Tough Girl Podcast

The Tough Girl Podcast is all about inspiring and motivating YOU! I will be interviewing inspirational women from around the world, who’ve faced and overcome difficult challenges and situations, they will share their story, their knowledge and provide advice and essential tips for you to overcome your own personal challenges. Please check out the Tough Girl Challenges website - and follow on twitter @_TOUGH_GIRL
RSS Feed Subscribe in Apple Podcasts







All Episodes
Now displaying: October, 2018
Oct 30, 2018

Jen has always loved to be active, from running around while growing up in the Peak District to playing football with the boys.

Leaving school, and heading off to University she was painfully shy and struggle to talk to people, however, as she was studying to be a barrister she was thrown into the deep end and worked hard to over come this. While studying and working, exercise took a back seat until she changed her life, by becoming self employed and moving away from London.

After the loss of her father and brother in quick succession she started going running as a way to deal with the pain. Although she struggles to call herself a runner, she has run multiple ultra in the country and has completed the Dig Deep Ultra, the Spine Challenge and the Northern traverse. 

During this podcast Jen shared more about her passion for running, what she eats, how she trains, recovers and also gives top tips and advice for you to complete your own ultra challenge. 

Show notes

  • Why she has only just started to call herself a runner 
  • Growing up in the Peak District and spending a lot of time outdoors
  • Playing sports at school, loving football and athletics
  • Getting through the awkward years at school and being the only girl playing football
  • Doing 5 years at university and how it impacted on her health and sports
  • Working as a Human Rights Lawyer
  • Her progression as a runner
  • Becoming self employed, moving back to the peak district and starting to go walking again
  • Joining a running club in the Peak District and being too scared to do any races or runs
  • Doing her first fell race
  • What she loves about running and why she has fun
  • Going on social media and being inspired by twitter
  • Losing her father and brother and going through a time of turmoil
  • Deciding to get a dog 
  • 30 mile ultra! The Dig Deep Ultra and having a little wobble during the race
  • Getting nervous before races and having anxiety
  • Trying not to stress and enjoying the moments while out running
  • The Spine Challenger Race and deciding to take it more seriously
  • The technical aspects of the race
  • Blisters and feet!!
  • Being a vegan, and her diet during training, racing and recovery
  • Being anaemic and suffering from chronic fatigue
  • Using acupuncture to manage her fatigue
  • Finding out what works for you
  • The Northern Traverse Race
  • Walking the coast to coast with her mum
  • Advice and tips for other runners and why getting to the start line without being injured is so important!
  • Future races coming up

Social Media

Twitter - @jenscotney  

Instagram - @jenscotney  



Oct 23, 2018

Lowri has been around kayaking all her life, but didn’t get into paddling properly until she was 14, when kayaks and kit started to fit. She became hooked, nagging anyone she could to take her paddling – whether it was to a local beck, cold winter surf or a man-made white water course. 

All of her hard work paid off and Lowri earned a place on the GB freestyle team for the 2001 World Championships and aged just 16 it was a life changing experience. She has continued to compete at the highest levels on the International freestyle scene ever since, earning a few medals along the way – including European Freestyle Champion 2006-08.

Lowri has also been on many expeditions and adventures, paddling in incredibly remote, big volume rivers in Siberia as part of the Four Borders Expedition; she has also claimed first descents in Mongolia and Georgia; and bagged big waterfalls in Chile as well as getting lost in the jungles of Colombia! Her adventures with kayaking have taken her to over 30 countries on 6 different continents… so far…

Lowri is a  BC Level 5 Coach & European Freestyle Champion, she is the owner of FlowFree Kayak Coaching

Show notes

  • Growing up in York and moving to North Wales
  • Who is Lowri, what she does and what she loves 
  • How she first got into kayaking and why she struggled at first.
  • Getting hooked at 14
  • Going to her first world championships at 16
  • Getting to meet her heroes 
  • What makes a good kayaker
  • How it changed her life and thinking about the future
  • Her plan B
  • Her first big expedition with Four Borders to Siberia and Mongolia, from section to planning and preparing for the trip
  • Being the only women
  • Crossing the border, and getting between a 32km no man’s land when crossing from Russia to Mongolia
  • What it was like in Mongolia and why the conditions were not the best for kayaking!
  • Team roles
  • Her expedition to Georgia
  • Helping clients with confidence issues
  • Learning to distinguish between fear and excitement
  • The challenges of going solo when kayaking
  • The challenges faced in the Colombia expedition and why a river which should have taken 3 hours to kayak took  3 days!
  • Why it’s important not to panic when it comes to handling the unknown
  • Advice and tips for women who want to get involved in kayaking but don’t know where to start
  • Advice and tips for women who want to take the next step in their kayaking journey and start going on expeditions
  • Next challenge for Lowri


Social Media

Website  - 

Twitter - @flowfree_lowri 

Instagram - @flowfree_lowri 

Facebook - @flowfreecoaching 

Oct 16, 2018

Susie Mitchell is a 38 year first time mom to a lovely vibrant baby girl Tori. Always enjoying the challenge of trying her hand at different sports, she discovered track cycling in July of 2011. After failing to make her mark in anything from shot putt to surfing, it finally seemed she had found something she was good at. Then two months later she became pregnant. Having set her sights on competing in the World Masters Track Cycling Championships the following October, she needed a plan. It would come four months after the birth and she wanted to be ready to give a good account of herself.

