Read part 1 of my IronMan journey here, and my training food diary here. It’s 2017, the year I will run the Barcelona Marathon – as a warm-up to the biggest challenge in my life: IronMan. Most of us will have spent the last 10 days finishing off the extended-family-size Quality Street box (bar the toffee ones), drinking so much the breweries have gone dry, and half-heartedly making New Year’s resolutions. 'New Year, New You’, and all that jazz. If you regularly go to the gym, January is really annoying because suddenly you have to queue up behind the resolutioners to use the machines. But instead of getting impatient, this year I’m going to concentrate on keeping you motivated with me. When I started this column I said I would love to try and motivate one person – one person who maybe didn’t think they could do something, whether that’s a 5k or 10k run, or go from a half marathon to a full marathon. So in a bid to keep you in the gym come February 1st, I thought I’d share some of the things that keep me motivated for around… 361 days of the year.
MyselfYou know that bit in Friends in the Thanksgiving episode where Monica challenges herself to beat her last year’s self… That’s me. I always want to do better than I did last time, and prove to myself that my body can complete these challenges. Personal progression and personal motivation is vital for our brains. We all need to believe in ourselves a little bit more.
My FriendsWhen you take on a challenge like this, you need a strong unit around you in terms of training and family/friends. You need them to understand what you are doing and the time it takes – you can’t have precious friends who get upset if you cancel dinner or ask to reschedule on a weekend because either you need to train longer or you just need to sleep – something I’m always chasing. All my friends are so proud of what I’m doing, and that makes me more determined to carry on, and helps me on those days where I can’t be bothered to get out of bed or wish I could just have a weekend on my own time, without having to set an alarm to ensure I get everything done. You need to surround yourself with positive vibes. When you’re training so hard for something you want so much, there isn’t time for negativity or doubt. My friend Rich (who got me into all this) inspires me every day. He is the biggest motivator going. He should be the next Mr. Motivator.
My WorkBelieve it or not, work motivates me too. I manage an incredible model and activist called Naomi Shimada – who has incidentally been in two Nike campaigns – and in nine months managing her, her positivity has had a huge effect on my life, ranging from having the confidence to wear a crop top and pants in the gym without worrying that I’m not the thinnest girl, to pushing me to do more and more with my sporting achievements.
The Men In My LifeMy late grandad always told me that I would achieve everything I set my mind to. When I applied for college, uni, internships, jobs, my grandad never questioned my ability to get whatever it was I was after. And I did – through hard work, determination and adopting his attitude of never telling myself I couldn’t do it. Similarly, my dad has always been 100% supportive. When I claimed I wanted to be a shot girl in Kavos (I allow everyone reading this to judge me slightly) he just said, “You’re young, go and have fun.” Then my brother is incredibly fit. He’s an amateur boxer and is about 100 times fitter than me. I feel like a beginner when I run with him – his pace never drops. I LOVE training with him because he keeps me going; when I’m moaning that I can’t carry on, he runs beside me, talks to me and makes me forget I ever said it. The central support system in my life is built with men and they all help me push the boundaries of how men see women in sport.
NikeA huge motivator for me is looking good while I train (well, at least trying to, when I’m sweating so much I look like I’ve just walked out the shower). When I’m wearing the perfect training gear, I feel like I can run faster and lift heavier. My love for Nike goes deep – it’s the one brand I am 100% loyal to. Nike and I have been together for a good 14 years; the brand always performs for me, never lets me down, gets better with time and makes me feel at my best. You cannot compromise with sports clothes, especially considering the amount I sweat. I need clothes that still look the same when dry as when drenched in sweat, and also when I’m squatting, I want to know the trousers won’t go see-through – girls who have an ass will know what I’m talking about! In my eyes, Nike is technically the best sportswear brand as well as the best-looking. I have always run in Nike LunarGlides. Lunars are easy run shoes, super lightweight, and always come in great colour ways so you can wear them in or out of the gym. Clothing-wise, Nike is by far my top choice – their running pants always pull me in and hold me up and their Nike Power Legendary cut-off pants in black (I own multiple pairs; bulk buying is key!), which have a super high waist, are a great pair for that! For straight running, I wear Nike Power Speed tights (get the flash if you are training in the dark as they act as a reflective). The tights have been designed with a screen-printed pattern that has been placed on the IT band and across key muscles for added support and they have been designed to enhance movement with a compressive feel. Years ago, the brand did an all-reflective running jacket which I had wanted for months; at over £300, it was a lot for me, but this single garment has been one of the best purchases in my sports wardrobe – it's perfect for my early-morning and late-night runs and cycles so I can be seen! And also, it looks sick as fuck. I wear my training clothes a lot in my normal life, so I like to own pieces that work for both in and out of the gym – and Nike do casual equally as well!
CoachesI had a hard couple of months with my trainer. I had the same trainer for many years, whom I mentioned in previous columns, but it would seem that people grow apart and sometimes, relationships come to an end. It’s sad that someone who really helped me through a lot with my sport now doesn’t want to take this path with me. But I don’t have time to ask questions, I just have to move on. This was pretty demotivating, to be honest. But, going back to that strong friend and family unit, I am starting with new trainers this month. One was recommended by my friend Jess – a woman called Paulina who lives outside of London and has completed seven IronMans(!), and will do online coaching with me. Then the second trainer was actually introduced to me by my amazingly fit client, Millie Mackintosh; Mark will work with me on core strength, focusing on weights. Then my Nike family came to the rescue and connected me with one of their NTC trainers. So, you get by with a little help from your friends.
You!All of you reading this motivate me. No joke. I think about you when I’m training. When Sarah, my editor, asked if I wanted to do this (so casually that I thought it was a joke), I couldn’t believe anybody would want to read about me working out?! But the response so far has been incredible and I’m so thankful. You’re all on this journey with me, and I can’t wait for ALL OF US to cross that finish line on Sunday 18th June.