Interview with a runner – Russell James

Russell James is a barefoot runner from Killarney, a rural town of 250 letterboxes S E of Warwick, QLD, Australia on the foothills of the great divide just below the main range national park.

When Russell isn’t running he has an Urban farm setup where he supplies organic produce from a roadside stall and

markets. Russell and his partner also run a mobile event food van specialising in Allergen free plant-based foods, you can check out his business at Spudelicious.
Russell has personal bests over the following distances;
Half marathon  1.27.10
10k                     40.03
5k                       20.12
Thanks for spending some time with us Russell.

1. How long have you been running, and how did you start?

I started running as part of getting into triathlon. I was coming off the back of a long illness from a brain parasite that I contracted and I was looking for a sport that would get me fit.
That was back when I was 37 years old which is 24 years ago now. Apart from a time that I had a severely broken and shattered toe joint I have been running ever since then.

2. What running achievement are you most proud of?

I think what would come to mind would be representing Australia for the world championship triathlon event in Canada.
It wasn’t my best run as per times though, as I was the third Australian home in my age group and 33rd way down the list as an international competitor but representing Australia was a real blast.
Another running achievement that I am always proud of is someone coming up to me after the run and commenting how I can run so well in bare feet.

3. What is your biggest tip to becoming a successful runner?

I think as is any secret to successful outcomes is to understand the “why” of what you do.
 For me it was a desire to get well and fit, over the successive years it has changed its value and meaning to fit into more of a lifestyle choice and activities.
So for me, the stage of what I regard as ” successful running”  that I am in, I would sum up with the saying ” I’m not in it for the medal haul I’m in it for the long haul.”
The practical bio-mechanics of being a successful runner that I would put forward is getting your form right and all the running mechanics lined up before you start to stack on the kilometres. I would without any hesitation make the suggestion to a new runner to do barefoot foot strengthening and joint mobility work coupled with core strength work before you start to put trash miles on bad form.

4. What is your favourite training session?

It depends on what cycle of training that I am in.
Though I have not trained seriously for a number of years, it doesn’t mean I am not competitive but for me to train hard, my favourite training session needs other people to push me on 400m repeats around the track preferably grass.
This I find really helps me to sharpen up on the top end speed, yet, at the same time brings together the base work I like to do as strength work which I like as hill ( trail ) running.

5. How do you stay motivated when you don’t want to run?

I think this question brings you back to the “why”  you run.  For me running, mobility, fitness, plant-based nutrition are lifestyle choices which underpin my desire for healthy active ageing.
Running is part of the quest I have taken on, to be using this life I’ve been given to its maximum potential in this physical sheath that has been given to me.
Understanding there are cycles in all things and ebbs and flows within life, how you deal with ” lack of motivation” means at some stages if I’m not motivated to get out the door for a run its no big deal, pick it up the next week, the next day, the next month, whatever ………  I’m in it for the long haul.

6. What are your favourite running shoes?

Tricky question, I have been through many varieties of minimalist running sandal never really finding one that I liked, I tried Merrill as a minimalist shoe but there were a few things about them that didn’t suit me.
At the moment I am using a pair of Altra lone peak trail running shoes but most times I prefer to run barefoot.
Though I am looking for a good 5K running flat that I can use when I need an A race effort.

7. What are your goals for the future?

How far do you want to project into the future for this answer but I have consistently stated that a future goal for my running activity is to hold a world title for the 5K track championships for the 90-year-old age division.
Apart from that, I would like to be able to encourage as many people as I can to spend more time barefoot and to engage in an active lifestyle that is full of functional movement and healthy compassionate nutritional choices.
The best way I know how to do this is lead by example of healthy ageing and to be available to share any useful information I may have learned on the way. My last couple of years of parkrun have been a mixed bag of results as overall times but I have been generally in the top 3 age group finishers most runs I think it’s up to 63 last I looked.
We were doing a 50 in 50 challenge  that was 50 parkruns in 50 weekends  which we posted on our youtube channel  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLh1yQBA5WcPAeVX4yjy8eL24Kp4HxkKy1 , but in February 2017 my youngest son was killed in a car accident and life took a different turn for us and we moved out here to Killarney where we are now.
We have been supporters and race ambassadors for the Warwick pentath race …. next year I want to have a good crack at the 10k hill ascent so I am putting back on the “serious” training hat.
Thanks ever so much for your time and for detailing your running career. Good luck with your running in the future, achieving your goals in the future. If you’d like to follow Russell’s running journey be sure to follow him on Strava at Russell James and Instagram @wattzupsport. 

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Interview with a runner – Melissa Ensink

 

Melissa Ensink is a runner from Melbourne, Australia and a six time marathon finisher. Melissa is also an accomplished yoga teacher and vegan. Melissa recently ran the Canberra marathon in April and is currently training for her home marathon in Melbourne in October.

