Tim is a bit like the cool kid at school that somehow you ended up being friends with. I am so totally in awe of his running that sometimes I do wonder how we ever got talking. But that, you see, is the joy of a running club. I have met people with such a range of ability and experience that I now get to hang out with the cool kids (even if I can’t keep up with them).
Even better than the kudos I get from standing next to Tim though is how humble he is about it. He doesn’t care about how fast everyone is (his Garmin takes care of that). He cares about how everyone’s training is going, how they feel they are improving and how much they are enjoying themselves. He also cares about how good your banter is during hill reps.
Having knocked his 10K time down from 50mins to 38mins in under 2 years he is a prime example of what you can acheive by training hard at a sport that you enjoy. As a result he has sort of become a running hero of mine. He completed his marathon debut in under 3:20:00 last year and has set himself a sub-90mins target for Berlin. I have every faith in him.
How long have you been running and why did you start?
I’ve always done some running but in about Feb 2010 I gradually started to run more and more as a substitute for playing football. Now I can’t believe I didn’t start running sooner.
You only recently joined a club. What kind of a difference has this made to your training and how you feel about your running?
Joining a club was the one of the best decisions I’ve made in years. The encouragement, advice and new found friendships that have come my way since joining have simply made running so much more enjoyable and that has breathed new life into my training. With the club I have learnt so much to enable me to train with a lot of variety and there are weeks in which I’ll run over 50miles so variety is everything. The group runs I can participate in at the club are excellent as they ensure I train at a pace that challenges me, something I find very tough to do by myself. The one thing that really stands out is the team aspect, I’ve always loved team sports and didn’t really know running could be one, but now I’ve ran in relays, leagues and cross country competitions as part of a team, it’s by far my favourite element of joining a club.
What’s your best running acheivement to date?
I would say that generally sticking at it is an achievement. I’ve had some fine individual runs, I ran a massively satisfying PB for the 10K last year, which I was thrilled with. I also remember a 5mile race at Battersea Park where I really felt I’d made progress after seeing my time. To just be running so much is my favourite achievement, I genuinely feel like I’ve achieved something if I sit back at the end of a week and look back at all the runs I’ve done.
And what’s your favourite running memory?
My favourite memory is probably from a club race last summer. It was a great day and I was pleased with my run in the 10K but then I was asked to take part in the men’s relay. As I was handed the baton we were in first place and I set off on my lap, about half way around I could hear seriously quick footsteps and the distinctive breathing of another runner, I had a quick look behind me and realised I had been chased down by a kid half my age. I had to summon all my energy and barely managed to hold him off.
I like this memory because the fact I’d been put under so much pressure from a rather scrawny youngster delighted my teammates and the ensuing banter really made me feel like I had settled in amongst the longer serving members of my club.
That kid was quick though, I remember the Hampstead Heath Parkrun on Christmas Eve, the top 3 finishers were all juniors. I was timing, and watching them sprint over the finish line has to be another of my favourite memories.
You’re planning to run the Berlin HM in the run up to a grown-up size marathon sometime in the Spring. Will you be running all out, or just testing your marathon pace?
I’m still deciding when it comes to running a full marathon in the spring but regardless of that I’ll be going to Berlin to run a good time. I’ve set myself a quite ambitious target and I’ll have to attack it from the off if I’m going to be successful.
What does your training consist of at the moment and what will you change/add in the next few months?
I made the decision to start 2012 with 50miles per week running, split between a lot of road running and a few sessions a week of threshold training as well as a lot of hill work. This is basically the same sort of running I’ve been doing since I joined the club, I’m just keen to be a bit more organised with when I run so there’s no danger of letting my mileage slip. Hill running will feature more than in the past, combined with a few track sessions I think this will be the biggest addition to my training. Eventually I’ll attempt to build my weekly mileage up to around 65, which should be fun.
Fave time/place to run?
My favourite place to run is anywhere with hills. As for the time, I just like it when it’s cool, so morning or night… a bit of rain is quite nice too.
What do you think about when you’re running?
When I run I actually think about running. I think about my hands and if they’re clenched and my foot speed. I never run with music, I think the sound of your breathing is good indicator of how hard you’re working. Occasionally I’ll hit a running sweet spot in which everything from head-to-toe is working together efficiently and that’s when I’ll relax and probably think about things like what movie I’ll watch next… or food, lots of food.
What’s it like to be so fast?…
I know that I’m a decent runner and have some quick times but it’s genuinely about the enjoyment of running for me. When I began to take running a bit more seriously back in 2010 I was thrilled to run a 10K in 50mins and the enjoyment I get from running one in 38mins now is exactly the same so the speed doesn’t come into it too much for me, I still want to improve but my health and happiness are much more important and both have improved since I began to run.