I know, I know… It’s been a while! I’ve been terrible at uploading these interviews but better late than never, hey! I really love this one and I hope you will too… I met the lovely Katie Ferguson at an event a year or so ago and although it was a brief hangout, I would say that we instantly bonded over our love of bikes and all things triathlon. Since then I have pretty much stalked her on social media (I’m in awe of how speedy she is!!). She’s one half of ‘These Girls Do‘ a duo that met through rugby and who aren’t afraid to get muddy in the pursuit of sporting excellence. You should definitely check them out!
A word from our featured athlete…
“Hi! I’m Katie, I’m 27 and currently spend most of my time in SW London. After graduating with a degree in Sports Science & Management, I dabbled in corporate consulting for nearly 4 years but made a pretty big decision to move into sports marketing and couldn’t be happier. I basically get to talk about sport ALL DAY (and get paid for it)
I blog alongside a friend and ex-colleague, Kate at ‘These Girls Do’ which came about because we were literally fed up of the media telling us how we could start being active. Hang on, we’re already active, where’s our support?! I’m always looking for ways to improve my performance and I am very bad at sitting still for a long time.”
1 | Your favourite outdoor space to train in London and why?
I grew up living very close to fields and country lanes, so adjusting to running and cycling in London was a bit of a struggle initially. The Royal Parks are great, but I much prefer it when you can really feel you’ve escaped – think Wimbledon Common and going off the main track in Richmond Park. I don’t want to be dodging traffic lights and cars, so green space. With hopefully not too many tourists for me to ruin their photos of iconic London landmarks.
2 | Your ‘go to’ gym or indoor space to train in? Is it down to the equipment, the staff, the other people who train there?
The Foundry in Kennington/Vauxhall. I started taking City Strongman classes with these guys when they were renting gym/outdoor space under the arches at Vauxhall station, and the transformation they’ve made in the last year is phenomenal. They’ve created an incredible space full of people who work hard, are totally authentic and like throwing heavy things around. Oh, and they also don’t automatically assume you should be lifting any less just because you are a girl.
Other than that, you’ll find me at Virgin Active Barbican mainly because it is a 4 minute walk from the office. My time spent here is highly correlated with whether I have a niggle from running or not.
3 | Not that we need any excuse to take the scenic route but… Of all the awesome running, cycling & walking routes in our fair City, which one gets your heart racing and your fingers and feet itching to lace up or clip in and why? Tell us your point A to point B…
Thames Path south of the river. My old flat was literally ON it so it was super easy to get to. Start at Wandsworth Bridge and head upstream, and well, just follow the path. My favourite bit is once you get past Putney Embankment and it starts to get a bit muddy. Follow it round understand Hammersmith and Barnes Bridges, then come off near Mortlake and head up Sheen Lane to eventually get into Richmond Park. You can then turn right and keep to the outer path and head down to Richmond to either go back onto the river if you’re doing a really long run…or get the train home. If you’re lucky you’ll spot the odd parakeet, and the river on an early summer morning is a real joy, once you dodge the rowers!
4 | Tell us about your current fitness addiction? (Class, sport, gadget etc…)
I’m really enjoying hanging off things at the minute! Bars, ropes, rings – literally anything I can get my hands on! It’s absolutely trashing the skin at the base of my fingers but I was never going to be a hand model anyway…
5 | Do you have a sporting hero or idol and if so, who and why?
I wouldn’t say only one – but certainly a few for whom I have humungous respect – Jo Pavey for continual excellence and not giving up just because she got to 40. Rochelle Clark for surpassing the England rugby caps record AND being the most capped female player ever (plus spending her spare time coaching a male team and continually breaking down the barriers that this comes with) AND to top it off, Chrissie Wellington, just because she is incredible and didn’t let anything stop her ruling the world.
6 | What motivates you to get out there and get a workout done when you’re really not feeling it? Because let’s face it, we all have those days, especially with British weather to contend with!
I used to be super hard on myself for missing a session, but I’ve learnt that realistically, missing one because I’m exhausted from work or I just don’t feel it, is actually better than forcing it. However, there’s a lot to be said on focusing on your end goal and how your specific session will help you get there (whether that’s performance or aesthetic goals). Sometimes it’s just about adjusting to make a session fit with your mood for that day (i.e. do an easy run and save my 800m reps for another day) and 99% of the time I know I’ll feel better afterwards.
7 | Your favourite place in London to fuel + hydrate / refuel + rehydrate before / after a killer session? Any hidden gems?
