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5 Tips for Embarking on a Physical Challenge from British Adventurer Laura Kennington

6 Tips on Managing Pain From Record-Setting Adventurer Maria Leijerstam

Laura Kennington is a British Adventurer who’s solo-kayaked through Russia, cycled the Wild Atlantic Way, and circumnavigated three of the channel islands in an extreme triathlon. With a passion for the outdoors, Laura seeks to inspire and encourage others to explore outside.

With a childhood spent on the farm, Laura embraced the muddy countryside and enjoyed adventure from a young age. Years later, after a miserable time spent stuck in the city, Laura took a leap of faith into the world of adventure and fell in love with sport again.

Today, Laura continues to push the limits of what her body can do and explore amazing locations around the world.

Push Yourself

Laura had always been fairly active, but becoming a personal trainer had her thinking, “What can I get my body to do?” This question is what governs Laura today. After hearing that Russia held Europe’s longest river, Laura was instantly inspired to challenge herself by kayaking it. She made a really big list of all the equipment and preparation she would need and eight months later she was ready to go.

This was Laura’s first big adventure and she was hungry for it. She wanted to be self-sufficient, get out of her comfort zone, and go somewhere she’d never been. Challenge yourself to push your limits while embarking on your first adventure.

Make the Difficult Decision

“There’s a fine line between being a badass and being a dumbass,” Laura says. At times in your adventures, the risk will be unjustifiable. Laura ran into this issue when her kayaking adventure went viral and strangers started showing up, compromising the safety of her campsite. Laura had no idea her trip would get that much attention and had to make the difficult decision to choose safety over continuing the adventure. While challenges can seem glamorous, as a woman adventurer you have to be mindful.

This experience also taught Laura to be ok with failure. She had saved and worked for nine months to get to Russia and now the press was having a field day talking about the event. Having to look that failure in the eye and make peace with it forced Laura to move forward. To put that failure behind her and silence the negativity, Laura embarked on her next adventure very soon after.

Break it Down

On the way to her Uncle’s wedding, Laura took a detour to cycle The Wild Atlantic Way. With not as much time to prepare, Laura was 100% winging it. She decided she would just figure it out along the way. Completing the challenge was important to Laura on a personal level because she wanted to prove that she could finish something. Being in nature all day, everyday was incredibly healing.

During this adventure there were miserable days of torrential rains. For Laura, it was important to break it down and focus on the next achievable goal. She couldn’t think about the next thousand miles to go. She had to break it down to the next 40 miles and the next break. When your challenge starts to really test your mental endurance, try to focus just on what’s next.

Find a Mantra

Laura’s mantra during her swim was ‘just keep swimming’. This British Adventurer is a big believer that finding something to be grateful for can take you out of the depths of misery during a physically challenging expedition. Laura takes things back to say, “How cool is this? How lucky am I?” She consciously shifts her thoughts to think positively.

Laura recently tackled her fear of running. She’d told herself that she’d never be a runner, but was determined to silence that inner-critic. Laura realized that if you have legs and you run, you’re a runner. If you’re doing something, you are that. Learn to conquer your thoughts and anything will be possible.

Always Make it Fun

How do you take the first step to get outdoors and challenge yourself? Laura says you need to make it fun. Let go of the ‘shoulds’ and have a good time. If you’re not enjoying it, your going to drop out really quickly. Have fun and make things light-hearted. Also, make it really easy. If it’s really inconvenient, you won’t stick at it. Find something local to start and dip your toes into the water.

Laura’s inspiration is to follow her inner-spark. Notice what makes you happy. Laura actually found her career by following the things that made her feel alive. Spend some time learning what makes you feel alive and you’ll be amazed at what you’re capable of when you really try.


Listen to Laura on the Tough Girl Podcast

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