Former European 10,000m champion may have become a household name on the track and roads, but she has used trails for training abundantly throughout her 25-year-long career at the top.
Whether on the canal paths and open heathland of Devon where she grew up and now lives, or in the parks of London, the 2:28 marathon runner swears by getting off the concrete wherever possible.
Trail Running recently went down to the South West to see her on one of her favourite trails and the Feb/March issue (out January 4) carries our feature.
In a sneak preview, we give you Jo's top tips for marathon success.
- Pick the trail according to what you want from the session. There are challenging trails and that’s fine for mileage, but not if you want to run to a hard heart rate, do a tempo run or some intervals.
- Make sure you do some of your running on the roads in the shoes you’re going to race in, so your body will have adapted to the fatigue impact.
- Don’t be afraid to do track work. It’s good for leg speed and running economy. If you don’t feel comfortable going to the track, choose unchallenging trails where you can do one minute or 90-second intervals. Top-end work will improve your running economy.
- Train in beautiful surroundings to keep your motivation high. Cover all types of routes. Think of new places to go even if you have to drive.
- If you’re not used to road racing, make sure you try some 10ks or a half-marathon.
- Do your longest run three to four weeks before then event and taper in the last week, or you’ll waste all the hard training you’ve put in.
- Ensure you’ve tried and tested your pre-race snack.