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Behind the ‘Gram – Double Gold Winner at the European University Games, @Amy_In_Runderland

As if studying for a PHD isn’t brag-worthy enough, the awe-inspiring GB trialled @Amy_in_Runderland is an avid endurance runner in her spare time, and is part of various running clubs.

As if studying for a PHD isn’t brag-worthy enough, the awe-inspiring GB trialled @Amy_in_Runderland is an avid endurance runner in her spare time, and is part of various running clubs.

So to convince me (and therefore you) to give running a chance, we decided to ask her why she loves long-distance so much, what her favourite running routes are in the North East and, of course, her top tips for those interested in pounding the pavement, perhaps for the first time.

How persuasive is she? See for yourselves with her wonderfully motivating words…

Your Instagram makes it seem like running is your life in the most positive of ways. Do you remember what your life was like before running?

I didn’t get the real runners ‘high’ until I was 12 years old and was told I had to do various laps around the rugby field, as part of PE at school. This new ‘high’ feeling that came with longer lengths of running led me to go on to compete in cross country throughout my teenage years.

Then for the first and second years of university, I ended up competing as a lightweight sculler in GB trials and progressed to winning double gold at the European University Games in Croatia. I then had a break during the final year of university, before lacing up my trainers again after graduating, and have since joined a club for endurance running.

Wow, you’ve achieved so much at such a young age! Well done. Has joining a club helped motivate you back into running after a year’s break?

Yes! Whilst I never stopped running, not doing it competitively or as part of a club meant that I ended up running the same 2.7-mile loop solo for weeks on end, and my motivation seriously started to lack. I had to force myself out of the door and didn’t see any real progress.

I needed to switch it up so whilst studying for my PHD, I decided to join the athletics and cross-country team at Newcastle University. Being part of this running club has allowed me to not only feel close the community but of others, too. Due to the North Eastern Harrier league, which is all-inclusive for runners from beginner to elite, I’ve become acquainted with such a positive bunch of people. Everyone shares a mutual desire to not only progress their physical fitness but to help others with theirs, too. It’s the reason I love it so much.

Everyone in the club shares a mutual interest in progressing their physical fitness whilst helping others to do the same, which is why I love it so much. On top of all of this, I am always consistent with my training because I know that my team will be there and it’s always a pleasure to share how my day has gone or hear any new news in the chatty warm-ups and cool-downs.

And although all of our races were put on hold due to the pandemic, it just made me even more grateful to have this hobby and community. Each week, we were given a training plan which meant my days were structured, and there was always something to look forward to. It also helped to relieve stress – which is one of the main reasons I’d recommend people get into running.  

As well as recommending running as a stress-reliever, what would you say to anyone thinking of taking up running (or jogging)?

Firstly, that today is a great day to start! Do you know what the best thing is about running? That all you need is a pair of trainers and to take the first step. The easiest way to start the first jog is to put your kit on and lace up your shoes without overthinking.

Even though the first run may feel like hard work, you will feel amazing when filled with endorphins afterwards. An important point to make is to not put pressure on yourself to go a certain speed or hit a certain distance when starting out. Do what you are able to do on that day and be happy with your achievement, enjoy taking in the new surroundings. You will find amazing places on your doorstep without knowing they existed.

I also cannot recommend joining a local running club enough. Running clubs are a great community that welcome all with open arms and lead to lifelong friendships. Before you know it, you will have beneficial effects that come with the territory including improved self-esteem, less stress, better sleep and improved health!

Photograph by Stuart Whitman

Do you have any recommendations of pretty routes to run within the North East?

There are so many lovely places to run. An all-time favourite of mine for a Sunday long run is from Newburn along the riverbank to Prudhoe and back or a detour up the hills through Close House to Heddon-on-the-wall for a pretty spectacular view.

Other pretty routes more central include along the Quayside, or along the coastline such as along Tynemouth. You could even jog around the Town Moore and Jesmond Dene.

You're also an avid food prepper. Do you have any favourite recipes you'd like to share that would help give some energy pre-run, or as a cheeky treat post-run?

I love to make raw snacks weekly to provide quality recovery and fuel for training. Raw power-balls are a staple in my diet, and I have shared below my most recent recipe for lemon power-truffles coated in a dusting of 85% dark chocolate.

These treats are a perfect snack to eat pre or post session, or even as fuel during a long run.

Photograph by SAW Photography

Recipe

Makes 12 large or 24 small

  • 1 1/2 cup dates
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup pumkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 2tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 2x lemons (juice freshly squeezed)
  • Cacao powder or dark chocolate

Method

  1. Place all dry ingredients apart from the chocolate into the food processor along with the juice of two lemons.
  2. Blitz until the mixture forms one large ball
  3. Roll in to 12 large or 24 small power-balls
  4. Sprinkle cacao powder onto a plate or blitz dark chocolate then sprinkle on to a plate (I used 85% dark chocolate by Green and Blacks, although I love to use cacao powder too)
  5. Roll power-balls in the chocolate and then place into the fridge for whenever a snack calls.

 

Potential swaps that can be made if wanted:

Dates —> dried apricots

Raisins —> any dried vine fruit

Pumpkin seeds —> sunflower seeds

Cashews —> nut of your choice

Chia seeds —> flax seeds

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