Radio presenter and podcaster Jenni Falconer, 45, chats to Top Santé about her love of running, as well as why collagen is her new go-to beauty secret…
Words: Suzanne Baum | Lead image: @jonpaynephoto
‘For as long as I can remember, I have loved sport. I took up running when I was 19 and at Leeds University because it was an easy way to get around, left me feeling good and there were hardly any other fitness classes available. I also had started to put on weight as a student because I wasn’t eating well and was eating too many sweets. Running kept me in shape.
‘Running has always enhanced my mood and lifted my energy levels. Getting up at the crack of dawn can be tough but I am a morning person so quickly feel awake. Then, I love to run early. I am on the radio every morning hosting the Smooth Radio breakfast show, so once I finish work, I run my commute home to southwest London. It really energises me and I love that part of my morning. In fact, I just love the feeling I get after a run. For me, the runner’s high is the closest you’ll get to feeling like a superhero. You feel invincible, like nothing can take the shine away from your happy mood.
‘The run home also gives me an hour to think about things: I plan my day, come up with brilliant ideas, and it also gets me outdoors, which is so beneficial if I am then stuck in a studio or filming for hours on end. My podcast RunPod is a dream come true. I am so passionate about running and encouraging people to take it up. Every episode includes interviews with other people, from Olympic runners and a celebrity just starting running for mental health, to the founder of parkrun or inspiring stories from everyday people.
Jenni Falconer: ‘The runner’s high is the closest you’ll get to feeling like a superhero. You feel invincible, like nothing can take the shine away from your happy mood.
‘I get messages every day from people new to running, asking for help. My main tip is that it’s vital to get a decent pair of trainers to support you. A gait analysis is so important as everyone has a different running style, so you need to get measured properly – a gait analysis is free at many sports shops. The same goes for a sports bra, which is absolutely vital – you must have a good, supportive one.
‘Then, if you are totally new to running, I suggest setting your alarm half an hour earlier than usual and use that time to go for a walk to elevate your heart rate. From there, gradually build in a 30-second run followed by a 45-second run; before you know it, you can run for a minute without getting out of breath. The walk-run combination will then lead to jogging longer distances. Or just follow the couch to 5k method, which is amazing.
‘Completing marathons has been one of my highlights fitness wise, and they are all super memorable. However, some of my favourite running memories are when I am on holiday and running along a coastal path, or even running my commute on a lovely summer’s day. I tend to run alone because my work hours don’t make it easy to find a running buddy! We’ve got an Echelon treadmill at home, too, so there is always an opportunity to run.
Jenni Falconer: ‘Some of my favourite running memories are when I am on holiday and running along a coastal path, or even running my commute on a lovely summer’s day.’
‘To be honest, even though I don’t always get to run in my free time with others, I have made so many friends through the running community. That’s the thing about runners, it doesn’t matter what job they do or what’s going on in their life, they can run together and talk
about running for hours! I do know that running every day is not so good on my joints, though. However, I make sure I take precautions; I stretch, do some strength training, take the right vitamins and health supplement (in fact, I even developed my own for this exact reason) and mix running with other sports.
‘Three years ago, I developed a new sporting passion for golf and am now obsessed! I come from a family of golfers, so I now get to spend time with my parents doing something they love. Golf is such a great way to keep fit as you can get in so many steps going around the
course. It’s also led to me having a new social group of friends, too. I don’t find it too difficult to keep fit in my 40s. I actually feel so much
stronger and confident in my body at this age. I also know where I am in terms of work and family life, so keeping up with exercise is vital for my wellbeing, too.
‘Getting up so early for work means I’m not usually very hungry so don’t have a large breakfast. I may only have a banana and toasted bagel, then perhaps a protein shake after a run, followed by eggs or a chicken salad for lunch. If I am out and about, it can be quite difficult to sit down to eat during the day, but I try to always make sure we have plenty of protein-rich meals at home as I feel that it is good for recovery. I do love carbs, though – I adore bread but try not to buy it too much.
