Becs Gentry Peloton: Running Journey & How She Stays Motivated

Becs Gentry, the renowned Peloton trainer and accomplished marathon runner with a remarkable personal record of 2:37:12, discovered her true calling after seeking solace from a demanding professional life. Her passion for running evolved into a full-time vocation, paving the way for extraordinary achievements.

Embracing her most captivating challenge to date, Becs is set to embark on an awe-inspiring journey at the British Olympic Marathon Trials in Kew Gardens, scheduled for Friday 26 March. Expressing her sentiments on social media, she humbly acknowledged the profound significance of this opportunity, considering it the pinnacle of her running career. As she prepares to stand at the start line, a mix of nerves and exhilaration courses through her veins.

We had the privilege of catching up with Becs during her appearance on the cover of Runner’s World in 2017.

So, where did it all start?

‘During my school days, my love for running was fervent—I participated in various sports like lacrosse, athletics, and cross-country. However, when I entered university, the allure of the party scene took over, causing running to take a backseat. It wasn’t until after university, when I found myself in an office job, that I yearned for an escape, a form of meditation to counterbalance the demands of my career.

When I relocated to the vibrant city of Brighton, running along the picturesque seafront became my refuge, granting me a profound sense of liberation. It soon transformed into an all-consuming passion, compelling me to rise at the crack of dawn, at 4:30 am, to embark on extensive runs through the breathtaking South Downs before catching a 7 am train to London. These runs became my sanctuary, devoid of music, allowing me to immerse myself in solitude and find solace.

hot female peloton instructor

The turning point came when I participated in a 5K run for Cancer Research in Brighton. It was then that I realized I yearned for more—a desire to delve into serious training. Simultaneously, within my day job, conversations about fitness with colleagues and acquaintances became increasingly common. It was in one transformative moment when I had an epiphany: “What am I doing? I’m in the wrong industry…”

This revelation marked the beginning of my journey into a new realm, where I would pursue my passion for fitness wholeheartedly and build a career around it.’

What does running bring to your life now?

‘The mental aspect remains a significant factor for me even now. As a coach, my role entails running alongside individuals on a one-to-one basis, leading groups, and instructing treadmill classes. Consequently, when I engage in personal runs, it becomes a precious opportunity for me to focus solely on myself and find tranquility within my thoughts. The serenity it brings is invaluable.’

What running achievements are you most proud of?

‘Triumphing in the renowned Speed Project, a grueling 340-mile relay ultra race that stretches from Santa Monica pier in Los Angeles to Las Vegas, stands as the pinnacle of my running accomplishments. The camaraderie and collective effort of my exceptional team propelled us to victory. While we harbored confidence in our abilities for some time, the prospect of breaking records seemed elusive. I playfully attribute any miscalculations to the boys’ mathematical skills. However, as the realization dawned upon us that the record was within reach, we summoned every ounce of strength and determination. In the end, we crossed the finish line a remarkable six minutes ahead of expectations, etching our names into the annals of this remarkable race.’

becs gentry marathon philosophy

What was your lowest moment in running?

‘A few years back, I experienced an unfortunate incident where I slipped on my stairs, resulting in a fractured metatarsal in my foot. The injury imposed a lengthy hiatus from running, prompting me to explore alternative forms of exercise such as cycling. When I eventually returned to running, I discovered that my extended break had brought about significant changes in my muscular strength. Regrettably, the joy and passion that once accompanied my runs seemed to have dissipated. A sense of unease settled in as my knees, ligaments, and tendons protested with discomfort. It became a prolonged struggle to regain my stride, particularly when venturing beyond the 5 and 10-kilometer milestones. Group sessions offered some solace, providing a supportive environment, but when left to my own devices, the experience was disheartening, and I found myself questioning my desire to continue running.’

What do ultras offer that shorter distances don’t?

‘The beauty of running lies in its inherent nature as a predominantly solitary pursuit. However, my foray into the world of ultramarathons unveiled a whole new dimension—the joy of running as part of a team. This collaborative experience captivated me, as the collective spirit and camaraderie added an extra layer of fulfillment. What sets ultramarathons apart is that the emphasis shifts away from sheer speed. Instead, the focus lies in mentally preparing oneself for the daunting distance and the toll it exacts on the body. One can approach the race at their preferred pace, savoring each moment along the way. It’s a refreshing perspective that enables true enjoyment. The allure of ultras lies not only in the physical challenge but also in the opportunity to relish the journey itself. Delightful detours for cake, encounters with fellow runners, and the chance to explore breathtaking corners of the world are often part and parcel of these races—an experience that may otherwise remain elusive.’

Becs Gentry peloton instructor and runner

What has been your favourite so far?

