1 mile: 5:09
What year and what age did you complete your first event?
My first proper race was the Liverpool half-marathon back in 2006 when I was 19. I was a student in Liverpool at the time and thought I might as well try it as a challenge.
How did it go?
I cant really remember. I used to play football a few times a week, and did 3 actual training runs. I felt really self-conscious running. I remember running it in Reebok classics as I didnt know any better, and not being able to go to lectures the next day as my ankles swelled up like watermelons and I couldnt walk to the bus stop. I think I finished in around 1:55.
How many miles a week are you running on average?
About 30 miles.
What does your current training regime look like?
Tuesday = 10k Tempo, Thursday = Hills, Saturday = Parkrun plus extended warmup and cool-down, Sunday = Long Run of 10-13miles. Wednesday I do a strength session in the gym with free weights and body weight exercises. Monday I do a body weight strength session for core, glutes and hips strengthening. I was out for all of 2016 with injury after running really well at the end of 2015, and it was a pretty dark place. All I could do was parkrun each week. It was only when I started strengthening 3-4x per week that I shook the injury, so the strengthening stays in my repertoire or I risk a relapse.
Any tips for fitting it in with family life?
Find a woman that loves being active as much as you, then you dont have to argue to go out for a run! No kids as yet, I imagine they really get in the way!
What technology do you use?
Garmin 110 forrerunner. Its the basic garmin for runners, and it does the job perfectly. I use Garmin 910XT for when I’m dabbling in triathlon or out on the bike. I love the Strava, I dont really bother with Garmin Connect or anything else.
My favourite shoes are my Inov8 Roclite 275’s. Theyre a hybrid trail shoe with small lugs so you can run in them on most terrain apart from if its really boggy. For road shoes, the Brooks Launch 2 have served me well (I ran my HM PB in them), and they feel super soft on the inside. I recently bought Inov8 Road Extreme based on my love of their trail shoes. We didnt get on to begin with – the heel seems very tight fitting – I now quite like them. They do make my feet very hot if I’m running on dry tarmac in warm weather though.
What was your favourite event and why?
Thats a toughie. I’ve done some great races. I’m a little biased towards Tollymore Half-Marathon in Northern Ireland as I came away with the win unexpectedly! Beautiful scenery, some decent hills without being unbearably hard. I liked the Cheddar Gorge 10k too – its pretty obvious I like scenery and hills. A memorable one was Rock and Roll San Diego 10mile which I happened to do while exploring California, as I got to see the california coast and enjoyed the bands. That company has really come on since I did that race in 2014. Also the Belfast Half-marathon in 2015 because I set an ambitious target and somehow pulled it off, it was a race where everything seemed to go right. I love it when a plan comes together!
What are your future aims?
I’ve only had 1 bash at a marathon so far, which I ran before I considered myself a runner. I took lots if walking breaks and was very conservative. This year is my year to see what I can do, with a target marathon in the Autumn of 2017. I should be able to get a good for age time for London (3:05), but think I should be able to go sub-3.
What will it take to get there?
Increase my mileage. 30 miles a week seems pretty low compared to my peers who are running similar times to me. If I can get that up into 40-50 miles per week on a regular basis it should help. I’m also ‘between running clubs’ due to work commitments, which would help push me to that next level; I definitely miss the vomit-inducing interval sessions from my previous club Willowfield Harriers!
Any advice to newbie runners?
Everyone thinks they cant do something at one point or another. Theres a difference between wishing you could something and deciding you will do it. Make the decision, and plan the steps to achieve it.
Any advice to front of pack runners?
Many times I’ve run past runners I know well, I’ve trained with, and are experienced athletes, but they’ll be there, looking at their watch saying ‘its too fast, its too fast’. Get away from the numbers and think about how you feel. Use race adrenaline to your advantage and get swept along at the start. Its like a PowerUp in a computer game. Remember, your body is capable of more than you think!