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The Marathon Masterclass with Annie Foulds

posted on Friday, 6th April 2018 | find under Fitness
Attention London marathon runners! To congratulate you we want to offer you 20% off new activewear. Simply bring in your medal to your local shop or send an image to customercare@sweatybetty.com and we'll help you out. 

Marathon season has arrived! If like us, you're lacing up your trainers to get outdoors, we've got some added motivation. Whether you're training for a 5k or completing those final few long runs, our ambassador Annie Foulds is the one to help. Personal trainer, endurance expert and ultra-marathon runner extraordinaire, we caught up with her in London to talk challenges and running tips. 

annie foulds
Annie pre Sweaty Betty run club in the Infinity Bra

How did you get into running?

I have always loved running from an early age - but I really took it seriously when I represented my school, athletics club and then Suffolk County in the 200 metres. However, I didn’t discover my love of endurance running until much later. My son Jack was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and I wanted to show my appreciation to Great Ormond Street Hospital. I never do things by halves, so I signed up for the 110km Marathon des Sables - a 110km endurance marathon. I loved the adventure of this, I knew I'd found my calling!

When was your first marathon?

I had watched the London Marathon since childhood, so it had to be in my home city! My first marathon was in 2002, it was such an emotional day from start to finish.  I will never forget it.

What’s your number one running essential?

My Asics Nimbus running shoes, they're so comfortable and I can't run without them.

What are your top tips for marathon first timers?

Where do I start! Firstly it's so important to follow a plan or get some help from a professional, it's a long process so you can't just run 23 miles straight away. I also recommend practicing with gels, clothing and the right shoes, you should never wear new shoes or clothes on the day so you need to make sure they're comfortable and work for you.

On the day before race day stay hydrated and get an early night's sleep. I recommend on the day itself you wake up early, hydrate and make sure you Vaseline all those sensitive areas, there's nothing worse than chafing! 


Finally, take your time at the beginning of your marathon and start slowly. If you peak too early the final few miles will be incredibly hard.  

How many times a week do you run?


I run about five times a week.  My average mileage is 35-40 miles a week, though if I have an ultra-race to prepare for this goes up to 90 miles per week.  

Do you have any running training tips?

Change up your running routine! As I said, it is best to follow a plan, but you should mix things up with a range of shorter and longer runs, hill sprints, intervals and easy recovery runs.

What other exercises would you recommend for runners?

I would recommend full body exercises and yoga. I always tell clients to pay particular attention to your core, glutes and legs focusing on moves like planks, step ups, squats, crab walks, lunges and single leg deadlifts. 

What three items in your running kit can't you live without?

I love my Zero Gravity Leggings in every colour, they're really supportive and lightweight so it feels like I'm wearing nothing. I also love the All Train Bra as it's really supportive and doesn't chafe at all and finally, I love the Breeze Run Top, it's fast drying which is important on long runs.

How do you prevent injury?

Firstly, wear the correct running trainers, I would recommend going to get a pair fitted with a trained specialist.

Then when your training, it's important to stick to your plan, take rest days and slowly build your training tolerance and mileage, this will prevent injuries happening later. 

This is one a lot of people forget, but a good nutritional plan with lots of potassium and magnesium rich foods like bananas, spinach and almonds is so important. Also keep hydrated, you never allow yourself to become thirsty when you're training, as then it's too late. 

Do you use gels or energy drinks?
 
Yes, I do use gels - SIS are my favourite as they are not thick or sticky and do not require any additional water. 
 
Best recovery tip? 

Don’t stop immediately after the marathon, walk for a few minutes to give your muscles time to calm down. Then as soon as you can get a massage, before going home to have a hot bath with Epsom salts. Post-bath put on a pair of compression leggings, then it's time feet up and some food!

Go-to treat post marathon?

A lovely hot bath with loads of bubbles! If my husband can bring me a glass of champagne, even better.

What's your favourite post running snack?

I always have either bananas or crisps (for the salt), followed by a Lucozade.

How long would you recommend waiting after a long race till you run again?
 
A good two to three weeks and start with easy runs before you return to your normal routine.  

Favourite challenge so far?

I loved running the 110km Del Sahara in Tunisia and Comrades Ultra Marathon in South Africa. 

Can you tell us more about your charity work?
 
I am a proud charity ambassador for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. In 2010, my son Jack was diagnosed with life-threatening cancer and the amazing staff at GOSH literally saved his life. Since then, I've been inspired to participate in nearly every single event going for the hospital. I've climbed 893 stairs, given talks on running and organised fundraising events. To this day, I have personally raised so far around about £300,000. 

What’s your guilty pleasure?

My guilty pleasure is a yummy piece of crusty apple pie, which I have every Sunday with a glass of champagne. 

What’s your next challenge?

I am planning several marathons in the next few years. But my next big event will be the World Challenge Event in January 2020, 7 days, 7 Marathons, on 7 Continents.

Feeling inspired? Find out more about Annie here and shop our running essentials before your next run.

 
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