Richard Hughes from July 2009
How did you get into running and why?
I started running about 10 years ago when I reached 18.5 stone, and had started to struggle to bend down to tie my own shoelaces. Initially I ran on the treadmill at a gym and then later joined the Quakers. In those days it was a small club, and was mainly faster runners – and I often struggled to hang onto the back of the group running out to sessions. In the first few years I did nothing like enough training and one year had the pleasure of coming dead last in the Darlington 10K .
What kept you going when you first started running?
For a couple of years I coached the 8 – 11 year olds – which got me into a routine of coming to the club twice a week, even though I thought 3 miles constituted a long run – but then I luckily (!) got a place in the London Marathon, had to step up my training, and found I liked the longer distances. I was spurred on when I was told by another runner that I was not ready for a marathon yet. He was probably right but I couldn’t resist a challenge like that, an have now run a dozen marathons.
How much training do you typically do?
It varies a lot – and since I now compete in Triathlon as well as Running events I have to split it between swimming, running and biking but in a typical week I usually train on six days and do 3 or 4 runs totalling up to about 40 miles.
Be honest, do you enjoy training ?
Most of the time – but I hate getting up at 5:30 am to fit in a swim on my way to work – where I end up turning up late smelling of chlorine.
What are you currently in training for and what does your training entail?
I am currently training for UK Ironman triathlon – a 2.4 mile swim , 112 mile bike ride followed by a marathon. I am tapering now as the race is only a week away but at the peak I was doing about 20 hours a week of total training. Apart from my long bike ride on a saturday and long run on a Sunday my usual routine involved getting in a six mile loop on the way to the Club training sessions.
What type of race do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy the longer distances – and also enjoy hills. I find I get sluggish on flat courses, but the downhill sections on an undulating course seem to get my legs going again.
What’s your idea of running heaven?
Carbo-loading before a race ; I also like the challenge of training for something that I am really not sure that I can do
What’s your idea of running hell?
5K races – I have only ever done one and that was enough, I just don’t like running that fast
Any advice to newcomers?
Take it slowly, and build the distance and speed up gradually – you have got years of racing ahead of you provided you stay injury free. Also to take the time to build a good aerobic base and get in some long runs to balance all the speedwork we do at the club
How do you prepare for a race?
I am usually focused on one main event, and for an Ironman this means a 5 to 6 month training program. While I do run other races I have to treat these more like fast training events so that I can still get in my long runs without being too tired. Often I end up running these how I feel on the day so my times can vary a lot – and it can be very frustrating having to hold back.
Was there any one at the club who was a big help when you first joined?
Lots of people – But I have been especially lucky in that my wife ( Diane ) runs as well – in fact she started before me and nagged me into joining the Quakers, and it means I always have someone to do my long runs with .
Apple, Banana or Mars bar in your ideal goodie bag?
Mars bar I am afraid – but I do save the sweets and chocolate for when I am running and try to eat healthily the rest of the time.