Melissa has personal best times at the following distances;

Marathon PB – 3:54:58

30km PB – 2:33:30

Half marathon PB – 1:45:08

10km PB – 48:24

5km PB – 23:45

 

How long have you been running, and how did you start?

I was always a runner back in school, from as early as grade 3 I was competitive in athletics and cross country. My events were 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m relay. I also did cross country and although ‘long distance’ running wasn’t a natural gift, I did okay and was a part of a pretty successful cross country team in secondary school. This was mainly due to two of the runners in our team being very competitive at state and national levels. For a few of my teenage years, back in my home town, I was also a boundary umpire for the local football leagues. At the time, I loved footy and thought it was the best thing to get paid to run and watch footy – even if it was raining. After school I didn’t continue any formal training and just ran to keep fit and healthy and also for the positive mental health effects.

I decided I wanted to run a half marathon back in 2012 but after I injured my knee playing netball, I didn’t get around to this until August 2013 – Sandy Point Half Marathon. My training consisted of running one or two of the same loops near my house, and timing it with a fake purple Casio watch I got in Thailand for $3. After that I got more focused on my running, bought my first Garmin watch, completed a proper training plan and ran my first marathon.

What running achievement are you most proud of?

Finishing the Honolulu Marathon is my favourite running memory to date and I was proud to just finish. My training went really well but a few weeks out I injured my hip and was barely able to walk! With the right rest and guidance, I was able to run again and complete the marathon. It wasn’t fast and certainly not pain free but totally worth it.

What is your biggest tip to becoming a successful runner?

For me it is being organised and having a structured plan. If I haven’t set out what I will do for the week, I probably won’t do it. I like to know in advance what mileage I am shooting for and what workouts I will do.

If I am not training for a particular race, things are less structured but I still have a general idea of what I would like to do that week or phase. Mixing up training and events to keep things interesting is also important.

What is your favourite training session?

At the moment I am enjoying kilometre repeats. for example: 2km warm up, 4x1km @10km or HM pace (depending on the day) with 0.5km easy in between. 2km cool down. Distance and pace might vary depending on the day or where I am in the training cycle.

How do you stay motivated when you don’t want to run?

Instead of relying on motivation, I am clear on my ‘why’, make the commitment to my goals and my training and stay disciplined in this pursuit. In an ordinary week, I would say half the time I am super motivated and pumped to run, and the rest of the time I would rather do other things. But I know that the work has to be done to get closer to my goals. I also tell myself when I can’t be bothered running that I will feel so much better afterwards which always ends up being true!

What are your favourite running shoes?

I used to love the Mizuno Sayonara but they’ve stopped making them. So I am on the lookout for a new favourite. This year I am testing the Asics Cumulus and Nike Lunarglide.

What are your goals for the future?

My overall goal is to be running for as long as I can, hopefully into old age. Right now my main goal is to run the Boston Marathon, so I am trying to get a qualifying time in the next 6-8 months. I would also like to run a marathon in every state in Australia and on every continent of the world.

Thanks for taking the time out of your schedule for this interview Melissa. If you wish to keep up to date with Melissa on her running journey you can follow her at pranarunning or on instagram also at pranarunning. Thanks again Melissa and good luck in the future.

 


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Interview with a runner – Alasdair McGill

