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The Women's Running Podcast
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The Women's Running Podcast

Author: Esther Newman

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Running is the one thing that we all like talking about. Every fortnight, we will be having a chat and a cuppa with an incredible woman from the world of running. From superstar pro runners to everyday plodders, each of them has made a big difference to running - and to women. We realised that there was a huge gap in the podcast world: a podcast that was about our favourite subject, that was about women, and was also long enough to keep us entertained on our longer runs. We don’t want to listen to blokes waffling on about quads and cadence (we can do that perfectly well ourselves, thank you very much). We want to listen to women who have made a proper difference in running, who have done some incredible running themselves, and who we can have a giggle with. Some you’ll know, and some you won’t - but they’re all utterly magnificent. We will talk to them about all the things that affect us when we step out the door: sexism, hormones, menopause, food, pelvic floors, relationships, mental health. But. BUT. We will also talk about races, PBs, shoes, training, starting running, enjoying running, finding the fun. And quads and cadence. This is the Women’s Running Podcast, and it’s for women who love to run.
14 Episodes
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It’s episode 3 series 2 of the Women’s Running podcast! And in this episode we speak to Jess Piasecki, the winner of the Florence Marathon in 2019. We like to talk about journeys at Women’s Running – we’re much like Strictly Come Dancing in that respect – and Jess’s journey in particular is compelling. She came to our attention when she won that marathon in 2019, in so doing becoming the third fastest GB woman of all time. But how she got to that startline in the first place is a rollercoaster journey through injury after injury. She talks to us here about her ultra sporty start at school, and then how her career weaved in and out of dramatic injuries, including multiple spine fractures, and how she built back from that. She also talks very honestly here about how she didn’t have a proper period until she was 27, the importance of oestrogen on bone health, and how important periods are as an indicator of overall women’s health. Jess is a presenter on the Female Athlete podcast, which is well worth a listen, and she’s also a brand champion for the excellent FitrWoman app. She speaks eloquently here about how important it is for young athletes to learn what their bodies are going through.This episode is sponsored by Runderwear. Women’s Running listeners can get an exclusive 20% off all full-priced items online using the code WR20 at runderwear.co.uk. This episode, the Runderwear team is giving one lucky listener the chance to win a Runderwear ‘Winners Bundle’, including a base-layer, a sports bra, a pair of chafe-free underwear and a pair of socks. The winner can choose the colour and style of each item included in their bundle! To enter, just need to enter your details at Runderwear. Listen to The Female Athlete here.Find out more about how FitrWoman can help your training.
In this episode, we talk to Tasha Thompson, the founder of the online community and running group Black Girls Do Run. She set her group up a year ago to inspire black women to run for their fitness, their health and their mental wellbeing. Tasha’s always been a runner, but she had noticed that very few other black women were joining her at the start line of races, and she quickly realised that there were a ton of barriers that prevented black women from taking up running. She set up Black Girls Do Run to help support more women to access running and to enjoy it, and to help educate wider society about the presence of these barriers. She talked to me here about her own running, setting up the group, the issues that her community faces, and how within just a few months the group came face to face with racism at the Harrow Half. But Tasha is a woman to be reckoned with: since then her group has grown, both in size and in reputation, and she has secured support from Runderwear and recognition in the press. You know that lovely feminist phrase, “Nevertheless she persisted”? That’s Tasha: her unwavering positivity and optimism are palpable: and this is reflected by the support and loyalty of her group. This episode is sponsored by Runderwear, a small brand in Dorset which makes technical performance underwear to prevent chafing. Women’s Running listeners can get an exclusive 20% off all full-priced items online using the code WR20 at www.runderwear.co.uk. In this episode, one lucky listener has the chance to win a Runderwear Winners Bundle. The bundle will include everything you need to start your running journey with Runderwear, including a base layer, a sports bra, a pair of chafe-free underwear and a pair of socks. The winner can choose the colour and style of each item included in their bundle. Go here to enter this amazing competition!For an exclusive 20% off all full-priced items at Runderwear use the code WR20 at the checkout. Follow Black Girls Do RunAnd give them a wave when you see them on a run!
In episode one of season two of the Women’s Running podcast, we talk to Susie Chan. Susie is a hugely inspirational ultrarunner, having taken on dozens of endurance challenges across the globe. She’s a popular woman in the running industry, and you might have seen her popping up on your TVs or at the National Running Show interviewing other runners and commenting on races. We talked to her about exploring her local area during lockdown, going from a “few half marathons” to the running the Marathon des Sables, heat training, her rollercoaster journey from chasing PBs to a shock cancer diagnosis, and dealing with that diagnosis by entering a LOT of races. She also talks about battling the Jungle Ultra after her husband had almost died, tripping over an alligator during a hundred-miler in Florida, running with her pal Sophie Raworth, and her love of craft beer. And if you want to know what the best food to take on a desert ultra, she knows just the thing. Spoiler: it involves the words Pot and Noodle. This episode is sponsored by Brooks, who have a brilliant competition to win one of two full Run Visible outfits worth £400. You just need to go to womensrunning.co.uk/runvisible and answer a very simple question. Good luck!
