“As long as you keep your head, your body will just follow,”
wise words indeed and true to a fault when it comes to endurance racing.
For Natalie Lawrence, who has represented Great Britain as an elite athlete and still trains daily – juggling her family commitments as a mum of four children all under the age of six in the process – pushing the aerobic energy bank to its maximum is, it’s fair to say, simply routine.
Dixons Carphone Race to the Stones 2021
Fresh from her superb recent triumph in the Threshold Trail Series’ Race to the Stones 50km event last month – which was the first time the fitness fanatic had run over the full distance of a marathon (42.195km) – Natalie’s ethos truly shone right through in abundance, helping her all the way to becoming the first female over the finish line by a considerable margin.
Conquering one of Britain’s oldest paths, the Ridgeway, over the multi-terrain course is one of the most challenging segments of the popular series for endurance addicts, of which Profeet is a main partner – and certainly no mean feat even for the most accomplished of runners.
It’s perhaps just as well then that Natalie can draw on the reserves of steel-like stamina which has formed the bedrock of past glories on the European and World stage across swim, run and bike disciplines.
[ Photo: A young Natalie representing Team GB ]
I wasn’t focused on the mileage but, equally, it was a long day and deep down the competitive instinct in me probably wanted a little bit of something to show for my efforts at the end of the race,” added Natalie, who runs NL Fitness – combining personal training, nutritional expertise, deep tissue sports massage and much more.
I also had the extra motivation that my friends Dan, Michael and Joe were running the 100km race for young George – it was very much their day but I knew that whatever pain I was feeling was nothing to what George is going through. That served as an inspiration as well.”
Even when I finished, I literally thought that I’d crossed the finish line as the second female – I didn’t actually know that I’d won by something like 16 minutes,” she said with a wry smile, recalling her recent race experience.
During the event, I really went into tunnel vision mode – especially in regards to pacing – and the fact I didn’t really have any expectations, aside from finishing, made it a different experience when compared to the pressure I might have put on myself in the past.
Juggling family life with training
So, the obvious question is, how on earth does Natalie negotiate family life, training and her day-to-day work with such verve?
It’s all really down to time management. When you’ve not got the luxury of loads of time, it’s amazing how you really have to make time work. Getting into a good routine is really important.
Myself and my husband have always had an agreement in place that we still want to be able to do things, like racing, and not let it impact family life. The hope was always that our kids would come along to watch, feel inspired and do something on their own one day.
You’re spoilt as an elite athlete (with the spare time that you have) but now I’ve got less time and it’s a case of managing and balancing work and life priorities, being clever to fit in training wherever I can.”
Overcoming niggling injuries
Accompanying Natalie throughout her 50km win in Oxfordshire were specially-designed custom made insoles, by Profeet, in her footwear.
Our ambassador believes that she has “not looked back” since linking up with Profeet and has addressed several niggling foot injuries which have lasted over the course of several years, hampering both performance and all-round training enjoyment.
I certainly wouldn’t go anywhere else,” Natalie said. “It has been great working with the brand and I’ve encourage people who I know and coach to come down to the shop in Fulham and make sure that they’re looking at getting some analysis done, for that truly custom fit and feel.
They’re such a good service and always on the ball with everything. You literally see the custom insoles getting made in-store and I think that’s quite a unique thing, a really intimate service. In the past, I would’ve sent my measurements away and not had that tailored and personal experience.
For any athlete, it’s a great feeling to be part of the process right from the word go and see it through right until the end.”