011: Jo Meek on ultra-endurance

In this episode I talk to Jo Meek, aka the “Running Squirrel”. Jo is one of the world’s leading ultra-endurance runners. In 2013 Jo was 2nd woman across the line in the Marathon de Sables. In 2014 Jo was first in the Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica (a 225km run which she completed in 29h 17mins, 19s; 5th in Comrades marathon; 4th in the World 100km Champs.
Jo has a 10km time of 34:36; a marathon time of 2:46; and a 100km time of 7hr 43mins. Jo offers a unique insight into managing training, discomfort of training and how she reframes challenge into a positive.

2:22 The origins of the nickname “Running Squirrel”
5:02 Unconventional entrance to sport. Sport as a key to join in and be cool! Road running and now running on Dartmoor
7:10 English cross-country champion, road racing and marathon and then ultra-marathon
11:37 Mental resolve, persistence and hard work. Mental resolve is innate for Jo
13:15 Sport Science top tips
15:35 Make running your routine
16:30 The pros and cons of becoming a full-time athlete
19:27 What moderates Jo’s training?
23:00 The army, frontline action in Iraq for 4-5 months
26:26 The army taught Jo the importance of looking after yourself
27:41 Endurance background to ultra and the Marathon de Sables
29:50 Highest British female finisher in the Marathon de Sables!
30:44 Variety of races, UTMB 170km around Mont Blanc, France, Switzerland & Italy
32:47 Tuning training to the event. UTMB training marathon training, long run becomes 3-4 hours and back to back long runs
35:30 Training schedule, daily routine
38:40 Managing winter training and darkness
41:20 Mental resilience, anticipation of problems to stay positive for the race planning…control the controllables
45:30 Ultra-running is easier than marathon running!!!!!!
47:35 The next challenge…Western States Endurance Run?
51:30 Jo’s top tips for ultra-training, consistency with training, fuelling and enjoy it!

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Dr Steve Ingham is one of the UK’s leading figures in sport and one of the world’s leading performance scientists. He is steeped in high performance and has been integral to the development of Britain into an Olympic superpower. He has provided support to over 1000 athletes, of which over 200 have achieved World or Olympic medal success, including some of the world’s greatest athletes such as Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent. Steve has coached Kelly Sotherton's running for heptathlon and to 4x400m Olympic medal winning success. Steve has worked at the English Sports Council British Olympic Association, English Institute of Sport, where Steve was the Director of Science and Technical Development, leading a team of 200 scientists in support of Team GB and Paralympics GB. Ingham holds a BSc, PhD and is a Fellow of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. Steve is author of the best selling ‘How to Support a Champion: The art of applying science to the elite athlete’, discussing and inspiring the importance of learning and adapting to reach our maximum potential. Steve established Supporting Champions with the ambition of helping ambitious people to find a better way of creating high-performance. Steve hosts the Supporting Champions Podcast on sharing his pursuit of understanding and exploration in performance.

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