We know a lot of you can get quite worried about training for our charity challenges. Perhaps you're struggling to work out as much as you wanted to due to work commitments, weather, children or whatever else may be on your plate! Time is precious and before you know it, the date of your challenge is looming and you start freaking out. But please, don't worry. This happens to loads of people - more than you might think. And because it probably means more to you coming from fellow challengers rather than us, we thought we'd share a couple of wonderful and very inspiring messages from Natalie Olley and Jo Forster, two of our incredible Women V Cancer heroes.
Here's why you have no need to worry.
Kicking the ass out of cancer: a message from Natalie
When I did my first challenge, Women V Cancer - Cycle Kenya, back in 2012, I was so, so nervous!
Everyone on the Facebook page was saying how many hours a week they exercise and go cycling.
It made me feel like I wanted to quit and not go. As I worked for eleven hours a day and had an hour commute each way to work, I had very little time to myself.
I worked myself into a panic about how unfit I was.
When I got to Kenya I realised that everybody has different targets and challenges. What one person finds a challenge, another will take in their stride... or peddle. Some ladies found going up the hills wasn't too hard (!😮)....but down - This was their challenge!
Yes, the hills were hard and it certainly helped to have been running and to have squeezed in some squats and lunges during work hours; but I hadn't had much chance to get on my bike before the challenge. Oh my goodness - my bum hurt on that second day, but I made it through and I loved it!
So, I just wanted to say, and hopefully reassure some of you that this is not a competition of the fittest - it's your own personal challenge. Nobody needs to up their game to compete with somebody else's fitness and exercise. You only need to up your game to get yourself to YOUR fit!
We are one big team and everybody is there for one main reason - to KICK THE ASS OUT OF CANCER!
We are all there to help each other and we will all get to the end, together!
Yes - get to the gym, if you can
Yes - get on your bike (in the nice weather)
Yes - follow that legs/bums/tums DVD in your lounge
But most of all, fundraise!
Get those pennies in.
And don't worry!
It will be the most amazing experience of your life!
Since Kenya, Natalie has taken on several more Women V Cancer challenges and isn't about to stop. Her next big overseas challenge will be the our dazzling Women V Cancer - Cycle Costa Rica 2019, an absolutely stunning 360 km coast to coast cycle following a route from the sparkling Caribbean Sea, through bustling rain forests, a rainbow of fruit farms, alongside local railways and rivers, right to the Pacific Ocean. Join Natalie in Costa Rica and experience for yourself what she's talking about!Learn more about Women V Cancer - Cycle Costa Rica 2019
What we can do if we try: a message from Jo
I too did the Kenya cycle ride in 2012 and it was honestly the most exhilarating, exhausting but gratifying experience in my life.
I too had never done anything remotely like this, but feeling very lost after my brother had died, I suddenly decided to take my health and fitness in hand and sign up.
I was desperately unfit to begin with, but I slowly built up my strength and fitness, not to mention my confidence and self esteem. The challenge was truly amazing; yes, hard at times and those hills seemed unrelenting, but with a bit of extra determination, you get there! There were honestly moments when I couldn't believe what I was doing!
The group were so friendly and everyone was very supportive. People do have different strengths, but the most important lesson I learned from that week in Kenya was the depth of camaraderie. We were all there to raise money to help combat cancer, but also to learn about ourselves and what we could do if we tried a bit and helped one another along the way.
It was an amazing journey with beautiful memories. If you get the opportunity to do a challenge like this, embrace it and enjoy every bit of it!
Although these two wonderful ladies refer specifically to the Women V Cancer challenges, you'll experience the same camaraderie, friendships and overwhelming sense of achievement on all our challenges. Why not give yourself the opportunity of a life-time and choose your next Dream Challenge? From cycling alongside the Great Wall of China on our Big Heart Bike Ride 2019 to reaching the roof of Africa on our Mount Kilimanjaro Trek in 2018 (and lots more), we can practically guarantee we've got your bucket list challenge ready and waiting for you.Find your next challenge
Don't worry: you've got this
So whether you’ve signed up to a Dream Challenge already or whether you’re just thinking about it, please don’t feel under too much pressure. You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete or live in the gym. That's not what we're about. We're about coming together to challenge ourselves both mentally and physically and doing something amazing for an invaluable cause.
You just need to have a positive spirit and the drive to make a difference in the world. Don't get us wrong: the challenges are tough - otherwise they wouldn't be called challenges - and we do recommend you train for your challenge using the free training plan we provide for you; but don't freak out if you can't follow it rigidly.
If you can dream it, you can do it. We believe in you, so believe in yourself! Find your next challenge.
Faisal Abdalla, Official Trainer for Nike and personal coach to celebrities, including Ellie Goulding and Ella Eyre, has been kind enough to provide all our Dream Challengers with some of his top training tips for walking a marathon (specifically our Walk The Night challenge, supporting Breast Cancer Care and Prostate Cancer UK).
Although these tips are for Walk The Night, they’re definitely worth a read if you're taking on one of our other challenges. He talks about core strength and keeping a positive mental attitude, both of which are invaluable to any kind of challenge! Positive Mental Attitude goes a long way in helping you achieve your dreams - and a strong core improves your balance and posture.