Training with the Asics Pro Team

I enter the plush surroundings of Nuffield Fitness and Wellbeing Centre in Paddington and go up to the receptionist. ‘Er, hello. I’m here for, um, it’s an Asics thing I think, I’m not sure…’ and I’m not sure what I’m doing here. I was invited to come along and get some advice from Sarah Connors, a physio, and Nicki Waterman, a celebrity trainer, who are also both members of the Asics Pro Team. I’ve been invited down as ‘the media’ and I feel like a fraud.

Luckily, after sort of explaining what I’m sort of here for, the nice lady on reception doesn’t tell me to get out but takes me over to a seating area where a fit-looking woman with a dark brown bob wearing Asics kit is sitting down. She stands up and says ‘Hello, I’m Sarah’ and shakes my hand. I tell her my name and she says ‘Are you the press?’

I say ‘Er, I’ve got a blog.’ I feel like a fake again. I hope other ‘media’ come along, so the responsibility of coverage for whatever it is I’m supposed to be covering doesn’t fall solely to me.

Sarah looks up at a sound similar to someone pulling a wheeled-suitcase down the spiral staircase. She calls out ‘Do you need a hand, Nicki?’ Nicki appears from round the corner. She’s tiny, pretty, blonde and very tanned. But she’s not pulling a wheeled-suitcase behind her – she’s on crutches. She’d fallen down a manhole whilst out running back in January. Sarah also has an injury caused by ski-ing. Who says exercise is good for you?

The PR people (Gill and Rae) turn up carrying carrier bags full of Asics goodies. I’m handed a bag and pull out an Asics top and three-quarter-length tights. Nice. I’m then handed a pair of Asics Gel 1150. Nicer. I go to the changing rooms to get changed and when I get back, I’m introduced to two proper writers – Laura from a new fitness magazine and Jo from Healthy Magazine.

We go into the gym and while Laura goes for her interval session with Nicki, Jo and I are given a talk by Sarah.


Unfortunately, listening isn’t my strong point and I don’t really take in what she says, but it was something along the lines of injuries being caused by fatigue and how you start to slouch when you get tired which is bad for the hips (I could be talking complete rubbish here) and her advice for new runners is to get the right shoes, and to vary the terrain and mileage (also good advice for not-so-new runners).

After the talk, Sarah shows us some stretching exercises for strength and says if we’re only going to do one stretching exercise, this is the one to do.


Next, we swap over and Jo and I get onto a treadmill each and Nicki asks us how far we run and how often. She starts us off on the treadmill and says we both run really flat and we should be running heel to toe. I try this and immediately stop sounding like an elephant on a tin roof.


Nicki says we’re going to be raising the incline to 8 and will be asking how far on a scale of 1-10 of exertion we feel.

We raise the incline every 30 seconds or so to 8 and then back down again. My exertion level reached at least 9.

Next, Nicki says we’re going to be going faster and to push ourselves. Not being a fan of pushing myself, I’m not looking forward to this and as she whacks it up to 12kph she says I’m finding it easy. I tell her I’m not. She says I am as I’m still talking and so I decide not to talk to her again.

I’m knackered and slow it down to a walk. ‘DON’T WALK’ Nicki shouts at me. Wow, she’s scary for someone so small and I speed it back up but then I feel a bit faint and tell her this. She asks me if I had breakfast and I say no. Nicki says I must have breakfast – it’s like a car with no fuel.

I jog slowly for a bit and feel better and want to go faster again but Nicki says not if I feel faint and looks at me with a worried look on her face. I really don’t want to give up and tell her I feel fine, honest. I speed up the treadmill and we do another incline for a minute, then drop back to zero. Nicki tells me to ramp it up to 12kph but I decide to rebel and only put it up to 11.5kph but after 30 seconds, she looks at the screen and presses the button until it’s on 13kph and I try to keep up with it without dying for the last 30 seconds. I do it without dying, then it’s over and I walk for a bit.

Nicki says I don’t push myself. Hmm, tell me something I don’t know. She asks me if I usually do 5ks and 10ks and I say yes. She asks if I can ride a bike and I say yes. She asks if I can swim and I say I haven’t since I was a kid. She says I should do tris as ‘when you get older…’ but I don’t hear the last bit as I’ve got ‘when you get older…’ running round my head. Too old to run? Try telling that to Death Valley Jack.

I get off the treadmill and Nicki shows us some stretches. She tells us to keep our back foot straight which Jo and I have both not done, as Nicki gets hold of our feet and turns them straight which makes them feel twisted. So, if you need your back foot straight, turn it ‘til it feels twisted.


After the stretching, it’s all finished and I give my thanks to Sarah, Nicki and the PR team for a brilliant day with some great advice (even if I don’t remember all of it – sorry Sarah) and I’ll definitely be incorporating intervals into my training.


  • You’ve put a smile on my dial as I remember what 13kph feels like on a treadmill with an incline. Nice one for sticking it out. X

  • Fantastic! That sounds like torture, but you didn’t tell a lie, you are doing intervals.

    Lucky you getting a bag of new kit!

  • What a great post! LOL! I could relate to so many things you wrote about. Missing breakfast and running..yep..that’s me! Not pushing my speeds..yep, me again!…Inclines?…I feel your pain 😉 Having got into marathon running (purely by accident) your post really made me giggle .. yes, I also did Triathlon (in a past life..well, actually my 20s..but it was so long ago it doesn’t count any more).

    Keep up the fab writing!

    Best wishes

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