Sophie Carter running marathon

Sophie discovered that running is something that comes naturally to her and used it to help her get through tough times in her life. She talks to Sundried about life as a PT and ultra runner.

Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?

I remember running as a child and loving it. I always did well at school sports days and being active was something that I loved; it was just ‘me’. However, I didn’t think I was any good and I was never encouraged. I don’t agree in pushing children to do something, but if they are good at it they should be encouraged. I can see that my daughter has a natural ability to run and she enjoys it. I would love to see her do some more races but she only likes doing them with me. Do I regret not taking running seriously when I was younger? No, that was my life back then and I always knew deep down my dream was to be a runner and to run for my country and I was inspired by Olympians as a child. I wrote this when I was about 8 years old.

Sophie Carter triathlete triathlon athlete

I didn’t really run seriously and compete in my first marathon until I was 25. I trained by just increasing the duration of my runs each week, I ran in a jumper, and I had no idea how to pace myself. I thought I was going to die and was scared of how I would cope with running a marathon. I ended up finishing in 3 hours 21 and it was then that I realised I was naturally good at running. I was then brave enough to join a local running club and was encouraged to run in other races. I loved travelling to different races, doing well and meeting new people; all things I didn’t know existed. I suddenly felt I belonged. Since then I have had two children and run better and farther than ever.

What are your training goals now?

I had a really good year in 2015 with running some of my best times. In 2016 I lost my mum to cancer and my marriage came to an end; two traumatic events despite both in the end being for the best. To deal with my anxiety and loss, I decided to try running all day and ran a 100km race. It turned out I had good endurance in ultra running.

ultra running marathon trail race

I am building myself back up to run faster times and enjoy my running again and recently was selected to run for England in the Anglo Celtic plate where I will try hard to get a place on the GB team. The main thing that drives me is my pure passion for running. 

Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you:

I once did a tandem parachute jump!

What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

It's not so much advice but I wish I had had more self belief. I have no regrets and I am where I am as a result of the path I have taken. I don’t look back and think I wish I'd been given certain advice as I probably wouldn't have listened!

Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?

I don’t. Because of my running and job as a personal trainer, I generally graze a lot as I’m on the go and can’t manage large meals.

I love green leafy vegetables as they help reduce the free radical damage caused by exercise and lactic acid from hard training. I try to eat proteins and healthy fats and just generally have a balanced diet. I think it's very important to listen to your body. I don’t overindulge. During long races I have had to learn what my body can tolerate and what gels to take and what solid food and drinks I can manage. I do believe everyone has to find what works best for them.

What do you do to keep your clients motivated? Do you have any top tips to keep motivated?

I regularly change their workouts and try to keep them varied. It's important to keep their sessions fun and to educate them that it's all about having a healthy lifestyle sustainable for life. So motivational tools will be to educate them that this is something that will benefit their life and ability to live a longer healthier life and run around after their children and to have the mental benefits of getting out and exercising.

  1. Set a goal
  2. Enjoy what you do if you enjoy it you will want to do it
  3. Believe you can do it
  4. Do not compare yourself to others
  5. Try not to overthink if something doesn’t go to plan just see it as part of the journey and keep going