Charlie Cooke is a lover of running and being in the great outdoors. Taking up running as a lifestyle change in 2016, she has since run 4 marathons and 4 ultra marathons, including completing the entire Threshold Trail Series in 2018. Charlie balances running adventures around looking after her two young children, and working as an illustrator and designer.
Why did you first decide to sign up for the Threshold Trail Series?
It was 2016 and I had yet to complete a marathon distance, having missed out on the London Marathon ballot (for the 100th time). I had been running solidly for 5 months and over the summer, someone I followed on Instagram had just completed ‘Dixons Carphone Race to the Stones’ – also having never run a marathon. I knew it was a challenge I wanted for myself so I signed up.
What is it that makes you decide to keep coming back?
I’ve now run the Stones twice, and Tower and King once each. I plan on tackling all three again in 2019. The first time I ran the Stones, I had no clue what I was doing. I followed a plan loosely as I struggled massively with being injured and out of shape for most of 2017. 2018 was a redemption and I felt strong and took on all three, but still did it leisurely and just for the fun of being with friends. Next year I will still aim for it to be about high enjoyment, but will also be about seeing how quick I can go, as I haven’t tried pushing my pace on any of them yet, so it will be interesting!
These ultras are super friendly – it feels like coming back to a family, they’re so well supported with aid stations stacked with all you could need, wonderful medical staff and the routes are absolutely stunning.
What does a regular training week look like for you?
When I’m in full flow of training, I will be out 4-5 times a week running, with some sort of strength tacked on in there. I also try to remember to do my stretches and foam rolling – recovery is so important, especially when taking on such a big event like these.
How do you fit in your training with the rest of your life commitments?
It can be difficult – I have a 5 and a 7 year old and they have their own requirements of me! So I have to be cautious to not let training overtake my responsibility as their mum, as that is my highest priority. Saying that, I hardly have to compromise as my husband and I have a good system for when I’m in a training block, mainly down to him being incredibly supportive and helpful with our kids.
How do you keep yourself motivated when you are training?
Again it can be tricky – especially if you’re training over the winter months and it gets harder to be motivated in the rain, wind and even snow! I try to keep my goals in mind – that the real work is done in the training and any race is just the victory lap to show off your training efforts. Sometimes I feel badass going out in a hailing storm and other times I’ll sack it off! But that’s ok too. Be kind to yourself and don’t run yourself into the ground for it. No-one wants that. Switch up your sessions and distances too to keep things interesting. Also music helps!
What would be your advice to someone who has just signed up to the event?
Gather as much info about it as possible. Find other people or groups on social media and pick their brains. Get your kit sorted and PRACTICE with it and work out how you will fuel your race. I like to use tailwind in my water for my carbs and electrolytes and then I will snack at the aid stations too. KP salted peanuts were life for me this year! Get a training plan downloaded (the threshold plans are pretty brill) and follow it. Grab some friends, or even follow a hashtag, find who has signed up and introduce yourself. You’ll be surprised what great friendships you can make over 100km.