Not going to lie, I’m a BIG fan of dragging people to brunch – Ben’s Canteen, Café Tamra on Northcote Road and Brickwood in Tooting Market will be way up there on my list! And, although not technically London, but tooooootally cyclable distance (or train to Tring and run there) The Brownlow Café in the Ashridge Estate does THE BEST scones ever.
8 | Who is your favourite training partner and why?
I actually do a lot of training on my own (sad face, but I actually quite enjoy my own company) however, I have a few people to name check…
Number one is my boyfriend. He’s on the road to recovery from some fairly hefty knee operations (that’s rugby for you) so we can’t really train together properly – but we’ve started to have romantic lake swimming sessions followed by cake whilst I have pond water in my hair AND he has had to come and watch me at countless races without complaining. We’ve started doing a lot more strength training now together and he is very handy for spotting and an extra push in a pull up! I reckon he’s going to fake injury for longer so that he doesn’t have to train with me too much…
When I’m outside of London and back home, my friend Dave can always be relied on for a run or bike ride. He’s my current duathlon buddy – we’re pretty much neck and neck from a race perspective and I *just* keep beating him but it isn’t going to stay that way for long and we’re both uber competitive but he keeps me on my toes.
Finally, there are a ton of people at Clapham Chasers who are a fabulous bunch, plus also my parents. They are officially 100% mental and I know where I’ve got it from. Rang them this morning and got “just in the kitchen, the trails are super muddy and I have loads of scratches because I didn’t quite unclip in time and ended up in nettles and brambles” – that’s my mum for you.
9 | No matter how successful, we are all still a work in progress and it’s SO inspirational to see others striving for greatness in one way or another. We would love it if you could share with us a current fitness or lifestyle goal and tell us a bit about how you are working to achieve that goal? It could even be a previous goal that you set for yourself and subsequently smashed! Put it out there, be proud of your achievement! #humblebrag
I’ve got three on my list for next year. After not quite getting to it this year (15 seconds out!) just from marathon training volume, I want to get my 5k time below 20 minutes. Second is take a stab at age group qualifiers for the sprint duathlon distance. HOWEVER, I’m suffering from a niggly Achilles from now so they are both a bit on the backburner, leading me swiftly onto number 3… Do at least 1 pull up properly (except this has been my goal for about 4 years and I still haven’t done it)
10 | Briefly talk me through your perfect session? From warm up to cool down…
First of all, it has to involve a bit of a run – so maybe a quick loop of Tooting or Clapham Common as a warm up. Then I want to do some fun weights – some big compound movements such as squats and deadlifts, then some rope hangs and chin ups and then move onto some heavy power activities – tyre flips, sled dragging, sandbag carrying and one of my personal favourites, hitting a tyre with a hammer. After I’ve collapsed to the floor, I want someone to stretch me whilst I lie down so that I don’t have to put too much more effort into it!
11 | What is one piece of advice would you give to an athlete who is new to London?
You can’t do everything at once! Moving to London means you have so much right on your doorstep – gyms, studios, velodromes, netball teams, cycling clubs….the list is endless. It’s the same as you’ll find with anything else living in London – restaurants, friends, bars etc. You need to take a reality check and understand that you can’t do everything at once. Break things into stages to have mini-obsessions and try not to be a child in a sweetshop – you’ll just disappoint yourself when you can’t keep up forever!
12 | What is your favourite genre of music or artist to listen to during your workouts?
A combination of One Direction, Taylor Swift, David Guetta and Pitbull – incredibly mainstream but sorry, I ain’t sorry.
13 | Finally and most importantly… How do you ‘ Break The Loop ’, what does the phrase mean to you?
Do something different, switch it up and don’t worry about what other people think – I literally don’t give two hoots if I’m the only girl in the weights section or I’ve got bruises from playing rugby. Luckily, times are changing and the stereotypes are breaking down but there are still SO many people who are stuck in the dark ages – Let them do them and you do you. I had a day off the other day and you know what, I cycled to Brighton. And when people asked what I was going to do, I told them. Why should cycling to Brighton be anything I should be worried that people think is a crazy thing to do on their day off? I don’t judge people if they want to spend their days off shopping or watching Netflix or whatever, so we need to all stop apologizing for choosing what we want to do!
We’ve loved having you, Katie! If you want to learn more about these badass ladies you can find them here, and here.
If you want to check out any others in our ‘My London’ series click here, here, here, or here.