Tips for women on the trails: Introducing Jasmin Paris

Trail running tips for women is series of articles sponsored by ATRA corporate member inov-8.  This month we introduce record-breaking runner Jasmin Paris, who is supported by trail running brand inov-8. She, and other inov-8 ambassadors, will provide tips for women on the trails on our Trail News section throughout 2017.

2016 was a real breakthrough year for UK runner and inov-8 ambassador Jasmin Paris. The 33-year-old set new women’s record times for the UK’s three premier 24-hour running challenges, the Bob Graham Round (England), the Ramsay Round (Scotland) and the Paddy Buckley (Wales). For the Ramsay Round (58-mile, 28,500ft ascent), she also beat the best men’s time, clocking an incredible 16hrs 13mins. Not content with that, Jasmin also raced abroad in 2016, placing sixth woman in her first-ever 100-miler among a stellar field of ultra runners at the UTMB, bagging bronze at the Skyrunning World Championships and winning the Extreme Skyrunning World Series.

In this first installment, Jasmin talks with our Outreach and Partnership Specialist Peter Maksimow about motivational tips. If you have questions for a future installment in this series please email them to Peter Maksimow.

Peter: Sometimes it is just difficult to get out there! We all have days where just getting started is the most difficult part of the run. What motivates you on days like that?

Jasmin: Because I have a full-time job outside of running (I’m a specialist vet, currently doing a PhD), my limiting factor is usually time, not motivation. On the rare occasions when I do struggle to set out, I try to remind myself that I will be (as I always am), glad when I get back, full of running endorphins, pleasantly tired, and with the memory of the hills fresh in my mind.

Peter: If there was one simple but important “Trail Running Tip” you could give us, what would it be?

Jasmin: Make it fun. I think that a large part of my running success comes from the fact that I’m almost always enjoying myself. If you are having fun, you are more likely to stick at it, to weather the tough times, and to push yourself to achieve new things. Try finding a training partner (human or dog), booking an active holiday with friends, or signing up for a race that’s a little bit different.

Peter: Most women have had some sort of encounter with body image issues. What advice would you give other female runners who might not feel they fit the stereotypical mold of a “female runner”?

Jasmin: I’m not sure what the stereotypical mold of a “female runner” is, but I probably don’t fit it. I think I probably enjoy food too much for that! My advice would be to remember that you need to be strong and healthy to run. Be sensible, be balanced, and don’t get obsessed with what you think you should look like – everyone is different, and there is no ideal.

Peter: Who or what keeps you consistent or motivated with your training?

Jasmin: When I am in the hills, I need no additional motivation beyond that of my surroundings and the pleasure of running. This summer I purchased a wet suit to enable me to swim as cross training in the reservoir at the foot of our local hills, which is also a delight. On the rare occasions when I am in the gym, I listen to music.

Peter: Can you name some of your “must have” gear for trail running?

Jasmin: The only “must have” gear has to be shoes. For long distance trail runs, I’d go for inov-8 TrailTalon 275 (which served me beautifully at last year’s UTMB, even after I subjected them to a mid-race swim in Champex Lac!) For more technical/grassy terrain (such as the fell races we have in UK) I’d always choose the inov-8 Mudclaw 300. For an all-round training shoe, I’d recommend the recently re-vamped inov-8 Roclite 305.

Peter: Unfortunately, women have to consider personal safety more than men (running alone, running at night, etc.). Any tips on staying safe? What issues have you run in to?

Jasmin: I’m lucky enough to live in a quiet rural setting, and have no fears about running on my own in the dark on the hills. I lived in a city for a year just after I started running (2008, Minnesota USA), and I used to carry a personal alarm with me when I ran at night. Ideally I would have run with a friend, but I was working relatively unsociable hours, so organizing that on a daily basis would have been tricky.

Jasmin at the 2016 UTMB where she placed 6th woman.

Peter: How do you seek out trails while traveling or on vacation?

Jasmin: If I’m lucky enough to have friends living there, I’ll ask them for suggestions, but usually I just set out running towards the nearest visible hill/mountain. Trails tend to turn up, and it’s fun exploring ‘on the hoof’.

Peter: How do I choose the right sports bra?

Jasmin: Ha ha! I’m definitely not the right person to ask about this… I realize it’s probably rather important, but I only bought my first dedicated sports bra this summer, and I chose it because seemed comfy and was a nice color. It’s done a good job since then though (and some decent mileage).

Peter: Do you go into a race or season with a training plan set out? Do you stick to it or make it flexible?

Jasmin: I’m probably not the right person to ask about this either… I don’t follow a set training plan, and have never been coached. That said, I did adjust my training in the winter of 2015/16 to set myself up for a Bob Graham Round early in the season, by gradually increasing the intensity and distance of my daily hill runs, cross training a few times a week in the gym/pool and occasionally doing a fast flat run around the reservoir at home. We also spent a week abroad in the Sierra Nevada at the start of April, as I’ve always found that hiking at altitude is the best preparation for long mountain races.

Peter: You had a tremendous 2016. What are your running aspirations for 2017?

Jasmin: Agreed, 2016 was incredible, but also quite tough. It’s taken me a few months of rest to get my head back in gear and I’m still working out exactly what I’ll do next. In terms of racing, I definitely want to run some more Skyraces, including Tropheo Kima (although that’s only run every 2 years so will have to wait until 2018). It would also be fantastic to race in a GB vest, so I’ll try for a place on the World Long Distance Mountain Running team, or IAU Trail World Championship team. Having said all of this, I’m well known for keeping my most exciting plans secret, and preferring to do things ‘under the radar,’ so watch this space!

Jasmin on her way to setting a new overall record time for the Ramsay Round (Scotland) in 2016.

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