Welcome to the second installment of ‘5 Minutes with…’
Today I’m chatting to Lou from ‘The Runner Bird’ – She just wants to talk about running and that’s more than fine with me. So, who is Lou? She’s a Marathoner, Mother, Manc, Yogi and from stalking her twitter, I can see that she’s soon to be a ‘Ultra-Marathoner‘.
Recently Lou made the brave choice to have a hysterectomy due to her high risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Please, can I just take a moment to remind you that checking your breasts on a regular basis is more important than Instagramming them? During her recovery Lou allowed a few of us to share our running stories on her ‘Other Runners‘ section and this was something I was very proud to be a part of.
Also, from reading Lou’s blog I’ve discovered that Topshop – ‘Lucas’ jeans are the ideal skinny jean for chunky thighs, I’m off to buy a pair shortly. Oh, wait, nope. I’m on a spending ban.
Let’s talk to Lou….
So tell me, why did you start running?
In 2014 I lost my dad to a rare form of cancer aged just 59. After a few months of moping around wrapped in his duvet, drinking gin and wearing his pyjamas, I realised that it would take an almighty challenge to get me out of this state.
So, I entered the Great Manchester Run 10k (Manchester is my home town) to raise funds for The Christie, a cancer research and treatment center which cared for us all during that short journey. I had never ran in my life and am not a natural athlete. However, I finished with a huge smile on my face in 1 hour 6 minutes and it went from there. I have since completed all kinds of running challenges including a trail half marathon dressed as a unicorn, countless 10ks and half marathons, and have joined a running club so that I can hopefully turn this ‘plodder’ into a fully fledged runner!
You recently ran the London Marathon, what would your advice be to first-time marathoners?
I downloaded a simple beginners marathon training plan and stuck to it to the letter. Training for a marathon is a full-time job, and fitting it in around a busy job and family life wasn’t easy. I ran 3-4 times a week and fitted in spin and pilates to build strength and flexibility. I lived and breathed the London Marathon for the entire 16 weeks of training.
My biggest piece of advice is one you will have heard before, but it is my only regret of the day nonetheless. Do. Not. Go. Too. Quick.
I trained for a 5 hour marathon. On the day I decided to go for a 4:30, which quite simply I didn’t train for. You can’t mess about with a marathon – 26.2 miles is a long way! I ended up struggling with cramp and fatigue during miles 14-18 and finishing in 5:54.
My second piece of advice is, if you miss a training session, do not panic. I had a chest infection 2 weeks before the marathon and was on steroids and antibiotics. I thought my marathon dream was over but, taking advice from the doctor, I rested up and took the drugs. Missing a few sessions was so much more palatable than not running the marathon at all!
I am proud to have completed the London Marathon but, as a result of getting a time I know I can improve on, I am now looking to enter another in 2018, and ‘do it properly’ this time!
What’s your favourite way to relax?
I am rubbish at relaxing! I am always busy and like life to be full-on. One way of truly switching off that I adore is spending time with my 4 year old son, Alexander. The simplicity and ease of taking him to the park or on a bike ride is my favourite thing to do, other than running if course!
Finally, what’s your favourite sportswear brand?
For looks, Sweaty Betty. Their stuff is so cool, man. If I am exercising straight from work I will happily swan around the office in my SB gear all day beforehand.
For performance, it has to be my trusty Asics Kayano running shoes. I had a few knee and shin problems before being fitted with these bad boys. I am currently on my fourth pair.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with me Lou – Don’t forget to check out ‘The Runner Bird Blog’