Top marathon tips from designer Lulu Roper-Caldbeck

Lulu Roper-Caldbeck is co-owner of one of London’s most revered shops – fashion & interiors concept store, Darkroom. Located on picturesque Lamb’s Conduit Street, Darkroom exhibits a covetable mix of accessories and objets d’art by independent artists and designers – and the curation is incredible! This is where shop if you want to feel inspired.

You’d never think it from her footwear but Lulu’s a damned fast runner, as is her boyfriend Marcus – who I interviewed here, and her amazing son Oscar – who I interviewed here. She’s the girl that got me in to running – kinda. I was her assistant at Paul Smith & we used to travel to Florence for collection fittings.

Our boss was an enthusiastic runner & every morning she & Lulu would get up extra early & run along the river Arno & discuss the collection, so that by breakfast time all the decisions had been made. My innate FOMO (fear of missing out) made me tie up my plimsoles – yes plimsoles, & I headed out with them for a run. Needless to say I couldn’t keep their pace, so all the conversations I so wanted to be a part of were held 100 metres ahead of me.

That moment wasn’t quite the turning point for me starting to run, but it certainly triggered some intrigue, and as she’s running the London Marathon tomorrow I thought I’d ask her a few running related questions.

Name: Lulu Roper-Caldbeck
Age: 35
Home: London
Career: Co-owner of Darkroom
Raceography: 4 half marathons (PB 1.45)

How did you get into running? I have been running for about 10 years. Before starting the shop I worked in fashion, which involved a lot of travelling and running not only seemed a great way to keep fit, but more importantly it gave me time alone away from work and the chance to explore a new city.

How often do you run? When I’m not marathon training I try and fit in 20 miles a week, split over about 3 runs. With the marathon looming, this has obviously increased a lot as I’ve been running about 48 miles a week.

What motivated you to run a marathon? I guess most runners always have the challenge of a marathon somewhere in the back of their mind even if it is something they never do! After training for a couple of half marathons at the end of last year I thought I may as well keep it up and try and apply for a marathon place as I was as ready as I’d ever be.

Who is your marathon inspiration? My boyfriend Marcus is definitely my running inspiration – he’s a natural runner and has always been amazing at tackling long speedy distances with little training. I have been an emotional wreck watching him in a couple of marathons and always admire his carefree and positive approach, which leaves no room for the doubts and nerves which have plagued my training – especially in these last few days!

What is your marathon mantra? Try not to panic!

Top three tracks on your marathon playlist?

Julio Bashmore – Au Seve

What are your favourite – and least favourite aspects of training? My favourite aspect of running is the effect it has on clearing my head and there is nothing better that the continuous sense of achievement I’ve felt as the training has stepped up.
The worst aspect has definitely been the early and very cold mornings!

What is your top training tip? Don’t think about it too much – just get on with it. Previously I’d always thought of enough excuses for not running – too busy/tired/ill/hungover/hot/cold/early/late – you can always think of something if you let yourself.
My life is packed between being a mum and running a business, and along with marathon training I don’t have the luxury of making excuses to run at another time. I try to set myself certain times to run and get on with it, knowing that the benefits I will feel afterwards always make it worthwhile.

What’s your favourite London running route? I don’t have a favourite route but prefer anything new so always try to keep it different.

What do you seek from a good running route? No hills, laps or busy roads.

What or where has been your most memorable run to date? I recently went on a work trip to Iceland and running there was amazing – volcanic rock, hot springs, huge icecaps and glaciers – it was pretty insane!

Do you prefer running alone or with a partner? Until my training started I was always running alone and thought I preferred it until my boyfriend persuaded me to join Run Dem Crew. Whilst I would have still completed the marathon without joining, it would definitely have been a different journey. Running with RDC has made the experience less about clocking up the miles and completing the task, but more about enjoying and sharing every moment of it.

What impact has running had on your life? With the London Marathon tomorrow I can safely say that running has taken over my life! As soon as it’s over though I am definitely going to take it easy for a bit and look forward to the more relaxed 4 mile jogs around the park…

I’m so happy to see Lulu prepare for the London Marathon and have every faith that she’ll achieve her (super speedy) goal time.

All the luck Lu.

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