After all that you accomplished, what drives you to continue running?
I ultimately enjoy the personal challenge. If you are having a bad day in particular then a hard physical task is the best way to release tension and emotion and put things in perspective. I also love the social element of the sport. Having a training group to work with is really important to me and fuels my enjoyment.
How do you motivate yourself on days when you don't feel like running?
Believe me, everyone gets those. I usually think “ok how long is this going to take?”. And if it's as simple as going out for a 5 mile run for example I can say 'it will be done in 30-35 mins so just get on with it!' If this isn't enough to get me out of the front door then I often think about one of my main rivals and the advantage they will gain if I don't train. This is enough to get me focused and to commit to the task.
On average, how many times and miles do you run a month?
I run around 9 to 10 times per week and the miles differ according to what stake of the season I'm in. My training and competition season starts from October and ends August/early September when I then take 3 weeks complete rest. I estimate I probably average around 50 miles a week for the 49 week cycle. That's 2,500 miles ahead of me from when I start back training to the Rio Olympics. I better enjoy my rest period!
What's the weirdest or funniest thing that ever happened to you while running?
I was once running down the street and ran past an old lady who suddenly turned round and hit me with her handbag. She had heard my quick steps fast approaching and thought I was going to attack her! I now shout ahead if I'm in a similar situation; something like 'coming through!'
What are your favorite types of fuel for running and why?
I always eat Fuel cereal in the morning with strawberry yoghurt. It's a granola based cereal with cocoa and it keeps me feeling fuelled and energised enough to train. I also eat a small portion of this ahead of any evening training session as I hate to feel hungry going into a training session yet don't want to eat too much that I feel full and heavy.
What's your favorite cheat food & drink?
I'm a chocoholic so anything chocolate based. I also do like fizzy drinks (Diet Coke in particular) so a little treat now and again would always involve these. I'm actually not too strict about my diet as I believe your body often tells you what you need to eat and drink and if I have a certain craving I won't deprive myself of it.
Do you like ice baths? Why or why not?
I do ice bath at major championships as I do everything I can do to recover for the next round. I don't overuse this recovery strategy though as it's important for the body to find its own natural way to recover and develop. I always have to wear socks in the ice bath though as I cannot stand the cold to my extremities. I have often thought I am going to get frostbite without having socks on.
What's the most important tip you like to give new runners?
Focus on yourself and your short term goals. It can feel daunting if you concentrate on longer term goals as they can feel so far away and unachievable so to break it down into shorter phases keeps motivation and helps track progression.
What is your favorite running accomplishment so far?
It has to be my Bronze medal at the World Champs in Berlin in 2009 as it was unexpected by many and was one of those career changing moments. To achieve something like that made me realise how important it is to work hard and have perseverance. Many people never achieve their potential as they don't continue on the path long enough.
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