This is the special Marathon Edition of the Women’s Running podcast. On Sunday 4th October Esther, along with 43,000 others, ran the virtual London Marathon. Two women who also ran it were Deborah James and Emma Campbell, both of whom have been on the podcast before. This time we wanted to talk to them both about our experiences running our virtual races. They ran together, supporting each other every step of every mile, while raising money for their beloved Royal Marsden, a hospital that has supported and cared for them so much. You can still donate to their justgiving pages, so please do so with the links below. They talk with me here about the importance of their chosen charity, and also Deb’s history with the London Marathon, the power of giant Wotsits, and the sheer joy of our virtual races. We also discuss our next racing highlight – the Vitality 10K, which you can sign up to as well before 23rd October. Again the link is below. Plus there’s some proper, tangible advice on running your next marathon right here, and it involves pants.Sign up to the virtual Vitality 10K hereDonate to Deb hereDonate to Em here
In episode 10, we speak to the very aptly-named Sophie Power. Ultrarunning star, Women’s Running cover star, and ardent campaigner on women’s health, Sophie is a hugely inspiring woman. She found sudden fame two years ago when she was photographed breastfeeding at a checkpoint at the UTMB. She allowed this beautiful picture of her to be taken, hoping that it would in some way influence event directors of ultra races into allowing pregnant runners to defer their places. She talks to us here about that experience, and what she’s been doing since with her new-found fame. She also talks about previous races, the perils of drinking too much water, training while pregnant, the importance of talking about pelvic floors, and fighting for change.  This episode is sponsored by Brooks Running, and if you're listening in October 2020, you can go here to enter a competition to win one of two Run Visible outfits, worth £400 each.Brooks Running Brooks Running is sponsoring this episode of the Women's Running podcast
In episode 9 of the Women’s Running podcast we talk to Deborah James, who you might know better as Bowelbabe. If someone can be the ‘face’ of bowel cancer, Deborah is that person. She is vivacious, uncompromising, witty and incredibly honest about life with cancer. She’s been documenting her experiences publicly for the past four years, but really came to our attention last year when she ran the Vitality 10K in her pants with a bunch of other brilliant women including Bryony Gordon, Women’s Running columnist Emma Campbell and Andrea McClean. She talks to us here about her lifelong love of exercise and running, on how she has always run for her mental health, and how everyone should run in their pants. She also talks about what living with cancer is *really* like, her beloved teaching profession she currently has on pause, and the more recent strings she has added to her bow: her podcast, her column in the Sun, and her books. And in about a month’s time she’s going to be running the virtual London Marathon too. Make sure you cheer her along!
In this episode, Esther Newman, editor of Women’s Running, speaks to Anna Harding, the founder of the Running Channel. Anna has gone from non-runner to running expert in a ludicrously quick time. Just a few years ago, she made the leap from couch to marathon, and hasn’t stopped running since. She talks to us here about starting the Running Channel, and supporting a community that she truly loves, as well as how an ex boyfriend prompted her to start running in the first place (by telling her that she couldn’t). She talks about running goals, strength training during lockdown, her love of trail running and hating tempo sessions. She also talks openly about how the trolls in the comments section affected her mental health, and how she has won that personal battle. Find out this, her top tips for ultra recovery (it involves a paddling pool) and what’s in store next for Anna and the Running Channel right here.
In episode 7 of the Women’s Running podcast, editor Esther Newman chats to Jemma Lewis, better known as This Girl Can Run Far. She’s a runner we can all relate to, having taken up running as an antidote to gym-going after the birth of her daughter. But the thing is with Jemma is that a) she’s really *really* good, and b) she’s incredibly down to earth. Here, she talked to me about taking on her first ultra with the proceeds of a last-minute modelling gig with This Girl Can, and how Joe Wicks has made her discover the benefits of strength training. She also talks passionately about how supportive the women’s running community is, and equally passionately about her love of Dairylea Dunkers. And if you want insider tips, she explains here how to stop your hydration pack sloshing about on your back, making you need a wee. Essential running advice right here.
