How does a top runner spend the Christmas break? Is it a well earned rest with their feet up or is it training as normal?

Jenny Nesbitt had a year to remember running personal bests over 3000m to 10,000m on the track and road bests from 3k to 10k.

The 23 year-old competed for Wales at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April and the inaugural Commonwealth half marathon in October.

May was also a big month for the young distance runner. She won bronze over 5000m at the BUCS Championships before representing Great Britain at the European 10,000m Cup, which was incorporated into the Highgate Harriers Night of 10,000m PBs.

Now at the end of the year, will the Worcester athlete enjoy a well earned break over Christmas? Fast Running caught up with Nesbitt to find out.

Fast Running: Will you train on Christmas Day?

Jenny Nesbitt: Christmas Day falls on a Tuesday this year. From looking at my current schedule, it looks like I have 7×4 mins with two minutes off ‘float’ (aka still fast) recovery.

My family live in North Wales (literally as far as you can go before you hit Anglesey), so I will be getting up at the crack of dawn to get my training done before we drive there. I guess I’ll be feeling pretty smug come lunchtime (or shattered and wanting a lie down).

FR: What about Boxing Day?

JN: I will certainly be getting up and out on Boxing Day. It is my favourite morning to go running, especially as I can run along the coast.

Since it is on a Wednesday I have 12 miles easy, so it will be nice to get it done before spending some time with my family.

FR: Have you ever run a race over the Christmas period?

JN: I have never actually run a race over the Christmas period, but I have done a Boxing Day parkrun. It was the most horrific weather, knee deep in water and freezing cold. But so much fun.

It was the first time I managed to get my mum to come along too, so it felt like quite a special achievement!

FR: What is the best running related present you have received at Christmas?

JN: I have received a lot of running related presents over the years (very imaginative of my parents!), but I think the best gift I received was many years ago.

Described as a ‘stocking filler’ by my dad – but a torture tool by myself – my first foam roller was possibly the best present I received.

I had never considered post run recovery as a part of training before I got one, so I reckon this present saved me a lot of tight muscles and potential niggles – I’d take less missed days off running due to injury as a pretty good present!

Of course, there are socks too – you can never have too many socks.

FR: What is your favourite childhood memory of Christmas?

JN: I don’t know if I can class this as my favourite childhood memory, but I clearly remember as a child never being allowed to open ANY presents until after lunch. It was literally the most torturous thing as a little kid.

I’d sit by the tree all morning, picking up every single present that had my name on, shaking it, weighing it and pressing it, and doing everything I could to guess what they were. I guess my parents were trying to teach me to be patient. I’m still learning how to achieve this.

FR: Do you have a funny Christmas memory that stands out?

JN: There is one moment that really sticks out to me. My parents had recently divorced and it was our first Christmas with our dad. He was trying to make a big effort and cooking Christmas lunch (and he CAN NOT COOK).

All I remember is my dad walking into the house after going to the butchers, slamming down a Christmas ham on the worktop and getting out a carving knife. He began to carve the ham, cutting it up and taking a slice to eat. He kind of chewed on it, nodded his head, and stated how amazingly delicious it was.

It wasn’t until I mentioned to him that it needed to be cooked in the oven for a number of hours did he turn to me and say ‘I wondered why it tasted a little funny’. It is something I will never forget!

FR: Who are you spending Christmas 2018 with?

JN: I am spending Christmas this year with my mum, brother, granny and grandad, aunty and uncle. That is the extent of my mum’s side of the family, and we rarely get to spend time together, so it will be nice to spend some quality time with everyone for a couple of days.

FR: What is your favourite food at Christmas?

JN: Chocolate Yule Log. Hands down THE BEST food at Christmas. I have a massively sweet tooth and if I had the choice I would easily consume a whole one to myself over the space of a few days.

The more chocolate the better. For a more savoury option, I love Christmas ham (when fully cooked).

FR: Will you be doing the cooking?

JN: I don’t think I will be allowed anywhere near the kitchen to cook. My gran is cooking lunch this year and will want to have full control.

Although I don’t mind being the taste tester for any form of dessert. Or if the washing machine is full, I can certainly help cleaning the cake bowls.

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