my running adventures – barefoot or otherwise

Interview with Mike Wells, runner extraordinaire! (Part 2 of 4)

If you missed, part 1 in the series, you can find it here: Part 1 of the Mike Wells Interview

In Part 2 in the series of a 4-part interview, discover how Mike went from this:

Mike in November 2010

Mike in November 2010

To this:

Lean, mean running Machine Mike in June 2011

Lean, Mean Running Machine Mike in June 2011

TC: Mike, You’ve certainly come a long way from 2010 and 15st 7lb…what do you put your success in losing weight down to?

MW: When I decided to finally beat my weight demons, I used an app on my phone called MyFitnessPal to help me keep track of all the calories I ate, and the exercise that I did. Using the app allowed me to understand where the weight gain I’d been struggling from over previous years was coming from – and I quickly realised that the more exercise I did, the more I could eat, and still lose or maintain my weight. I used it religiously every day for 7 months and during that time, I lost 5 stone and learned what effect different foods had on my calorie intake. After I stopped using the app, I made sure I remembered what calorific values different foods had, so I could stay in control, without having to log what I ate.

What great, practical advice. If you need to monitor your weight, something practical like using an app to keep track of calories can really empower you.

BT:  Is your story of success the reason for why you’re so supportive in messages you send to others on facebook, Strava, etc?

MW: I think the joy that I’ve found from losing weight and running, the way I feel better about myself, the new friends I’ve made and new places I’ve been are all part of the reason I like to support others. I’ve been very lucky to have great support from my other half, Sarah, my parents, my kids and so many friends, old and new. I’ve also made loads of new running friends through Twitter and Strava, most of whom I’ve met in person and run with, several of them many times (including all the marathons and ultra marathons I’ve done), and I get a buzz when I see other people getting similar support from others, and knowing what a difference it makes.

On Strava, Mike happens to be one of the few consistently encouraging ‘commenters’ on any run or ride I happen to do. The feedback he gives really inspires me, and I’m sure it inspires all the other athletes whose activities he comments on too. I just don’t know how he finds the time to do it!

BT: Did your successful battle with weight inspire your sons to get involved in running, or were they into running before you?

MW: I think my weight loss inspired them a bit, yes, and training runs / bike rides with my friends and neighbours (which they enjoyed doing too) helped a lot as well. I think the main reason they run with me though is parkrun: they really feel part of the community there too and can see their progress against their previous times and compare it with other runners they know too. They also enjoy running with others and Kieran in particular gets a lot of enjoyment from helping others and pacing them to PBs too.

parkrun is an amazing concept brought to life in a practical way. You should be able to find one near you if you live in the UK, but they are now popping up all over the world! While I’m not regular enough at any parkrun near me (I’m lucky enough to be within a 30 minute drive of 3 parkruns) to have established friendships yet, from the few times I’ve attended, I can really see what Mike is talking about. It gives me a warm glow all over, just seeing how people are coming together in the community, for something so beautiful as running together in the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle.

BT: OK then Mike. Tell us about your best race (in terms of performance and why).

MW: My Half Marathon PB: 1:29:06 earlier this year: I was fortunate to have my Twitter and Runstreak running mentor, Andrew pace me around his home race, which he was running for the 15th time. I told everyone before the race that I wanted to just beat my then PB (1:33) by a minute or so, when really, I wanted to sneak before 1 hour 30 minutes if I could. I told Andrew the day before the race that I fancied going for sub 90 minutes, and he was very happy to oblige (though we didn’t tell anyone else). On the day, the race went pretty much exactly to plan, we were always on or just under 90 mins pace, we talked as we ran and it felt comfortable the whole race. In the end, we were almost one minute ahead of my target pace and I felt on top of the world after, it really couldn’t have gone any better, and it was a real privilege to be paced by someone who had inspired me so much.

Congratulations Mike, that’s a wonderful, heartwarming story! I’m sure it won’t be long until you beat this time again!

Check in to read interview part 3 of 4 soon to find out about what makes Mike’s day at a run, what RunStreak is all about, and his take on running technology!



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