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Mark Wheeler

Mark Wheeler

Runner

What got you into running? And what keeps you doing it?
I find running gives me something to aim at. Running is my barometer. I can spend a lot of any given week sitting in a chair or rushing from meeting to meeting. So when I'm able, I love to have a run to see how my body is feeling. Having been super-active since a young age, the reality of becoming a grown-up, husband and father means you have less time on your hands. But running is very much time to focus on your own thoughts. Mull things over, get things straight in your head. It's also personal time to spend on achieving your own goals however grandiose or small they may be

What is your typical training routine?
I find that without some event to aim at, then it's harder to train. Maintenance runs can be pretty boring so getting your name down for a race means you have the fear factor and you can spice things up. It makes you push harder. I'll admit that I'm not a fabulous trainer. However, when I have an event in the calendar, I'll always aim to do two long runs during a week. Mid-week at a steady pace and then throwing in intervals and speed work at the weekend. I commute to work on my bike so that's great to keep the legs turning over in the mean time, and if I'm pushed for time the rowing machine is the ultimate way of packing a lot of effort into a short space of time.

Do you run with a club or a group?
Not currently. I'd be keen to if I can make it fit. I'm very fortunate that in Ealing where I live there are a number of very active clubs and I always feel inspired when they race past me in the park.

Where's the strangest place you've run?
Probably Lucerne in Switzerland. Not that Lucerne is strange at all, but it was more of a case of timing and clothing. I was there for a meeting and I was training for an event so was up early to go for a run around the (very steep) hills around the city. Unfortunately I hadn't bargained for the weather being a bracing minus 2. I'd only packed a vest and shorts so that was what I ran in. I figured I'd warm up eventually.... So it was no wonder that I was getting a huge number of amazed stares from the locals. Perhaps they aren't into their running in Lucerne?

What song, if any, is guaranteed to make you run faster?
This is a bit of an odd one, but Nimrod, from the Enigma variations by Elgar, is something that always makes me dig deep. It's such a powerful tune full of uplifting emotion. It never fails to make the hair stand up on the back of my neck and the legs move faster. Failing that, then Lost in the Dream by The War on Drugs is a fabulous running album.

Do you run for the fun of it? Or for the results?
For the results. No doubt. If I haven't got something to aim at then I'm useless.

What is the best bit of advice you've had from another runner?
"There's no shame in walking" This advice was taken from a 60+ chap who breezed past me while I was spectacularly hitting the wall about 3 hours into the 2007 London Marathon. I felt so ashamed of myself. All of that training only to be hobbling along embankment watching my target time disappear off into the distance. From that moment if I've signed up for an marathon, half marathon, 10k or whatever, I make sure I've trained properly to avoid that moment again.

What simple advice would you give to a new or novice runner?
If you can afford a GPS watch or heart rate monitor then it can take your running to the next level. I've found huge improvements in the information (real time and post run) that you get from running with a watch. You know exactly how fast you're going, how hard you're working and you can actually make informed judgements on how to react. Otherwise, you really are just 'going out for run'. I'm not saying running without one is pointless at all. Any active movement we can fit into a given day is a good thing.

What is your favourite piece of SOAR kit?
The SOAR T-Shirt. Light, breathable and roomy.

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