Perseverance, Healing and Training for the Right Reasons with Marg Fedyna- EP040

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Most of us start running or cycling or endurance racing simply for the love of doing it. We enjoy being part of the community, and we derive a real joy from being active and challenging ourselves in a competitive setting. But what happens when you hit a wall? When something is off and you seem to lose your battery charge? Would you have the grit to bring yourself back—even if it took years?




53-year-young Marg Fedyna is a self-funded professional cyclist. In addition to road cycling and mountain biking, Marg has competed in Nordic skiing, cyclocross, and adventure racing. She was the Sea2Summit Adventure Race Solo Winner from 1998-2004, the 2005 World 24 Hour Solo Mountain Bike Champion, the 2006 La Ruta Mountain Bike Champion, the 2013-2014 Holtwood Pyrenees Champion, the winner of the 2014 Taiwan KOM Challenge, and the five-time winner of the Lake Louise to Banff Nordic Ski Race.

.But Marg’s most impressive accomplishment came in the years between 2007 and 2013 when she lost her drive. She went from competing at an elite level to barely finishing races. Marg was diagnosed with adrenal drain, but after three months she wasn’t healing—and she was losing hope. Today she shares the long road to recovery, explaining how a plant-based diet and consistent, gentle training eventually brought her back to the top of her game. She speaks to her love of training with other people, how she deals with emotional lows, and the role of perseverance in pushing through the pain. Listen in to understand Marg’s nutrition philosophy and hear her advice about competing for the right reasons.

Topics Covered

[2:07] Marg’s break from 2007—2013

  • Felt drained, something was different
  • Diagnosed with adrenal drain
  • Prescribed supplements to replace nutrients
  • Wasn’t healing three months in, lost hope
  • Tried meditation, reading about nutrition
  • Naturopath challenged to four-week liquid diet
  • On path to slow healing process

 [8:32] Marg’s gradual return

  • Grew stronger over years
  • Consistent, gentle training for local events
  • Climbing race in 2011 was turning point
[12:29] How Marg trains

  • Finds groups to train with
  • Rest when necessary
  • Elevation rides on own
  • Knows by feel when heartrate too high
  • Nordic skiing in winter, cycling in summer
[15:16] How Marg deals with emotional lows

  • ‘Dark cloud’ after season ends
  • Adventure race in fall, ski season lifts spirits
[17:39] The question that stumped Marg

  • University student asked about personal motivation
  • Returns to Taiwan KOM because she can, wants to
  • Loves the challenge (toughest hill-climb race)
  • Sees as individual game, changes goal as necessary
[21:19] How long Marg plans to continue racing

  • Keep cycling ‘until I can’t’
  • Hard time comprehending age
  • Part of life to be active, competitive
[23:15] Athletes who have inspired Marg

  • No single person
  • Alison Sydor in mid-1990’s
  • Profiles in Pedal Magazine
  • Lesley Tomlinson, Jeannie Longo
[25:12] Why Marg chose the route of a self-funded pro

  • Did look for sponsorship, didn’t have confidence for self-promotion
  • Funding not there for women athletes
  • Can only support products she believes in
[26:52] Marg’s nutrition philosophy

  • ‘Meat and potatoes’ girl until health issues
  • Learned about alternative protein sources
  • Focus on plant-based nutrition
[27:55] What Marg’s nutrition looks like on the bike

  • Dates, fresh figs/fruits
  • Water with electrolytes, coconut water
[29:00] Marg’s ‘green drinks’ and immunity boosters

  • Green juice (green leaves, cucumber, celery)
  • High-protein green powder drink
  • Makes herself to avoid fillers
  • Takes own drinks, recovery food to races (plant-based)
  • Camu camu berry as source of vitamin C
  • Mushroom powder mixes well with vitamin C
[34:34] Marg’s take on physical vs. mental strength

  • Perseverance allows her to push through pain
  • 28-day solo adventure race in New Zealand
  • Questioned that it was physically possible
  • Renewed energy each day despite emotional highs, lows
  • Paddle against current, didn’t see stopping as option
[40:46] Marg’s advice for aspiring elite cyclists, adventure racers

  • Do it because you love it

Learn More About Marg Fedyna

Marg on Facebook

Marg’s Blog


Pedal Magazine




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