We first got to know about Jess Moloney through her Refinery29 column about training for her first Iron Man in 2017. Obsessed with her striking look – covered in tattoo and bold red lips – and the fact that she is combining her Iron Man training with a busy time job as a celebrity manager, we invited her round Fashercise HQ for a chat and a little lycra party.
What made you decide to do an Iron Man?
I used to sprint as a kid and trained myself into long distance running. I’m not the quickest marathon runner but I realised early on I have a hidden strength and a huge amount of stamina, not to mention mind power – it is your mind that gets you through these challenges. I truly believe it’s 60% mind 40% body.
Once you do marathons, duathlons and triathlons, you are always looking for that next hit and the next big challenge. I love pushing myself so hard and seeing how my body copes. Our bodies are amazing things and it’s so important to challenge them – it’s good for the brain too.
When you do Triathlons everyone knows the ultimate is an IronMan, it’s the elite of triathlons, the same way ultra marathons are for marathon runners. When Rich (my friend that got me into triathlons) did his IronMan – I got the twitch and set it in my head for a 2 year goal – well only a year later, and with not much convincing, I signed up!
I love to shock people too (I’m covered in tattoos) and the fact its called an IronMan bothers me, we as women can be as strong, and to be so overtly stating that it’s the ultimate man challenge is bullshit – I want to show people, as females, we can be as amazing and complete this life changing challenge.
Which part are you dreading the most?
My biggest fear is the swim. Swimming was the reason I started triathlons as I know my strength is cycling and running – but to swim 2.4miles is extreme! This is my struggle and because I find it so hard, I lose interest and get frustrated very quickly, leading me to jump out the pool and stop the session! I am currently looking for a killer swimming coach to whip me into shape as currently my love for the water is not so great…
What does an Iron Man training schedule look like?
I train 6 times a week, the training for this becomes your life. I fit 2/3 hours in before work, I get up at 5am (in the summer 4.30am), if I have evenings off from work (as I often have events) I’ll try and fit a second training session in – 3 times a week during lunch I also do reformer pilates. My training consists of a mix of road and treadmill running, spin classes, weights (arms and legs), occasionally barre core and reformer pilates.
Compared to a marathon this training has been upped with 1.5 hours a day and pilates has been incorporated.
I am actually about to start with a few new trainers, so I am excited to see how this schedule will now differ and to have their input. One of the trainers is a female who has done 7 ironman races (and counting) – just incredible!
How do you motivate yourself when you don’t feel like working out?
Since deciding to take on the IronMan I feel more motivated than I ever have before. My training has seriously ramped up, and my whole lifestyle has had to change even more than normal. You have to be 100% committed when taking on this challenge, it can be hard especially with a full time job (and a dog!)
But I motivate myself by thinking about the feeling I will get when I cross that finish line, there is no better one. On every marathon (in particular) that I have done, you feel an overwhelming sense of emotion, I never know whether I might burst onto tear…..after NY I actually threw my arms round the random girl that was giving me my medal!
Of course, especially at the moment in London, when it’s cold, dark and wet in the morning getting up is hard, but I have to check myself into remembering why I’m doing it (and how good I will feel after the session) and it motivates me to get out of bed!
What sacrifices will you have to make in order to achieve your goal?
Sacrifice is a big word, but I certainly have had to make some to take on the Ironman.
My relationships with people have changed. I don’t have spare time. Any time that I am not working, training comes first, even before friends. My friends and family have to have an understanding of how many hours in my day the training takes up and on a weekend even more. All aspects of your life come into scrutiny, your diet, your sleep, your drinking, your relationships, your training ability, you have to build a team up around you that supports you – without solid relationships and people that truly understand what you are doing it could be daunting process. Anyone in my life that doesn’t understand why I’m doing this or doesn’t understand that if I cancel lunch because I need to get an extra session in then I have too (or actually sleep – I don’t sleep much!) then they aren’t my friend for much longer!
Aside from your usual training, do you have a workout of choice?
I use to box for about 2 years when I was 21 – it was the BEST training – not to mention you learn how to throw a punch properly (you never know when that might come in handy!) I actually read an article not that long ago that said boxers are the fittest overall athletes around. I believe it. My brother is an amateur boxer, and my god, when I train with him I feel like the most unfit, slow person – their stamina is mind blowing! I used to train in a proper old school boxing club in East London (none of this ridiculous ‘Boxercise’ classes in a gym where the trainers have no idea what they are actually doing) but it’s no longer there anymore, I’ve done some research and there is a great one in Islington, so I would like to start doing some classes there in the New Year.
Do you have any fitness goals left you would love to achieve?
If I love the Ironman I know I will certainly want to do more! My dream is also to do the Berlin and Boston marathon. Boston is an elite marathon and Berlin is almost completely flat so you can get a great PB.
What are your style tips for dressing to the gym?
If you’re training in the gym as opposed to outside on the roads you can change your attire slightly. My favourite pants are always higher waisted ones, they suck me up and hold me! I also love a good sports bra that also teams as my top. A year ago I would NEVER have worn a bra top and pants to the gym, as I was extremely conscious of my body – however, now I actually don’t care. There are far slimmer women who run beside me or pose in the gym, but if there’s ever a second when I think I wish I was thinner, I remember how powerful my body is and it takes those thoughts away. I love the LNDR Champ sports bra – I would literally wear that with a pair of high waisted jeans a leather jacket as look and change into the pants if I wanted to fit a quick gym session!
When I’m road running – especially early morning when it’s dark its important to layer up to stay warm but also to be seen – I have a fully reflective Nike jacket that I got many years ago – it was so expensive at the time, but its one of the BEST items of clothing in my wardrobe.
In terms of trainers I never wear anything else but Nike. Nike has been the one constant in my life, for about 14 years now, as the brand make the best of the best. The technology in the garments is perfect and they ALWAYS make you feel stylish. I have never worn any other runners other than Nike Lunarglides. Lunars are an easy run shoe as they are extremely lightweight.
If you feel good when you’re working out, it will make you far more confident and you will trainer much harder, I promise!
What’s your favourite healthy snack?
Tricky one…..but I would have to say Pip and Nut peanut butter – I would say I have an unhealthy relationship with it, I can eat it by the spoonful! It’s a really great source of protein, however it is high in calories, so unless you’re active I wouldn’t recommend eating it by the spoonful. I would say do read labels and only ever buy peanut butter that is made from only ground peanuts with no added oil (especially palm oil) or salts.
What do you indulge in on a cheat day?
I love a dessert, so on cheat day give me cake, pecan tart is a winner!
What do you do to relax?
Training is my relaxation – it’s the only time in the day I switch off, completely, I just think about what I’m doing, phone is on aeroplane mode and off I go, of course I think about everything in my life during these training session, but it is my relaxation. On my rest day I never, ever, feel as settled within myself than the days I train.
What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
“Never a failure, always a lesson” I loved the advice so much I tattooed it on myself so everyday I can look at it!
If there was a soundtrack to your life, what song would be playing right now?
Queen – Can’t stop me now!