2014 has been an incredible year for Jo Pavey. But the heroine of Zurich isn’t stopping yet and she’s encouraging you to find a target and love your winter running ...
Having inspired the running world with her European title-winning performance this summer, supermum Jo Pavey is now encouraging people to run through the winter months too. As ambassador to the inaugural Cancer Research UK London Winter Run, the 41-year-old is urging runners not to put their trainers into hibernation and instead stay focussed on keeping fit this season.
Speaking exclusively to us, she said: “I’m thrilled to be ambassador for the Cancer Research UK London Winter Run. It’s going to a really exciting event with many inspirational people taking part in the event.
“It’s really important to try and support Cancer Research UK trying to beat cancer sooner. It’s 10k on 1 February in London, it’s 15,000 runners and it’s going to be fun.
“They are going to have snow machines to run through and polar bears to hug you at the end. It’s going to be taking in iconic sights such as Tower Bridge, Big Ben, London Eye and the Houses of Parliament. There are not many chances to run on closed roads through the streets of London. It’s going to be really exciting.
“The time of year is great. It’s a time to try and fulfil New Year’s Resolutions, keep going and give yourself something to aim for.”
The Devon-born runner managed to balance being a mother to two children and a full-time athlete as she won European 10,000m gold and Commonwealth 5000m bronze this year. Now she is encouraging others to face the challenge of running in the colder months to meet their goals. “It’s not about worrying about the weather. It’s about having the right clothing.” She says.
“As long as you are wrapped up wearing appropriate clothing you can get out there. Running in winter helps you feel good about yourself.
“I remember when it was snowy once. It was a really bad winter and there was just one particular patch of road that wasn’t slippery and icy and I was just running backwards and forwards – it was only about 200 metres long. There was people at a bus stop and they started cheering and saying ‘here she comes again!’
“If it really, really is too icy to get out there, then just do another form of training. You can go swimming or go on the cross trainer or treadmill at the gym. Just try and keep fit in whichever way you can.
“I’d say wrap up and get out and do it, you’ll be pleased with yourself when you get back in. Having an event to aim for keeps that motivation going. If you are running just for the sake of it, it is harder.”
Juggling motherhood and her running career has meant Pavey has had to take a flexible approach to her own training. “It is all about having a routine of some kind. It doesn’t have to be a fixed routine.” She says.
“I’m a busy mum with two kids, so sometimes what happens at what time goes out of the window. But it’s not a case of ‘do I feel like going for a run today or not?’ it’s just part of your lifestyle and what you do.
“It’s also not unpleasant. I’ll even wear two or three pairs of socks if I need to, I’ll wear gloves, waterproof coat, it doesn’t matter if you are wearing lots of clothing - that will actually get you fitter.”
She also offers some good advice on the importance of nutrition during winter. “I definitely go for warm, comfort-type of meals. I probably eat healthier than in summer. In winter your immune system can suffer. There are more illnesses around - colds and flu - that can interfere with your training. Warm, comfort food is good.
“Healthy nutrition helps you recover and withstand the training demands made on your body by keeping your immune system strong.”
Thousands taking part in the London Winter Run will be raising funds for the event charity Cancer Research UK. It is a cause close to Pavey’s heart. “I’ve got a very good friend who is being so brave, she is battling breast cancer at the moment.
“She is such an inspiration to me - brave, inspiring and determined. She’s an example to everybody and I really admire her so much. The run is especially important to me as it’s supporting such a great cause in Cancer Research UK. I’d ask everyone taking part to make a special effort to raise money for research into the causes, treatment and prevention of cancer.”
Check out our Race Listing to find a January/February event that you can use as a late winter target. You might want to support Cancer Research too.