Q&A with: Louisa Elliott - Women's Running UK

Q&A with: Louisa Elliott

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  October 27, 2016

Louisa runs

Louisa Elliott has become a popular face in the running community over the last few years. You may wonder how a 23-year-old student from the South Coast, who simply loves to run, has become so well known. Well, she wonders the same! However, a glance at her instagram channel and you begin to get the picture – literally. Taking up running to lose weight, Louisa has come a long way since her humble beginnings, negotiating her way round the South Coast in her cheap pair of adidas trainers. Now a multiple marathoner, and social media and blogging star, Louisa has grown her instagram following to 22.9K and her marathon total to five. We caught up with her to find out how her running and weight-loss journey first started, the things she’s learned along the way, and just how she managed to win over the hearts of the #instarunning community.

When did you first start running and what inspired you to start?

In 2013 I was quite overweight and watched the London Marathon on TV. My auntie works for a local charity, Dreams Come True, and I messaged her one day saying, “I’d really love to do it, but I’d never get in.” At that time, I couldn’t run at all. And she messaged me and said, “Let me speak to my boss and see if I can get you in.” That was in April 2013 and I ran my first London Marathon in 2014. I’d never even done a half marathon before. I’d always said I wanted to, but my older sister was very much like, “You can’t do that”, so it was really motivating to prove her wrong!

I originally wanted to lose weight, that was my plan. I used to do a bit running but I’d not even run a mile, so it wasn’t really running and I needed something to motivate me. I’d done the Great South Run before and that motivated me a bit but, because it was local, there wasn’t as much pressure and I sort of let it go a bit and I walked a lot of it. And because I felt so lucky to get into the marathon, I thought I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity. That gave me that bit of pressure I needed.

Louisa Elliott

Where did you go for training plans and advice?

I used a London Marathon training plan on the website, but I did get lots of advice from different people’s Facebook pages to get me motivated. None of my family has ever run a Marathon, so I couldn’t really get any advice from them. It was hard to begin with, but the more I covered the distances, the more I thought, “I can do this.”

Has your relationship with/reasons for running changed, since taking it up for weight-loss purposes?

I originally always did it because I wanted to lose weight. I’d tried other exercise and I just didn’t find it enjoyable, but now I’m happy with where I am. It clears my mind, helps me to distress with university, and I have quite an active social life, so it’s nice to have ‘me time’. Even if I just go for half an hour a day, it’s half an hour in which I’m not bombarded by other things that are going on. When I first started, I used to run with music, but now I don’t. I try to get out early in the morning or late in the evening when it’s quiet and just have that headspace. Running does keep me fit and that’s something I’ll always want to be, but I think it keeps me mentally strong, too, otherwise I’d get a bit stressed out!

What advice would you give to someone looking to take up running for the first time?

Someone once told me when I first started, “Nothing bad lasts forever.” That’s always stuck in my mind, even when I’m on a really bad run, and then I get back and it feels so good. But I think, at first, the hardest thing to have is motivation, and I don’t think anyone can give you that. I think it’s about people realising it’s realistic and doable. If you break down what you want to do, and how you want to do it, it’s easier, rather than setting a goal like running a marathon in four hours. If you think, “My first step is just getting round,” or “My first step is just running 10 miles” then that’s doable. I don’t think it’s about having a massive goal at once, but little goals at a time.

Q&A with Louisa runs

Louisa at the ABP Southampton Half

What about those looking to take up running to lose weight?

I always tell people, it’s not just about your weight. I lost a lot when I first started. I got down to 10 stone, but now I’m 11, and I’m a lot fitter than I was when I was 10. Everyone wants to lose a bit, but I don’t think anyone should have a specific target. Just aim to be happy and healthy.

You now have a following of 22.9K on instragram. What do you think makes your instragram channel so popular?

I honestly don’t know how it happened. I think it’s because I am relatable. I’m a normal girl. I couldn’t live further out in the country. I’m not from the city. I’m quite humble. I think people can look at it and think it’s quite realistic. I don’t go to expensive gyms or bootcamps. I just started with a pair of trainers. I didn’t have a running watch. I was just guessing what I was doing, and I think that’s what people can relate to a bit more than someone who has all the gadgets and all the help.

What is your best advice for someone running their first 5K or 10K ?

Just enjoy it. When I ran my first marathon I was so obsessed with what time I did. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I could have done; I didn’t take in the atmosphere and didn’t appreciate what I had achieved, because I was being quite negative about myself. I would always tell anyone not to wear a watch and just enjoy yourself. Enjoy who’s there and who’s come to support you, because I think that’s what you’ll remember. As soon as you say to someone, “Oh I ran a race,” they’ll say, “What time did you do?” It’s not about that. It’s about going there and doing it. Appreciate that a few month’s ago, you couldn’t even do this; that is what is important.

Louisa Elliott is running our WR10K race in Southampton this Sunday (5 June). Come over to Southampton Common to say hello and take part in our women-only 5K or 10K races.

Women's Running Magazine

NMA’s 2020 Lifestyle Magazine of the Year, Women’s Running provides expert advice on gear and training, motivation from your favourite runners and the latest running news.

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