Day in the life: Long-distance runner Jo Pavey on her dreams competing at a sixth Olympics and training as a busy mum

 
Jo Pavey
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Jo Pavey is keeping her options open when it comes to events for Tokyo 2020 (Source: Saucony UK)

I’m training very hard at the moment.


My next race is the Great South Run on 21 October and I’m looking forward to getting back racing because I had a bit of time out in the summer due to an injury.

My long-term plan is to reach a sixth Olympics. It might seem unrealistic because of my age and the young talent coming through, but it’s definitely my aim over the next two years.

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I’m not complacent about how difficult it is. Obviously I need to run a qualifying time and I’m really focused on it and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some of the times I’ve been running on the track in training.


But I also haven’t ruled out the marathon either, because another one of my goals is to run a personal best over 26.2 miles as well.

I love setting myself a target to aim for. I still enjoy trying to hit times on the track. I’m 45, which means I have the benefit of experience and I know how I need to perform.

22nd European Athletics Championships - Day One
Jo Pavey won gold in the 10,000m at the European Championships in 2014 (Source: Getty)

Having two children aged nine and five means my life is busy and I have to be flexible with training, but I relish the challenge of combining quality time as a family with exercise; we enjoy keeping active together by cycling in the forest, or running at the local track.

My husband is my coach and he’s a great support. We sit down at the start of the week and plan how to fit training around life. It’s a juggling act, but being a mum is a huge motivation, not a hindrance.

My morning training has to wait until I’ve got my kids ready for school. Once they’ve gone I will either go for a run long, go to the track, or do some road running depending on what distance I’m preparing for.

In general you want to cover all the bases: a long run, a tempo run, interval sessions like 10 sets of 1km, or 16 of 400m with rests in between. If you’re preparing for a track race there’s no point running lots of miles if you’re way off the times.

In the evening we’ll often go straight from school to the forest or canal and take a picnic. If not I’ll make my kids tea and have a snack before doing an evening run on the treadmill, which we’ve moved from a cupboard to a shed and is helpful in the winter.

23rd European Athletics Championships - Day One
Jo Pavey is the only British track event athlete to have competed in five Olympic Games (Source: Getty)

Food-wise, it’s not just about what you eat, but the timings too as food helps with injury prevention and keeping the immune system solid.

Before my morning training I want carbohydrate and protein, so I’ll often have coffee, porridge, banana and a sports bar.

After hard training you need to get hydrated and have a snack within 20 minutes, then a proper meal like pasta or rice with chicken and vegetables, or a healthy sandwich with protein in it within 90 minutes because your body needs to restore its glycogen.

Mid-afternoon I’ll have a snack like fruit, an energy bar or a piece of toast with peanut butter to help me train again later.

Evening meals can be a bit haphazard because of the kids, so I can end up eating late after training.

Jo Pavey is a proud Saucony UK Ambassador. She is supporting the launch of the Triumph ISO 5, available to buy from www.sportsshoes.com from 1 November.

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