Jess has been competing at international level since the age of 16 when she made her first Team GB appearance as part of the junior cross country team. Since then Jess has represented Team GB at senior level on the road, track and cross country. She combines her athletics career with her work as a lecturer in Exercise Physiology in the Sport Science Department at Nottingham Trent University. She is one very busy lady!
I got involved in the sport in 2004 as I qualified for the English Schools without really knowing what it was or doing any specific run training. I was lucky to get the opportunity to run in a few cross country events at school.
After the first English Schools, a fellow athlete mentioned to me that I should try the local club Stockport Harriers. I was already doing a lot of other sports so when I first convinced my mum and dad I should go down to training I was only training once a week. I was really adamant on my hockey and it wasn’t until 2006 when I first qualified for GB that I decided to fully commit to my running and drop my other sports.
I really admire Shalane Flanagan. She has had such a long prestigious career and I admire her confidence, how she competes against the very best in the world, and is one of the very best in the world! Her cookbooks are really great too!
Most of my days start any time from 5.30 to 6 am. I normally grab a coffee and a snack and head out the door and drive to work. Here I normally do a run and then get to the office for around 9 to 9.30 am where I have my breakfast. I work as a lecturer throughout the day, this could be giving lectures, working at my desk, being in the lab or doing 1 to 1 sessions with students. I really enjoy my work and the variety that it brings each day. After work, I will head out for another run or a cross training session/gym. After this, I travel home, eat and go to sleep – ready again for the next day. Session days are similar but, if it is feasible with my work diary, I will get to work early, work for a few hours, then have breakfast and head out for my session around 9.30 am.
I enjoy spending time at home with my husband. I really enjoy cooking when I have the time and I also like going for a light stroll to our village finishing up with a soft drink in the pub.
I like to get nice and organised with my racing kit, racing shoes and food prep. Other than that I try to be fairly flexible as it can vary where each race is so I don’t want to be too rigid with my routines.
I really like cross country events, the atmosphere is really close up and it brings me back to my running roots.
I am pretty used to these now. I just try to channel them into good nervous energy. I try to approach the races professionally and nerves are part of the profession. The more I race, the more I get used to them.
Sometimes I don’t go! If I am really tired then I listen to my body but most of the time I get it done one way or the other. I usually keep reciting the mantra of Des Linden...Just keep showing up!
I am looking forward to getting some running done over the summer and hopefully run some PBs – it's been a while!
I would advise younger female athletes to make sure they look after their menstrual cycle and don’t increase training too early prior to menarche. I would tell all athletes of the younger generation to just enjoy it! It is really important to enjoy it at that age in order to be able to continue in the sport for a long time.
Chilli con carne! I normally have this before going away for a race with some crusty garlic bread. It’s a very wholesome meal and is one of my favourites.
I used FitrWoman a lot when re-starting my menstrual cycle around 18 months ago. It really helped me to track symptoms and just keep an eye on my pattern. It has also helped me when working with young athletes to encourage them to learn what their bodies are going through and note down any symptoms they may experience with their cycles.
Or check out her website: RunScience
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