .
I'm also peri menopausal, so am listening to The Menopause Doctor . I'm coping with the hormonal changes going on within my body, which is teaching me a lot.
Most women my ages are slowing down because the menopause sees a drop in oestrogen and progesterone levels. The drop in oestrogen can cause impacts around aching bones and joints, so I'm learning a lot about that and how I can cope.
I've reflected on past events and realised I put up with symptoms because I didn't know anything about them. This time I'm hoping to learn more so I can cope with them, such as hot flushes, aches and pains.
I'll need to get enough electrolytes, so I have to manage that. I have to learn to cope. I don't want the menopause to be a barrier. I hope it's an inspiration to other women my age. I've been in the fitness industry since I was 19, so I want to lead and show the way. I'm showing people the way – based on what I'm doing. I'm 53, so I'm hoping it shows other what can be done.
I'm also making my challenge interactive, I'm recording using zoom and people can join in and run in slots with me – they don't even have to run! They can sit and have a beer and chat with me as I run if they like!
The challenge will also be shared on social media, which I'm hoping means there'll be even more interaction!
You'll be running for incredibly long periods of time every day – what is your nutrition strategy to fuel this journey?
I'll burn around 5000-6000 calories daily through running, depending on how much walking I do. I'll have to walk and run, because it's easier for my body over so many days.
Typically I'm going to be having breakfast, then I'll be snacking and taking protein shakes throughout the days. I'll be consuming around 120-130g of protein per day, changing as my weight changes throughout the challenge. I need to get all of the nutrients and calories in the day. I'll use junk food if I need to bulk up calories.
I'm running from 9-6, with 2 half hour breaks. I'll eat a proper meal with protein and carbs, which will be a simple protein such as tofu and vegetables. Meats saved to the end of the day to help with digestion. I'll be eating two dinners – my first one, then I'll bath or shower and eat another meal.
A typical day will be a 9.00 start. I'll run 5 miles, have a 10 minute break. I'll stretch, snack on pancakes, fruit and nuts. Later on I'll have a half hour break, with bigger plates of food. Once I finish my day, I'll have dinner, a bath, another dinner and then snacks if I need them.
I'm hoping to get to sleep at 10 or 11 and sleep until 6 or 7.
You have worked with KYMIRA since 2018. How does the KYMIRA technology help your performance and recovery?
I'm generally very lucky and have no serious injury problems. Even so, I use the leggings in particular at the end of the run. I've run across the Netherlands and the length of Wales and wore the leggings afterwards to help my post-run recovery. It'll happen again this time.
I wear the shorts for training in winter. They keep my butt warm in the winter training. From a heat regulating perspective, they're great to run in in the cold with.
With my recent treatment from the Osteopath, I've put my KYMIRA gear on afterwards. I believe in the technology. They help with everything I need to do to keep going. When I ran along Wales, I wore the leggings overnight as I camped!
Do you have any tips for others looking to take on extreme adventure running challenges?
The best advice I was given and I give out to others is throw yourself in to the deep end!
Have fun with it, don't take it seriously, even though it's serious. Plan and prep, but if you're not enjoying it, you're not going to want to do it. Have fun, laugh, use it as an experience that will be amazing because you'll learn so much about yourself and will come out a different person.
We're always growing as people, we put obstacles in our way. We overcome and become better. Have a go and become a better person in the process.
How can we follow your challenge?
You can follow it on Instagram and Twitter . If people want to join, you can find the link on my website . You can join in via Calendly . There's a lot of slots for 63 days! You can sit and chat, walk, run, have a beer and cheer me on. More people, the better.
I'll be talking about the charity, I'll be raising money as we go and advertising the charity. There'll be a Just giving page on the site. I'm seeing it as training, as working out how to deal with menopause, raising money and embracing a new way of life!
We at KYMIRA are delighted to support Nikki with her challenge, helping her to raise a lot of money for a fantastic charity. We're incredibly proud of her, of the challenge and the fact that our products are helping a fantastic woman perform a feat that will inspire, educate and most of all, support those in need.
The KYMIRA Products Nikki has mentioned in the interview are…