Exclusive: Jenni Falconer interview
BY MARK, MENSWEAR, HOME & ELECTRICALS EDITOR ON 8 APR 2013 16:50 SPORT & LEISURECOMMENTS
Creator of the fabulous XPG range, and mum of one, Jenni Falconer tells us about her training for the London marathon and her plans for XPG’s future.
**Unfortunately, Jenni has had to withdraw from the 2013 London marathon due to injury. We wish her a speedy recovery**
The 37-year-old television and radio presenter is undertaking her fourth London marathon on 21 April but how has she found being mum to 18-month-old Ella, the cold weather and 3.45am starts?!
Jenni said: “Every year I’ve done it, it’s thrown up a new challenge. The first time was running 26 miles, which seems ludicrous. The second time was about getting a better time. The third was just after having a child so it was about getting round and seeing if I could burn of any baby fat. And the challenge this time is seeing if i can train while being a full-time mum.
“For me, it’s about getting a good time but I’ve found training to be a lot harder with looking after Ella and there’s been another challenge with the rubbish weather. Training is so difficult and you don’t know what the conditions will be like on the day.”
So as an experienced marathon runner, who better to ask about the best way to prepare for one of the toughest personal challenges on the planet…
Jenni said: “You do have to train, and people who think you can just turn up are very much mistaken because your body simply cannot do it.
“I’ve started doing weights this time, you have no idea how important that can be, as your body carries you when you begin to feel tired. Diet is also important; from 1 April my diet will be very strict. I’ll be cutting out alcohol and drinking as much water as possible.
“On the day I’ll take a gel every 10km and drink water as often as they give it. And make sure you have the right kit. The last thing you want is friction burns and make sure you run in the same kit before.
“Of course that goes for anything you run in, including trainers. I’d also go for Vaseline on your feet and make sure your numbers are pinned on properly.”
But with the poor recent UK weather, how has Jenni’s training been affected?
She said: “Training has been very difficult for two reasons. The first is that because of the cold weather I’ve found out i exercise-induced asthma (because of the cold weather I found it difficult to breathe.)
“And most of my training has been on a treadmill because of this. I hope that will help me as I’ve probably been running faster than i would do outside!
“When you are training you find you get tired. I’ve just started a radio show and on a Sunday people are generally preparing to do a long run. Instead, I’m up at 3.45am and I finish work just after 8am so I should go on my run but it’s so hard.
“The [training] plan I had has gone out of the window because of lots of things but it’s all good. My longest run in advance of the race will be about three weeks before – around three hours, but I will do some runs after that.
“Also I may have fractured my shin bone, so that needs rest but at least the long run is out of the way.”
But after the London marathon has been safely negotiated, Jenni’s focus will return to her XPG sportswear range.
Is the range becoming everything she wanted?
She continued: “Those little things that I’ve always wanted like pockets for house keys have been included because Debenhams listened. So now I have places to put my keys, my Oyster card and my earphones.
“I like quite simple sportswear. The big brands have cool looking bright yellow gear but not necessarily for every shape and size. But XPG has achieved something that’s flattering but also practical.”
Another advantage the XPG range has is that Jenni runs in the clothing herself and knows the kind of punishment it can handle.
She said: “I did the Great North Run in XPG kit. So you can actually run in it. It’s not just a fashion range, it proves that it’s good stuff and I’ve had some really nice feedback. I wear it to go to the gym, yoga and running.
“I can stand up and say that it works for all these sports and activities.”
So what does the future hold for XPG?
She continued: “We’ve got a couple of brilliant jackets and we may look to another lightweight jacket. And after taking part in the television show Splash! I didn’t think I’d be able to find nice, good, cool swimwear – so XPG could expand there.
“We haven’t got a huge collection, it’s not over-complicated and there’s no pointless extras. We’re still in early days but they are so many things that can be done.
Jenni concluded: “We’re expanding into more and more stores. We started 18 months ago. Initially it was only in a few stores but my aim is to be in every Debenhams store and making more people aware of the brand.
“More and more people are doing sport and i want people to come to XPG because it’s affordable clothing and it’s kit you can use, you can train and run in it because it will last.
“When you come to XPG you get value for money and you get what you need.”
When an attitude like that don’t bet against Jenni completing more marathons and XPG becoming a huge success.
Good luck Jenni!