What got you into running? And what keeps you doing it?
I started running around 10 years ago with a view to mainly keeping fit. I was concerned that I was leading a sedentary lifestyle, eating unhealthily and wanted (needed) to loose some weight. So, I turned to running and became addicted to the extent that it provided 'me time' from the pressures of work etc. As the weight dropped off my fitness improved and then I started entering races from 5k - marathon. My race times started to improve and then I decided to join a running club and since then my running has really taken off so to speak, such that I'm in my mid (to late) forties and I've recently managed to obtain PBs across the board at marathon, half marathon,10k and 5k. I've also recently had a go at track racing and entered the Soar mile at Battersea (I got a PB, just, although think I could go faster at the mile). Overall, I enjoy my running and the 'freedom' it provides - I also like to see improvements in my race times.
What is your typical training routine?
I tend to run most days. Generally Monday and Friday are easy/recovery days of 3-4 miles (sometimes these are rest days, depending how I feel); Tuesday is a speed/track session with my running club; Wednesday is a steady run of 5-12 miles, depending what my training focus is; Thursday is a tempo session; Saturday I often do a parkrun; and Sunday is a long run. The focus of my training depends on the season: January - April, I am usually training for a marathon; May - July, the focus has been on shorter distances e.g. 5k and track races; August low key/rest; and in the autumn (September - December) I build up endurance for the cross country season.
Do you run with a club or a group?
I am a member of Dulwich Runners AC, a running club based in South East London. I have been a member for 4 years. I join them for track training sessions, various races through the year and run with club mates at the weekend. I also tend to meet up occasionally with club mates for a tempo session in Hyde Park or Battersea Park. There is good coaching support at the club; joining a running club has given my training added focus and has improved my running significantly. There is also a good social element to the club.
Where's the strangest place you've run?
Tricky question; I tend to run most places where I go to on my travels - that has included running through vineyards in France, around the Italian lakes, Safari Parks in South Africa (where it is safe!) and also in the Australian Outback.
What song, if any, is guaranteed to make you run faster?
I don't tend to listen to music when I run these days - but one track I do recall that always encourages me to run faster is Extreme Ways by Moby, although I do not purport to be Jason Bourne.
Do you run for the fun of it? Or for the results?
I run for both reasons. I enjoy racing and like to see improvement in my race times, collect PBs and also increase my age grading. Of course, there will be a time when achieving PBs will be beyond me but I hope to continue with my running for the 'release' that it provides.
What is the best bit of advice you've had from another runner?
The key to improving as a runner is training consistently, which means try and stay injury free. The advice is to watch your body and if niggles appear seek to get them resolved as soon as possible by going to a physio before they become fully blown injuries, resulting in lay-offs from running.
What simple advice would you give to a new or novice runner?
I would say build up your running gradually, and if you enjoy your running, join a running club - running clubs will help provide the structure and focus to train to improve. There are clubs around the country which cater for all ages and abilities and also provide a social element to meet up with like minded people - i.e. people who enjoy running.
What is your favourite piece of SOAR kit?
I think the Rain Jacket is brilliant. Super lightweight, really comfortable - I even like to wear it when I'm not running.