Nikki Love

Adventure Runner

In five years’ time, I will be:

Running across, around or through another country sharing the joy of running, the amazing feeling of accomplishment and the joy of loving ourselves, each other and this planet.

Career highlights:

  • Completing 63 marathons in 63 days throughout the UK.

What does your standard training week involve?

I run most days. I’ve got a dog who wants to run every day, and I just can’t say no to that little face. My short runs are 5 kilometres, my long runs are 15-20 kilometres, I try and do either an interval or tempo run once per week and as I get closer to my adventure start date I do double runs per day. I finish my runs with bodyweight exercises – sideways leg movements, upper body and core exercises.

Where is your favourite place to train?

I love running through woods, the noise of the wind moving through the trees, the birds and animals scurrying about. There’s a Japanese phrase Shinrin-yoku which means "taking in the forest atmosphere" or "forest bathing." It was developed in Japan during the 1980s for preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. Running through woods is definitely an integral part of my physical and mental wellbeing.

What is your favourite race?

I know I’m a bit of an odd athlete, I don’t train to race so I don’t enter many. However, the two races I’ve completed out of the series organised by Beyond the Ultimate – the JungleUltra and the DesertUltra have been the hardest, most breathtakingly stunning events I’ve done. There’s a couple more of their races that are on my bucket list.

What are your top 3 Kymira Sport garments?
When do you use them and why?

Training Leggings

My favourite KYMIRA garment is my Training Leggings. I mainly use these during a weights session to keep my leg muscles warm and regulate my body temperature. Their comfortable and flexible fit allows maximal range of movement for lifting and the infrared technology optimises my energy expenditure during a strenuous session. I also tend to put my leggings on immediately after a race or training piece, utilising their compression component to assist with recovery and removing exercise by-products from my legs post-race. 

Infrared Ankle Socks

I always race in my KYMIRA infrared ankle socks. Partly because they have become my latest “lucky socks”, but also because I love the fit of the higher ankle and supportive arch material, meaning they don’t slide down or cause friction when I’m rowing. 

PrO2 Cycle Jersey

Another garment I really like is the PrO2 Cycle Jersey. I love to go cycling as extra cross-training and this jersey has a comfortable fit and allows you to be easily seen. The breathable fabric, alongside the infrared technology, means it’s great for warm summer rides as well as over the top of the infrared long sleeve in the winter.  

What is your favourite training accessory?

This is most definitely my dog and coach, Rufus. She is a Sprocker Spaniel, who simply loves running adventures and getting as muddy, dirty and wet as me.  

What has been the toughest experience in your career and what did you learn from it?

I’ve been through a lot of tough experiences – it’s definitely a part of running long.

I’ve had two most influential turning points. The first was attempting my first marathon in 2001. I gave up at the 19 mile mark – I thought I had nothing left to give. I went home and vowed that this was not the way I wanted my marathon story to end, so I entered another marathon, trained and completed it.

The second was the JungleUltra – I had never been so scared and exhilarated at the same time. I spent 5 days, 230kms running through a jungle for the majority of it on my own carrying everything I needed to survive on my back and I got through it.

Through both of these experiences, I learned that I was in control of my body, my mind, my intentions, my direction and the definition of my success.

What is the most common training mistake you see? Any suggestions on how to avoid it?

As a sports massage therapist, I’ve seen many, many people with aches, pains and injuries. The most common cause is pushing too hard, too far, too fast. Aerobic conditioning improves faster than the body (muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones) takes to adapt to training. Take your time to build a strong body.

Poor technique through poor posture also tends to cause injuries, aches and pains so I always look at posture and pattern of movement and prescribe remedial exercises to help improve and hopefully reduce injuries and time out from training.

What motivates you to train and race harder?

My goal is to see what I’m capable of and along the way encourage, inspire and help others to be active and hopefully fall in love with running as a means for physical and mental health. I speak at primary schools, running clubs and corporate events about my running adventures and then invite everyone to come and join me – this keeps me motivated to keep running adventures, pushing myself further, share my adventures and then watch and cheer as others follow and achieve their own extraordinary goals.

Describe your diet/meal plan leading up to a big race:

I try to eat healthy all year round. As a 50-something woman heading into the peri-menopausal phase, I’m probably even more aware of what I’m putting into my body as my hormones are changing. I’m consciously trying to get in more flaxseed, hemp, avocados, nuts and dark green veggies in to curb the drop of oestrogen (and increased mood swings).

During my adventure runs I burn a lot of calories 4000-6000 calories per day – running between 40-60kms a day for 1-2 months is pretty gruelling - so high calorie junky food creeps into the diet too. Love me some cake, ice-cream, chocolate and burger on a run.

What type of nutritional supplement do you find most helpful?

Electrolyte supplements are my best friend at the moment. With hot flushes on top of usual running sweat I’ve found that I’m losing a lot of body salts that I need to supplement.

What is the best thing about being an athlete?

This is the lifestyle that I chose. Knowing that it has been my decision and it is my hard work that has got me to where I am is a very powerful experience. Then being able to share my adventures and help others achieve their own extraordinary. That is a blessing.

What is the worst thing about being an athlete?

Not a thing.