Jenni Falconer: ‘I don’t find it too difficult to keep fit in my 40s. I actually feel so much stronger and confident in my body at this age.’
‘I am a terrible cook so everything I make is very simple, the more straightforward it is, the less likely it is to go wrong! In saying that, the meals I make are healthy, nutritious and filling – and cater for me, my husband and daughter. We have chicken, salmon, stir-fries, pasta, baked potatoes… We eat well but you wouldn’t see it on MasterChef! I love food but don’t enjoy the cooking process, so simple, quick meals are my go-to. It doesn’t mean they aren’t tasty, they’re just not so fussy or adventurous.
‘I do the breakfast show every day apart from on a Sunday. That’s when I try to chill out and spend time with the family. Weekends also often involve taking my daughter Ella to parties and classes and, of course, walking my dog Alfie. He is quite old so is less keen to run with me now. We walk daily and I like to set the bar at 12,500 steps minimum. The good thing is with a run-commute and golf, I manage easily to tick those off the list but on days when I’m not running or golfing, I try to maintain the steps. We walk the school run, and I walk wherever possible as I feel it’s an opportunity to get fresh air and get my heart pumping.
‘In summer, if I don’t run my commute to work I’ll walk instead. I enjoy it just as much and I think walking is so important; it keeps me healthy and fit and I like to set myself little challenges. If I’m getting the Tube, I’ll get off early and walk to the next station. If there is an escalator I
have to power walk up it.
Jenni Falconer: ‘I love food but don’t enjoy the cooking process, so simple, quick meals are my go-to. It doesn’t mean they aren’t tasty, they’re just not so fussy or adventurous.’
‘Walking on holiday is also a total joy for me. Exploring places, especially in hot sunny weather, is one of my favourite things to do. I remember being in Venice for the film festival and getting up at 5am every day. The place was deserted at that
time and so I got to walk all the way across the city before the crowds came out – it was amazing. I recommend early rising, going for a walk (or a run) at sunrise and then heading back to the hotel for breakfast – bliss!
‘I began taking collagen in 2009 when I signed up for my first marathon. It was on the advice of a colleague who was a TV doctor, who said that our bones take a battering with excessive pavement pounding, so it would be wise to start taking supplements containing collagen as it can help with joint recovery. There are so many more benefits, too: it promotes bones and cartilage health, it’s great for muscle recovery after a workout or a run, it helps support the immune system as well as working wonders for hair, nails and skin – it really hydrates your skin. Friends used to always comment on my fresh, dewy skin and I’m convinced it’s all to do with the collagen!
‘I fact, I loved collagen so much that I launched my own brand, called Kollo Health. It was just before the pandemic and I had no idea how it would do, but it has been so successful. It’s a liquid shot containing 10g of premium liquid marine collagen as well as 100 per cent of your RDA of vitamins C, B5, B6 and B12. There is also L-Lysene in each sachet.
Jenni Falconer: ‘Collagen promotes bones and cartilage health, it’s great for muscle recovery, it helps support the immune system as well as working wonders for hair, nails and skin.’
‘We have thousands of amazing customer reviews with many sending in before and after pics – so many people who take it have told me it’s transformed their skin and their lives, too! It’s given them confidence as it has helped improve their skin, hair or joint ache, and there are many women who tell us how it’s helping them through the menopause as it relieves many symptoms.
‘I’m a real skincare addict and always make sure I moisturise well each day. I love everything from Murad and Skinceuticals, through to Palmers and Dermalogica – I just slap it all over my body! One of the beauties of my radio job is that nobody cares what I look like, and I can show up in my gym kit with no make-up on, but I feel confident that my skin feels smooth and looks good without having to wear make-up.
‘I would love to say I regularly have a massage or a facial in a lovely relaxing spa. However, the reality is I don’t have time – these are luxuries I manage very infrequently. My friends booked me in for a facial on my birthday this year and I loved it, though. I get my main relaxation from watching movies at home with the family, and often I will have a face mask on at the same time! For me, though, the ultimate form of relaxation is exercise, whether running, golf, going to the gym or walking. That’s my happy place!’