Helen Jenkins is a three-time Olympian, two-time World Champion and a recipient of the prestigious MBE award for services to triathlon. She's earned more ITU World Triathlon Series podium finishes than any other British woman in history. After a three year break, during which she had two children and spinal fusion surgery to address a genetic defect, she is back and looking to pick up where she left off as one of the UK’s most decorated triathletes.
How did you start running? I loved running in school and I was always racing cross country and track, but constantly getting injured from running bends (now I know this was due to my spine). I loved running track but stopped it in 2007 and I really miss it. I was always able to do well at running because of the aerobic fitness carried over from swimming, so I didn’t have to do much specific running to be good.
Why do you run now? I love what I do and being able to train and do sport as a career. I feel privileged. In 2013, when my back was really bad, my husband and I realized that this sport wasn’t just a way we made a living, but what we loved to do, even when we are on holiday, we swim and run most days and ride every few days also.
What was the most important race you’ve run to date? 2016 Gold Coast, this gave me more belief in myself that even with a bit of consistent hard training I can still be the best in the world.
What is your pre-race ritual? I try not to have a ritual. I think if you get fixed on habits pre-race and they don’t go to plan it can affect your mindset going into the race. I just try to do whatever, whenever and turn up to the start line as ready to go as possible.
What do you think about while running? Every run now, I am just grateful I’ve got a second chance and enjoy being out there, improving day by day.
What is your go-to training meal? A big salad with chickpeas, beans and eggs. I’ve started reducing the meat I eat, especially processed meat, but I am still eating fish. And I haven’t completely cut meat while still competing, but I have massively reduced how much I eat.
How do you recover after a tough run? Milk and stretch. I stretch every day and do 30 minutes every night with my foam roller.
What song is your go-to for the run? Bruce Springsteen of some sort. Maybe Wrecking Ball. Or AC/DC.
Who is your “team”? I don’t follow sports very much. My husband and I watch quite a bit of MMA and the UFC. I like Nate and Nick Diaz and the fact they do triathlon and use it for fitness in their own sport. I also like the rivalry between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier, they are both great athletes.
Apart from endurance sports, what is your passion? We love the beach. Any chance we get, we are there in the sea.
What was the best piece of running advice you ever received? Steve Brace is a local international Marathon winner and very humble, passionate, respectful person. He says the hardest part of the run sometimes is putting your shoes on and it’s so true.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to follow in your footsteps? Don’t worry about being good when you are young, no one cares and it really doesn’t matter. The champions are the ones that love what they do and have fun doing it.
Why On? On is unique. The design, the care, the quality of the product is second to none. I don’t see any other product in the market having the quality of On products at the moment.
What’s your favorite On shoe and why? The Cloudflow. It's a great training shoe but also a shoe you can wear traveling or just out and about. It’s a running shoe but I think it looks really nice with almost anything (and makes traveling a lot easier and lighter).
What’s your favorite item of On apparel and why? I’d have to go with the above answer again. The shoes perform superbly, and you can train in them, then put the same pair back on and go for food.