Wanting to train properly throughout her pregnancy, she looked for and found lots of advice – but was alarmed at how conservative views on exercise were during this time. The advice of "gentle jogging or easy swimming" wasn’t appealing. Being both a vet and scientist with a background in research she decided to look into it herself and focus on what the science said as her guide. Through this, a healthy dose of common sense and the help of her coach, she found a way to maintain and improve her fitness while training through all stages of her pregnancy and post-partum.

Her return to form came so much quicker than anyone could have expected, winning a National Medal just 6 weeks after the birth. She added others in the following months and went from strength to strength culminating in winning a title in the Individual Pursuit at the World Masters Track Championships in Manchester just a few months after Tori arrived. She had somehow managed to achieve her lifelong goal of sporting success in any discipline, and had pregnancy to thank for it. Susie showed that it is not only possible to stay fit and healthy by exercising through your pregnancy but that you could turn pregnancy to your advantage during training. The physiological changes in the body during this time mean training with baby on board is akin to training at altitude. Only a lot cheaper and easier to do!

By staying somewhat immersed in her sport, she also reaped another unforeseen benefit – she succeeded in maintain her identity through it all. Staying fit and getting back on the bike post-partum was one of the things that kept her sane, when coping with the biggest shock to the system anyone can have – becoming a mom for the first time. All of this was made possible by the help of a very supportive husband, Cormac. 

She is now back at work as a fish vet, travelling all around Ireland, visiting fish farms and jumping on and off trawlers. She tries to balance working, being a mum and enjoying her sport, a bit of a juggling act at times. Wanting to help other women like her during their pregnancies, she wrote the book she would have liked to read.

Show notes

  • Who Susie is and where she is based
  • Getting interested in mountain biking
  • Never being good at any sports 
  • Falling in love with track cycling
  • Enjoying the speed
  • Meeting her husband
  • Doing a big cycle ride with her husband before going on to do adventure racing
  • What it’s like doing races with your partner
  • A race which stands out for her… getting lost & dealing with bad weather….
  • Training together as a couple
  • Having a planned pregnancy at 37
  • Going to Manchester for the experience 
  • Myths about training while pregnant
  • Cycling 60K on her due date!
  • Judgement from others?
  • Everyone has their version of what fit and healthy should be for pregnant women
  • How her pregnancy went the first time and the challenges the second time around
  • How life changed after having her first baby and why it was such a shock
  • Working with her coach while training through her pregnancy
  • Getting back to sport
  • Getting to the  master race… in 4 months
  • The baby boost
  • Getting mentally in the game
  • What a typical training week looks like
  • Diet and nutrition
  • How she recovers from training 
  • Taking it to the next level while on the track
  • What goest through her head when she’s racing 
  • The impact of her win on her both personally and professionally
  • Going back to work after 6 months
  • Working as a vet, doing her PhD, writing her book while bringing up children
  • Trying to get her motivation back after achieved her life dream of winning the Masters
  • How life changed again after having her 2nd child
  • Advice and tips for other women who have had babies and want to get back into sports and exercise
  • Why it is personal to you and why it is not about comparison



Social Media

Website -

Twitter - @susie_mitchell 

Oct 9, 2018

Nikki moved to Chamonix, to ski, serve beer to the locals and dance on bar tops, way back in the Winter of 2004.  Nikki has worked hard to train and run long distances and has run some incredible races and routes all over the world.  They include, the UTMB (all distances) 100km CCC/120km TDS/ 170km, as well as the Everest marathon.

Based in Chamonix, she is a fully qualified VTCT Sports Massage Therapist, LiRF Run Leader CiRF Trail/Fell Running coach. Nikki is currently working towards her Mountain Leader qualification and finalising a diploma in sports nutrition all along side founding and building The Adventure Running Company

In 2017, Nikki was a founder of the Neverest Girls who went out to inspire girls into trying their hand at challenges that they may have never thought possible.

