Jo Pavey on running in lockdown and the importance of the long run - Women's Running

Jo Pavey on running in lockdown and the importance of the long run

Author: Holly Taylor

Read Time:   |  September 9, 2020

We find out what lockdown was like for the utterly brilliant Jo Pavey

We spoke to Jo Pavey a few days ago, because we’re huge fans obviously, and also because she’s a Saucony ambassador and she wanted to tell us about the new Ride 13 – more of which over here. We settled back with a cuppa over zoom and had a chat with the loveliest woman in running™.

Tell us what’s so great about the Saucony Ride 13?

“I love the new Saucony Ride 13, they feel great. I really like the PWRRUN cushioning it has just the right balance between providing protection from impact whilst feeling responsive. They feel very lightweight for the amount of cushioning they provide. The upper feels very comfortable and breathable and they have great grip. They’re such a perfect all round shoe for runners as they’re fantastic for long runs but also have a dynamic enough feel for road interval sessions.”

What advice could you give those of us who have dropped off their training a bit over lockdown? How do we add mileage?

“Longevity and consistency in running is a lot to do with enjoyment. Setting yourself a goal in your running is so motivating, it gives you focus and something to aim for. You can set yourself mini goals as you work towards your main target, achieving these mini goals will give you a real boost. There can be ups and downs along the way but by relishing the challenge you can enjoy the journey whatever the outcome. Find a way to fit running around your busy life, you may find that you can enjoy time with your family and friends by keeping active together. Engage the social side of the running community too by joining a group, taking part in events, when it’s possible as of course we are experiencing restrictions at the moment due to the pandemic. It’s nice however to be able to still be able to engage with social networking sites for runners as a way to keep in touch. As your running career progresses you can use all the experience you’ve gained to your advantage rather than thinking of ageing as a negative thing. As time goes on you’ll learn more about what training works best for you and how to relate times you’re hitting in training to what you might be able to achieve in a race or time trial.”

How has lockdown affected your running?

“At the start of the year I was focused on the 10K trails on the track at Highgate. I was six days away from competing in my first race and then it was cancelled, and it left me in good shape but knowing there wouldn’t be any events. I kept it ticking it over, running from my front door all the time, which was tough as it’s very hilly where I live. I used the treadmill a bit which helped. I kept fit with the kids, and got involved with lots of online challenges and campaigns that were challenging people to keep active, and that was a privilege to do.

“It also gave me an opportunity to realise how much I love running, and it gave me a renewed appreciation of that. Not thinking about targets, but about how running makes me feel.”

You’re a poster woman for older runners and postnatal runners – does that bother you?

“Not at all. I love to talk to about how as you get older and life becomes more busy, you can still achieve your goals. I remember when I was pregnant, I wondered if it signified the end of my running career, but I went on to the 2012 Olympics, and that’s when I ran my 10K PB. I didn’t get a gold until I was over the age of 40 and had had my second child. I’ve probably achieved more as I got older and as my life became more busy.

“I learnt to listen to my body more too, how to overcome obstacles. And I love having more balance in my life. I like to chat to other people who are having the same experiences, and if you learn to listen to yourself and embrace the busyness and the juggling, you can achieve more than you ever imagined. And of course you need to have a flexible plan, and a good pair of running shoes – the Ride 13 as the a perfect all-round shoe for long distance running and interval training. When I was young and I was in the elite mode, I only had to think about my own life. Sometimes I felt more stressed because I was so focussed on that. But as I got older, if a session didn’t go well, I just had to move on. At this stage now it’s lovely that I’ve found that you don’t have to be going all over the world and thinking train/eat/rest all the time – you can have a busy life where you’re enjoying that balance and still achieve your goals.”

What advice would you give someone doing the virtual London marathon?

“Find a route that’s as flat as you can find! Don’t feel worried that you haven’t kept the training up – most people won’t have. So don’t try to make up for lost time, as your immune system will go downhill. Your longest run shouldn’t be more than three weeks before the marathon. Maybe two weeks before, do a long run that’s not quite as long, and then another about 8-10 days beforehand, nothing more than 90 minutes. You’ve got to do your taper properly. Try and do some shorter tempo type stuff so the race stuff feels easier. But don’t do all-out speed or take any risks. But most of all enjoy it, stick to your pace, and make sure you’ve worked out your drinks and gels strategy.

“The Ride 13 would be a good shoe for the event itself – you’ll find it really dynamic. The cushioning gives you good protection – squishy cushioning is bad for injuries. I’ve run for enough years to be fussy about shoes, and this is a good one!”

What are your plans for the future?

“My main aim is to have a track season next year combined with some road racing. Of course, there is a lot of uncertainty for all runners regarding what events or championships will be able to take place. I have been keeping my training going in recent times, at the start of the year I was just about to kick off my racing plans and was going to the track regularly with the aim of competing at the 10K trial in Highgate. Obviously over the last few weeks and months with the pandemic the situation changed. I think the lockdown has made me appreciate how much I love running all the more. It gives me a real boost to get out for a run and take in the scenery often having fun keeping active with the rest of my family too. I also love to set myself goals and I’m looking forward to more events being able to take place again. I would love to compete in a sixth Olympics, although of course I know this is a very tough target and there are no firm guarantees that the games will be able to take place in its normal format. Whatever happens I will enjoy the journey and continue to give it a go and enjoy it.”

Jo Pavey is a Saucony UK ambassador.
The Saucony Ride 13 is available to buy at

Written by

Holly Taylor

Holly Taylor

Holly Taylor is the digital editor of Women’s Running and co-host of the Women’s Running podcast, where she shares her running journey as well as the inspiring stories of women runners all over the country. She’s never been the sporty type, but running is the first time she’s felt real joy in getting active. She loves talking about running with a community of inclusive and supportive runners, and Women's Running is the perfect space for this. She's currently aiming for a half marathon PB!

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