What got you into running? And what keeps you doing it?
Parkrun triggered my initial interest in running. After a year or so of the weekly 5K I joined a running club and it was on the track that I fell in love with the sport. The thrill of speed is intoxicating. I was hooked and even though sprinting isn’t my running focus it planted the seed to investigate other distances and start entering races. I feel that I’m still only at the start of my running journey, lots still to learn and new race categories and distances to experience.
What is your typical training routine?
A track session on Tuesdays that varies in distance and tempo from week to week. On Thursdays, I join a session where the focus is on marathon related training, parkrun on Saturday and long run Sunday.
Do you run with a club or a group?
I hate running alone so I try to run with other club members on Tuesday/Thursdays and a group of friends on Sunday
You recently joined the SOAR X Cross-country training programme, what was it that appealed about committing to 10 weeks of training to race in the cold and the mud?
I was impressed by the calibre of the proposed coaching team, the outline programme and the democratic entry selection process put in place by SOAR.
What do you hope to get from the programme?
I want to learn and understand how I should approach, train and race Cross Country. That includes what I should be wearing.
How does it differ from your prior running experiences? Have you raced cross-country in the past?
This is my first exposure to a formal coaching programme and very different to anything I’ve experienced to-date. First and foremost it’s tailored to ensure each individual is ‘race ready’. The weekly group sessions are very structured however quality comes before quantity. The group has bonded very quickly.
My one exposure to Cross Country racing last year left me feeling like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a car especially when I observed the race strategies of more experienced runners unfold around me. I’m a novice that needs professional advice.
And what have you learnt so far? Any top tips?
The coaches have identified that if I’m to run faster then my running style needs adjusting. I lean too far back and need to lean slightly forward to maximise my speed.
Where's the strangest place you've run?
Due to jet lag – Tokyo. Couldn’t sleep so decided to go for a run in the middle of the night. Very disorientating city, street pattern unfamiliar and somehow managed to get lost. A kind policeman escorted me back to my hotel nearly 3 hours after leaving my room. I was freezing cold wearing only a t-shirt and shorts. I never venture out in the middle of the night anymore…
What song, if any, is guaranteed to make you run faster?
Everything – City of the Sun. I get goose bumps every time I hear this and always listen to it prior to a race.
Do you run for the fun of it? Or for the results?
A bit of both. On courses I run regularly I’ve stopped worrying about the tyranny of PB’s and started to enjoy running for the pleasure of it. Races are different. I always want to do well and for me that means trying to finish in the top 3 in my age category.
What is the best bit of advice you've had from another runner?
Don’t go out too fast! I had a habit of going out too quickly and regretting it in the middle of a race. I’ve learnt to pace better but I’ll admit my best results have been with someone pacing me.
What simple advice would you give to a new or novice runner?
Invest in a Merino/silk top. Not only does it feel great to wear it absorbs perspiration very effectively.
What is your favourite piece of SOAR kit?
I love the Ultra Rain Jacket; fits like a glove and the Dual Fabric Tights are great to run in. I want a pair of Race Shorts (I recently stopped another runner to ask him where he bought his shorts!)
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