Sub-4 minute Miler Dale King-Clutterbuck isn't your ordinary track runner, for one he's also European Beer Mile Record Holder! Dale recently joined Team SOAR as an Ambassador. We caught up with him to talk training, racing and long-term aims.
Dale, tell us a bit about you and your running? How did you come to be a middle distance man?
Running for me is an opportunity to get away from the madness life brings and I've always used it as a release. I don't think I liked rules at school so when I was out running, there were no rules. I became a middle-distance man on the streets, in the playground and on the football pitch. I was always up to harmless mischief with my friends and I was always the first to get away on the old knock-down-ginger. I knew I had basic speed as a kid but I also knew I could run everyone silly on the football pitch. Put the two together and it became apparent I could sustain fast paces for long periods of time when tired, which naturally led me to 1500m. I won the district championships 800m and won a bronze at Essex Schools 800 off football training so at 15, I joined the local club so I could train a little bit more. At 16 I won bronze at English Schools 1500m which really got the motivation flowing. At 17 I won another bronze at English Schools bottom year and then I was hooked.
What are your near term and long term aims?
My short-term aims are to get my mojo back and it's coming with every session. I lost the love for the sport for many reasons. As I've said, athletics and running was a place for me to get away from life but then running became my life and the people who control the sport started to annoy me. I remember when England didn't pick me for a meet in Vienna but then I still went and won the race in 3.40 just missing out on the World Championships standard. It was things like this that started to turn me away. You have a lot of amateur people selecting these teams and I think that shows in their consideration that Jonny Mellor isn't a medal contender for the Commonwealths.
My long-term aims are to fulfil the potential everyone says I have and I'm not sure what this means. Many people tell me I have the potential to be a great athlete but they rarely have the answers.
And what does a typical training week look like at the minute?
Currently, I'm running twice a day and operating at around 75 miles per week, but I will get that up by another 20% by Christmas. 1 x hill session, 1 x big interval session (8k) with short recovery. 1 x tempo session which is broken up.
How does this change in racing season?
Race season, recoveries will lengthen and I'll aim for quality over quantity and really try and run fast. Could be 1 x 1000m, + 1 x 800m + 4 x 400m + 4 x 200m.
Do you have a favourite training session?
30 x 200m (30 sec recovery) or 6 x 300m in the summer.
And least favourite?
Tempo running, I find it very boring and it gives me a dull ache all over my body because you're operating at an uncomfortable pace. But that's clearly a weakness and I'm working on it. I jump in with Phil O'Dell's group every now and again and they do some really big work, so I think it's going to help me a lot.
Any ambitions to go up (or down) in distance?
I would say I'm currently one of track and field's biggest under achievers, which is a shame, so I would need to rewrite my 800/1500m personal bests before I consider going up. I think my 3rd place at a Met League cross country shows I have the strength to have a go at the longer distances.
You’re currently European beer mile record holder, tell us a bit about the beer mile and how that came about?
Andy Norman, the race organiser was struggling for numbers and I believe someone told him I don't mind a beer so he asked me if i fancied it, I turned up and broke the record.
Have you got more beer miles on the agenda, or perhaps an attempt at the World Record?
I will have another go at yes but I really need to work out how I'm going to achieve my potential on the track first.
Do you have a favourite race or one that particularly sticks in the memory?
British Championships/World Trials 3rd place. I remember getting boxed in at 250m to go missing the jump made by Grice & O'Hare and then just clawing them back down the home straight.
What about a dream race, are there any in particular on your ‘bucket list’?
Olympics is the race dream for any athlete.
What’s your go-to pre-race meal?
I've got this wrong many times and later found out I can't race on white bread, pasta etc and this ruined a few races for me. Now I keep it simple and have a chicken salad or some porridge with banana.
What about post-race, what’s your recovery or celebratory meal of choice?
What are your top tips for anyone looking to race well at the middle distances?
(1) Do not make any surges, save this for when you really want to use it. (2) Be patient and watch everything (3) Run smooth but be aggressive. You must command the space around you and not let any athlete think they can come into that space. Be clever use your arms to shift people over and let them know you're there. (4) Get to the party. If you're not at party in the final moments of the race, you cannot react & attack (Stole this from Matt Yates).
Lastly, what’s your favourite bit of SOAR kit and why?
Ultra Rain Jacket because it keeps me dry but also stops me from over-heating on a long run.