Show notes

  • How she ended up living and working in Chamonix
  • How she would introduce herself
  • Being the founder of the adventure running company
  • When she started getting into running
  • How her love of longer distance running came about
  • How her business came about 
  • The Neverest Girls 
  • Where the idea came from to run the Everest Marathon
  • Deciding in October 2012 to do this challenge and making it a reality in May 2014
  • The biggest challenge while training - time and trying to balance life
  • Why it was a sad time to be in Nepal
  • Being evacuated from Base Camp
  • Why it was character building (Type 2 Fun)
  • The Trans Rocky Race in America
  • Dealing with stress fractures and having to sit out of the race
  • What she needed to change when she came back to running after her injury
  • Having a bone scintigraphy - and how it helped her to diagnose what was wrong
  • Her first race after injury - deferring UTMB until 2016
  • Wanting to do an Ironman in 2016 as well!!
  • Having a bad day on the course and not having it in her head and why she stopped. 
  • Being mentally tired
  • Standing on the start line on UTMB in 2017 and feeling so ready for it and wanting it more than anything
  • Mental tips and tricks and why it is personal 
  • Why she wants to know what it will be like once she finishes
  • Her 2018 season so far
  • How her crew support her to keep her going during the race when it gets tough
  • Race strategy
  • What a typical training week looks like
  • Concerns about getting stress fractures again
  • Nutrition…. vegetarian…. & food at aid stations during races
  • Why she is in the Lake District…
  • What the Bob Graham Round is and what’s involved..
  • Doing the Bob Graham Round in November… & her motivation behind it
  • Her 2019 challenge!!
  • Final words of advice for women who want to have more adventure running in their life

Social Media

Website -


Facebook - @theadventurerunningcompany

Instagram - @theadventurerunningcompany 

Twitter -  @adventurerunn



You can listen to the Tough Girl Podcast on the go via iTunes, Soundcloud & Stitcher!



Oct 2, 2018

Jessica is an Author, and  Adventure Activist.

In her early forties after the eleventh round of unsuccessful IVF, she decided it was time to take on another adventure. It became the start of a journey in pursuit of the answer to the question: ‘Does motherhood make you happy or can you have a fulfilling life without children?’

What she’s learning is that there are many routes to creating a family if you want one but also that life is full of many different adventures.

That’s what led her to dedicating the fourth decade of her life to taking on some of the world’s most iconic endurance challenges to raise awareness and money for both adults and children without the families they long for.

In 2015, Jessica swam the English Channel in 17 hours, 44 minutes and 30 seconds, raising over £25,000 for adults and children without the families they long for. She said it was like her version of 'giving birth.' Read about it in her new book: 21 Miles: Swimming in search of the meaning of motherhood.

In 2017, Jessica ran the London Marathon for Fertility Network UK, raising over £5,000 for the charity.

In 2020, Jessica plans on summiting Mount Everest, which when she completed, will make her the first women to have ever completed these two challenges called  “Pond to Peak”.

**Please note during this episode we do talk about fertility, IVF and miscarriages. If you are in a sensitive place right now regarding these issues, please make sure you feel strong enough to listen, and have support available. This episode will always be available for you to listen to at a later date.**

Show Notes

  • How Jessica would describe herself
  • Coming from an arts family
  • Running a theatre by her early 30s
  • Not being sporty when she was younger
  • Meeting the man she wanted to have a family with
  • Trying to get pregnant
  • A decade long struggle to conceive
  • Her mission to become a mother and how it took over her life
  • Wanting to take back control in her 40s
  • How she got through it while living her life in limbo
  • The shame around fertility problems for both men and women
  • The impact on her marriage
  • Turning 40 and starting to write her first book - The Pursuit of Motherhood
  • 43 - and getting on with the rest of your life
  • Exercise and the role it played during her quest for motherhood.
  • Reaching 43 and deciding to stop IVF
  • Deciding to swim the English Channel!
  • All the reasons why she could not do this challenge
  • Mental toughness and mental resilience
  • What she thinks about while swimming
  • Why the challenge is always going to be harder than the training
  • The 7 & 6 in training (7 hours swimming on Saturday and 6 hour swimming on Sunday)
  • Swimming in the dark  - getting sick while swimming - dealing with jelly fish!!
  • Finishing the channel swim and reaching French soil
  • Adventure Activism and doing challenges!
  • Going back to her bucket list for her next challenge
  • Her 3rd and Final challenge…. climbing Everest in 2020!
  • The Pond to Peak Challenge!
  • Fertility Fest
  • Deciding to climb Mount Kilimanjaro at Christmas
  • How’s she training for Mount Everest & why she knows herself
  • Confidence after a challenge!
  • Dealing with sadness in your life
  • Dealing with people’s sympathy
  • Grief


Social media


Twitter @JessicaPursuit

Facebook - @thepursuitofmotherhood 

Fertility Fest -