‘Undoubtedly, the Sciacche Trail, a captivating 47-kilometer ultra race nestled in the scenic landscapes of Italy, holds a special place in my heart. The sheer beauty of the surroundings left me in awe, as if witnessing something truly extraordinary. What made the experience even more remarkable was the warmth and kindness exuded by the local community. As the race coincided with a festive time, the streets were adorned with jubilant spectators, their cheers reverberating through the air. Every step of the way, my best friend and I traversed the course together, drawing strength and encouragement from our unwavering camaraderie. Over time, the locals began to recognize us, and as we approached the final village, a wave of cheers erupted, resounding with the chant of “Rebecca! Rebecca!” It was a testament to the bonds forged during the race and the incredible support we received, creating memories that will forever be etched in our hearts.’

And what’s still on your bucket list?

‘The allure of embarking on the North Pole Marathon or any Arctic expedition is a puzzling fascination for me. Admittedly, I am not fond of cold climates, yet an unexplainable desire pulls me toward this icy challenge. There’s a profound curiosity within me, compelling me to venture into such extreme conditions.

Moreover, I hold an ardent desire to undertake a long-distance run in an uncharted territory, where human footprints are scarce. The tales of Lizzie Hawker, who fearlessly explores remote regions like Tibet and embraces the freedom of running, captivate my imagination. Her books paint vivid pictures of unexplored landscapes, and I find myself yearning to follow in her footsteps, experiencing the raw beauty of untamed territories.

Intrigued by the unknown, drawn to the unexplored, these aspirations ignite a fire within me, driving me to seek extraordinary running adventures that push the boundaries of what is perceived as possible.’

How much satisfaction do you gain from getting others into running?

‘The aspect of coaching fuels my motivation every single day. Witnessing the transformation of individuals who once despised running into passionate enthusiasts brings me immense joy. It’s truly gratifying to observe their progression over the course of a year, as they conquer various races and embrace the sport wholeheartedly.

Moreover, coaching others serves as a powerful driving force for my own running journey. I am well aware that my actions and accomplishments can inspire others, whether it be those who follow me on social media (@becsgentry) or individuals I personally train. Even on days when my motivation wanes, the thought of someone embarking on their running journey crosses my mind, and I hope to serve as a source of inspiration for them, even if it’s just through a brief run.’

Becs Gentry marathon

How important is the social – and social media – aspect of running now?

‘The influence of groups and social media can have both positive and negative effects when it comes to fostering dedication. On one hand, it can serve as a source of inspiration, motivating individuals to stay committed. However, there is also a downside to this phenomenon, as it can lead to immense pressure. The pressure stems from being constantly judged based on one’s presence in the group, the distance covered, the pace achieved, and even the necessity to capture photographic evidence as proof. This pressure can be disheartening and even hazardous when it pushes people to continue running despite injuries. I vividly recall an incident where someone attended a running session wearing a boot for a stress fracture – a clear illustration of the risks involved.

To counteract these pressures, I strongly advocate for incorporating some sessions that focus solely on oneself, free from the need for public validation. Simply relying on a basic digital watch allows you to tune in to your own needs and preferences, rather than being driven by the desire to impress others with post-run statistics. During my training for the Speed Project, I intentionally limited my recording of runs to one or two sessions per week, even though I was actually completing 10 to 12 runs. By adopting this approach, I could genuinely concentrate on training in accordance with how my body felt each day, rather than being swayed by how the numbers would appear afterwards. It brought about a sense of relaxation and heightened enjoyment, making it a personal and intimate experience between me and my run. The only individual granted access to my training sessions was my coach, who held the exclusive right to provide constructive criticism. Ultimately, as time went on, the concern for how the stats would be perceived on social media became irrelevant to me.’

How do you stay motivated from one challenge to the next?

‘Perseverance is my defining trait. I am deliberate and meticulous in making decisions, fully aware of the impact they have on my loved ones. Once I have reached a conclusion, my determination becomes unwavering. When I commit to a race, external circumstances hold no sway over my dedication. I recall a particular morning during my training for the Speed Project, where I braved the wintry weather to embark on a time trial. As the snow fell and the frozen canal lay before me, I bundled up in numerous layers of clothing. There was a fleeting moment when I pondered if it would be simpler to surrender and rely on someone to rescue me from the icy depths. Yet, I pushed through and completed the run, knowing that no subsequent challenge could surpass the intensity of that morning.’

Becs Gentry runner

What’s the best running advice you’ve been given?

‘Embrace the present moment and avoid comparing yourself to your past or future self as a runner. Each day’s run is unique and should be utilized to benefit you in that very moment. Whether or not you meet the expectations of a training program, such as increasing your speed by five percent from the previous week, is inconsequential. What truly matters is the ability to reset and recommence without dwelling on unmet goals.

Listen closely to your body’s signals. If something feels off and you lack the desire to run, it’s perfectly fine to honor that sensation and refrain from running. However, don’t let it be an excuse to abandon your entire day and indulge in unhealthy choices like devouring multiple pizzas or a box of chocolates. Instead, explore alternative forms of training, engaging in gentle activities, and embark on a fresh start the following day.

Furthermore, dispel the misconception that running must always be fast-paced. As a coach, I often address this notion. I like to emphasize that running is merely an extension of walking. If you possess the ability to walk, you can undoubtedly run. This fundamental understanding serves as a foundation for beginners embarking on their running journey.’

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