Emma knows everything there is to know about running shoes: she's a total running shoe nerd and has put in the hours: she's worked in the running industry for over 10 years and is a sports scientist to boot. But where many of you will know her from is Instagram as @emmakirkyo, where her brilliant videos on shoe lacing had me hooked from the start. And that's not to mention the drills, the strength training, and the general no-nonsense, smart attitude to running fitness. And in terms of running, hers is awe-inspiring: from running 100 metres in ski boots to marathons all over the place, she certainly has the creds. She's been through it too, and talks candidly here about struggling with her grief after the death of her dad, and how she used sport as a crutch during that time. Her passion for sport and running is palpable - listen in to be inspired... And to find out what shoes you should buy if you can't get to the shops!
Emma Campbell has a list of labels as long as your arm: author, writer, speaker, three times cancer thriver, mum of four, Women’s Running columnist, runner. There are more, too, but for now let’s concentrate on these ones. She’s such an incredible woman that when I first spoke to her at the end of last year, I’d signed her up to be a columnist within half an hour. She talks here honestly and beautifully about her experiences with cancer, and how she has dealt with those diagnoses while simultaneously bringing up her triplets and older son. She also discusses the gift of running, and how her friend Bryony Gordon helped her to view it as a way to embrace her mental wellbeing rather than a way to punish her body. From running a 10K in her Primark pants to signing up to the London Marathon, Emma will have you lacing up your trainers in no time.This episode of the Women’s Running podcast is sponsored by Lucy Locket Loves. For gorgeous prints – Rainbows! Stars! Leopard print! – in luxe fabrics, Lucy Locket will put the fun in your run. And they’re offering you, our lovely podcast listeners, an exclusive 10% discount on EVERYTHING. Just enter WRPOD10 at the checkout. 
Ah Lisa Jackson. If you ever wanted to be inspired to run anything – but particularly a marathon – Lisa is your woman. I met her first last year at Run Fest, and then again at the start of this year, and both those times, I left feeling energised, inspired and pretty invincible, to be honest. She has run over a hundred marathons, and one of the many wonderful things about her is that she is fully proud of coming last in 25 of those marathons. She’s a back-of-the-pack runner, and she loves it there: she loves to chat to the runners and hear their stories. She loves the feeling of inclusivity, and she loves hearing about the journeys that all these runners have been on. To that end, she’s written a couple of brilliant books, that I would recommend for all runners: there’s Running Made Easy, the sort of running manual that you need next to your bed, and Your Pace Or Mine – now available on audiobook as well as paperback. In this she details her journey from committed fitness-phobe to committed marathoner, and all the extraordinary people she’s met along the way. It’s joyous. When I met her back in January, we talked about how she used to skive off running as a kid, how she got into running in her 30s, how she discovered walk-running, and the advice she has for all of us who are terrified about taking on a marathon. She’s a force of nature – you will want to run!
We talked to Mel Bound back in September 2019. She's incredible. After undergoing life-changing back surgery and having kids, she tentatively put out a post on Facebook for some running buddies, and from there This Mum Runs was born. These days, it's gone from a local free weekly running group to an organisation with a truly global reach, with TMR running groups all over the world, a clothing range, and a manifesto to inspire women to move that will bring tears to your eyes. Mel has recently launched an app, too, which helps runners everywhere go from zero to 30 minutes with the help of her gentle coaching. In this episode, we talk kids, asthma, back problems, girls and sport, inspiring women to run, and dishwashers. Hers makes a beeping noise, but we professionally talked over it.
We talked to Susannah back in November 2019. She's a force of nature, emphasised by her win at the World Marathon Challenge in January 2019. In this, she ran seven marathons, on seven continents in seven days. It's exhausting just typing it. The thing that makes it even more incredible than the feat itself is that we've been shown videos of Susannah before she was coached at the Running School. She went there just months before taking on the challenge, and her coach and mentor, Mike Antoniades, took one look at her running and asked her if she tripped over her feet a lot. It turns out she did. She thought that tripping over was a fact of running, but under Mike's guidance her form dramatically improved, and he helped shape her training so she was ready to take on the Challenge. The story of her adventure back then had me on the edge of my seat - at times, there were just seconds between her and the next contender, as she rounded the final lap before the finish. Find out how her sheer determination (and several Toffee Crisps) powered her through.
We talked to Anna McNuff back in January 2020. Anna is the stuff of legend: most recently she has run over 2300 miles across the UK barefoot, fundraising and raising awareness for GirlGuiding as she went. She also amassed a whole raft of admirers and fellow runners along the way. But this wasn't Anna's first adventure: from clambering over Hadrian's wall (dressed as a Roman centurion - obviously) to cycling through every single state in North American, Anna loves a bit of a challenge. We talk to her about all of that, about adopting the westcountry as her home turf, and about the next adventures she has up her sleeve. She's funny, she's brilliant, she runs like the wind, and she's got the Best Hair In Running (TM).
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