I'm a Runner: Isobel Lang

The Sky News weather presenter, 42, on how two British legends got her hooked on running



by Adrian Monti

Isobel Lang

I wasn’t into running at school, I only started in my late 20s. I’d never been on a running track either until a few years ago, so everything still seems really new and exciting. I love learning the science behind running – like what intervals, tempos and long runs actually do.

When I worked for the BBC, I met Brendan Foster and John Motson, and they told me how brilliant the Great North Run [GNR] was. It really inspired me so I got a team from our weather department together and ran it for the first time in 1996. The experience was amazing; I was hooked from then on.

I decided I wanted to get regular running into my life after that. I’ve now done the GNR 10 times. I actually got one of my best times for it shortly after having my two children, and this gave me a fresh appetite for running again.

I’m a true weather girl so I always check what’s happening before I go out. I like those really wet days where you can splash through puddles and get soaked.

I asked Cancer Research UK if I  could run the London Marathon for them in 2009. My dad was fighting throat cancer at the time – which he    beat – so I wanted to support them.

I loved all the hard training. I did long runs with the Gade Valley Harriers, which took me on new routes with new people – and with lots of Jelly Babies! It prepared me for the big day.

I like running with someone. I’m an emotional runner and find a friendly face helps if I’m having a bad spell.

I’ve picked up my fair share of injuries. I’ve had an excruciating ITB [iliotibial band] problem, plantar fasciitis and achilles strains, among others. I’ve listened to my physio, and now stretch far more. Using a foam roller, sitting on a tennis ball and doing two sessions of yoga a week have also helped a lot.

In my first marathon in 2009, I was feeling fine up until mile 22. But almost as soon as I’d thought how well I was doing, I hit a huge dip. I finished in 4:27, but bettered it with 4:17 at the VLM this year. Once you’ve completed a marathon you feel you’ve gained membership to an exclusive club.

I’ve always worked odd shifts with my job. At the moment, I’m up at 4am. At first I didn’t think I could fit running into my life, but I’ve found a way and can usually squeeze a decent run in before picking my children up from school.

I enjoy going through gorgeous countryside and past beautiful houses. I thrive on the experiences running brings, rather than chasing PBs.

The most beautiful running experience I’ve ever had was doing the Northumberland Coastal Run four years ago. It’s 14 miles along the shore, and it’s simply stunning.

Someone once said to me I’ll never feel worse after going for a run, only better. I believe that. Even on days when I really have to force myself to get out, I never regret it.

Something filling like a baked potato with cheese or a big bowl of soup. And after a long run, I feel I’ve certainly earned some cake to go with my cuppa.

Isobel supports Cancer Research UK. To find out how you can help, visit cancerresearchuk.org/sportchallenges


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