Top marathon tips from fashion editor Avril Mair

Avril Mair is the epitome of the run like ‘elle ideal - a fashion industry expert who is interested in, and excels at running – and it seems, anything else she sets her mind to. 

A revered fashion editor and writer for Elle magazine, ex editor of i-D magazine, contributing writer to numerous publications including Vogue Japan and the Telegraph, author of Fashion Now (Taschen), and to top it all off a consultant at Chanel. She is a regular guest at the shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris, and her Tweets (@avrilmair) kept me amused throughout fashion month. 

Avril and I are lucky enough to have been trained by Brian Cochrane aka Nike Master Trainer aka The Tyrant. Brian helped Avril prepare for the San Francisco Marathon in just 13 weeks last year, and I’ve upped the ante this year by attempting to become marathon ready in just 11 weeks. 

I read Avril’s account of marathon training in April’s edition of Elle magazine and it was honestly like reading my own thoughts - the denial, the fear and eventually the enthusiasm. Having heard so much about her, I knew I had a million more questions I wanted to ask her – but I restrained myself, so here are just a few of them...

Name: Avril Mair
Home: Scottish (but have lived in London for 15 years)
Career: Associate Editor, Elle magazine. Editor, Elle Collections. Columnist. Beauty Extremist, Elle magazine. Consultant, Chanel. Writer

How did you get into running? I’d always run a bit, but half-heartedly. My husband is a competitive cyclist and I felt guilty that I didn’t exercise more. Somehow I got into it – living near the Thames in London has helped lots, it is a beautiful place to be at 6am. Also, when you travel as much as I do, running is the perfect exercise to take up – you can do it wherever you are. It is freedom, really. Once I started, I felt as though someone had given me wings. Now I’ve run in LA, NYC, Delhi, Paris, Berlin, Shanghai… I don’t always enjoy it, but it is what I do, regardless. I don’t do it as often as I’d like though

What made you decide to run the San Francisco Marathon 2010? Nike asked me…! (I now love Nike)

What was your marathon time? 4 hours 30

Can you tell us a bit about your marathon experience? Could have gone faster. Will next time, but those San Francisco hills are fearsome – it was a hard marathon for a debut

Who is your marathon inspiration? Paula Radcliffe, of course. She sent me a note the night before. Also, she has a glass of two of red wine the night before. I did that too

What is your marathon mantra? What’s stopping you? Nothing. Get on with it

What was your trick to integrating your training into your already busy schedule?
Get up early. I mean, earlier. Often 5am. Also, I’d squeeze in half and hour of interval training in the gym next door to our office instead of lunch

What did you tell yourself to beat the wall? If you ever hit it! I didn’t, but I never had a second’s doubt that I would do it

Can you name your top three tracks on your marathon playlist? I run without music – it’s a chance to think, to clear my mind, to forget about work and just blank everything out. Oddly, it’s also a great time to think about writing

What is your pre race ritual? Black coffee. Can’t run without it.

What are your kit bag staples? Nike Capri pants, Nike white vest, Shock Absorber bra, Hilly socks, Blax hair bands, Clarins sunscreen, Chanel lip hydrator, Chanel black eyeliner, JellyBelly sports beans in watermelon

What is your marathon top training tip? You can run, and run well, without letting running take over your life. I have a ridiculous schedule but I managed it. I didn’t work less, drink less, go out less… I just made it work. Really, there isn’t an excuse

What did you learn about yourself from running the marathon? Whatever you think you can do, you can do more.

And I thought Paula Radcliffe was motivated! Thank you so much for your answers Avril, you're a real inspriation, both in work and play.

To read a full account of Avril's marathon experience pick up a copy of April's Elle magazine.