The world 10,000m medallist successfully juggles family life with her long and successful athletics career and here she shares her experience and advice

Jo Pavey won her first major title at the age of 40 and just 11 months after the birth of her second child. Five years later the 2014 European 10,000m champion and 2007 world bronze medallist continues to balance her successful athletics career with family life and has no plans to hang up her spikes any time soon.

As she told a packed and enthralled crowd at the recent National Running Show in Birmingham, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics – which would be Pavey’s sixth consecutive Games – is a big goal and here the 45-year-old tells Jessica Whittington about her experiences, as well as providing some advice for when it comes to maintaining motivation and a positive athletics-life balance.

Maintaining motivation

Enjoy it
I think the main thing is to make sure you make your running enjoyable – that’s what keeps me going. I love running in beautiful locations and the fact that we can be active as a family. I think it’s fun to show the kids that it’s enjoyable to be active.

Have an aim
Having goals to aim for. If you set yourself a goal it gives you a reason to get out the door. It’s nice to set goals.

Look after your body
Make sure you get a massage when you need it and don’t be afraid to take a day off. Be flexible with your training – think about which sessions are the priority and make sure you get those done.

Make it fun
Enjoy doing what you love by finding ways to make it fun for yourself.


If you’ve got a busy life, whether it’s family or work commitments, have a training plan but a flexible plan. I often find myself down the track a few hours later than I originally planned but that’s fine, I still get it done.

Think about the priority sessions and fit them in. Don’t be beating yourself up if you can’t always do what you need to do but, at the same time, grab opportunities while they are there. Have your kit in the car or have stuff there when you’re on a family day out – you might be able to nip off for a quick run or involve the whole family in being active and grab a run that way.

Keep it consistent. You don’t want to think ‘oh I’m far too busy this week, I won’t do anything’. Even if you can nip out of the office for 20 minutes if you’re at work. Just keep it consistent and then when you do have time you’ll really reap the rewards.

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