Life & Living

Chantel Pipe

INSTAGRAM: @chantelpipefitness

I’m a 41 year old mother of two girls and one French bulldog, and I’m a Personal Fitness Coach. I work one to one with clients aged 18-80, and have additional specialisms in pre and post natal training, GP exercise referral, cancer rehabilitation and pilates. I also run community fitness classes in the Suffolk coastal area.

Although the colder weather and darker evenings can leave us feeling demotivated and sluggish, it’s also the time when we start thinking ahead to the coming year and making plans to focus on our health and fitness after the excesses of the holiday period.

Signing yourself up for a fitness event or challenge can be a great way to do this. There are so many different types available from walking to running, triathlons, power lifting, CrossFit, virtual races and body building to name just a few. So, if you are thinking of setting yourself a challenge next year, here are some tips to help you to succeed.

Consider the training commitment.

I’m all for chucking yourself in at the deep end, but with something like this you need to consider the time commitment involved. How many training sessions can you realistically commit to each week? Most organised events will have an FAQ or training section on their website where you will be able to find training tips, or even full training plans to guide you.

Get signed up and tell everyone!

Some events will have limited entries available, so don’t leave it too late! Once you have signed up, let people know. Although this can seem a bit scary, having encouragement and support from friends and family can really help with motivation. If you know people who have taken part in similar events reach out and ask them about their experiences and whether they can offer any words of wisdom!

Get a buddy or two!

If you’ve never done anything like this before it can be pretty daunting; having someone to go through the whole experience with can be a great motivator. There are also lots of local running, triathlon and swimming clubs that will be great sources of support and advice.

Get a plan, and stick to it!

Don’t wing it. Get a week-by-week plan in place to help build up to your event. There are lots of plans available for free online, or you may decide to have something put together by a coach. Once you have that plan, stick to it! It will be structured in such as way as to build your fitness gradually, while minimising risk of injury, so don’t be tempted to do extra! Ensure you plan in some contingency time for unexpected events. If you have a 6-week training plan, don’t start it exactly 6 weeks before your event, start 7 or 8 weeks ahead.

Eat, sleep and drink (water!)

Getting enough sleep, water, and fuelling your body properly are as important as the actual physical training. Dehydration, poor quality sleep and a poor quality diet lacking in nutrients will have an adverse effect on your training. Aim for 7-8 hrs sleep per night, at least 2 litres of water each day, and try to limit processed foods and alcohol. If you can adhere to that 80% of the time, you’ll notice a big difference.

Get the kit…

Proviz sports

If you’re out and about training in the darker months, hi vis fitness gear is essential to keep you safe. Proviz have a great range.


Absolutely essential for minimising injury. To find the best shoe for you a gait analysis is a must. Coes of Ipswich offer these instore, or virtually.

Virtual races

This is an amazing way to race at your own pace. With dozens of options available every month, you choose your distance, how you want to complete it and get cracking. There are lots of sites available and with many like you will also be raising money for charity while you get fit!