Alasdair McGill is a runner from Inchture, Scotland in the United Kingdom. Alisdair is an accomplished Professional Accountant and public speaker and is a relative late bloomer in the running world. In a short period of time he has completed a number of impressive races culminating in his first marathon at last years Loch Ness Marathon in Scotland.
Alasdair’s personal bests are;
10K- 46:09
Half- 1:45:42
Marathon- 4:01:59
How long have you been running, and how did you start?
I raced a bike for 10 years, towards the end I was racing cyclocross over the winter, and in cross you do a bit of running as part of your training. At the end of the 2014 season I decided to keep running and entered the Edinburgh half marathon. I’d never run before, so it was a big challenge, but I loved it and eventually did several races in 2015 including 2 half marathons.
However there was still a part of me that missed the bike, so in 2016 I spent more time riding & racing than running, but I got it out of my system. Since the Spring of 2017 I’ve been focused on running and hardly touched the bike!
What running achievement are you most proud of?
I ran my first marathon at the end of 2017, it was the hardest sporting thing I’ve ever done. My target time was 3:45, and I was on track until around mile 18 when the wheels came off. I limped round in 4:01. But I loved training for it, the anticipation and then the experience on the day. I’m looking forward to going sub-4 in 2019 when I’ll do my next one.
What is your biggest tip to becoming a successful runner?
It has to be consistency. As Des Linden says, keep showing up. Make running part of your daily routine, then it becomes something you just do. As well as making you a better runner, it will also make you a better human – it will keep you fit and is good for your mental health.
What is your favourite training session?
I do like a good tempo session. At the moment we’ve moved up to 3 x 10 minutes, after doing 4 x 8 minutes the past couple of weeks. These are good sessions that build endurance and get you used to harder efforts. I’d best describe them as sessions where you’re comfortably uncomfortable…..
How do you stay motivated when you don’t want to run?
It’s really not something I have a problem with. I rarely have mornings (I do most of my training at 6am), where I don’t want to get up, but when that does happen all I have to do is think about the goals I’ve set myself an that will get me up. I think goals are important in life, and certainly in sport. I’ve competed most of my life (it was golf until I started cycling), so I know that if I want to get better I have to put the work in.
What are your favourite running shoes?
I’ve always run in Brooks shoes. Bought my first pair from Run4It, the local running store and I’ve just stuck with them. I started our in Glycerins, had several pairs of those, had a pair of Ghosts, but they wore out too quickly. At the end of 2017 I bought a pair of Launch 4s, really liked them, so I’m now onto my 4th pair. I also have a pair of Brooks Hyperion racing flats that I use for 5k & 10k races.
What are your goals for the future?
I’m still a novice at this running lark, so it’s all about steady improvement. I’ll be 50 next year, and doing my second marathon, so I want to go sub 4 hours. Ideally 3:45. Beyond that, I simply want to stay injury-free and enjoy my running.

Ali documents his running and professional life in his blog at alasdairmcgill.com and his instagram @ali_mcgill. You can also follow his training on strava at Alasdair McGill.
Thanks for your time Alasdair and good luck with your future running goals.

Interview with a runner – Amanda Moore

Amanda Moore is a runner from Dallas, Texas. Amanda is a very good runner with an impressive list of personal bests. Amanda runs in a combination of her Vibram Five fingers and minimal racing flats and is also a high mileage runner putting in some big mileage weeks through the extremes of the Texas summers and winters.

Amanda’s list of personal best times are as follows;

5k 19:01
10k 40:32
8 mile 52:12
15k 1:01:40
Half 1:29:17
Full 3:26:50

Amanda was kind enough to answer a few questions about her running.

How long have you been running, and how did you start?

I ran track at a young age and had much success in the 400 meters, the 800 meters, and high jump at both a State and National level, but a stress fracture and life threw me off track which ultimately ended my track career. It didn’t, however, change the fact that running was in my blood, so, years later in 2011, when I read the book Born to Run, I felt driven to get out there and start again. At 25 years old, I began my journey as a long distance runner. I started out slow and ran only a few miles at a time. After a couple of months, I signed up for a half marathon and gradually began increasing my weekly mileage. Looking back, when I signed up for the half, I was hooked.

What running achievement are you most proud of?

Tough question… I am most proud of my first sub 1:30 half marathon in December 2015. I set the goal of running sub 1:30 by the end of the year in January 2015. I trained hard, raced hard, and pushed myself all year to reach that goal. At that time, my long distance running career had included no formal training, no coach, no written out training plans or race strategies. When I crossed the finish line in 1:29:44, I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I cried. Reaching that goal meant so much to me, and while that is not my fastest time, or “biggest” achievement, that is the achievement I am most proud of.

What is your biggest tip to becoming a successful runner?

Believe you can. Work hard. And don’t give up!

What is your favourite training session?

It’s a toss up between Summer and Fall, but I think I’ll go with summer. I love to sweat, and I love working hard. Summer in Texas is no joke. It’s hot. It’s humid. Sometimes a break from the heat is nice, but overall, it’s my favorite training season because I know I am putting in hard work that will pay off in the fall racing season. Most of the summer is base training for me which includes hill repeats, 200 meter repeats, relatively short tempo runs, 16-20 mile long runs, 5k’s, and high weekly mileage (60-80 miles per week on average).

How do you stay motivated when you don’t want to run?

I think of my goals and remind myself that I feel better when I stay on track. Most of the time, if I just get out there and start to run, the hesitation, doubt, and dread fade away, and the desire to run kicks back in.

What are your favourite running shoes?

New Balance Hanzo Racing Flats, Vibram Five Fingers KSO Evo, Mizuno Wave Universe 5. All minimalist shoes! I currently race and train the most in the New Balance Hanzo Racing Flats.

What are your goals for the future?

As for time goals…to run a sub 3:00 Marathon, a 1:20 Half Marathon, and a sub 19:00 5k
Another goal of mine is to place in the top 3 in a Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series Half or Full.

Thanks for your time Amanda.

If you want to follow Amanda’s running journey you can find her training and racing logged on her blog at irunelite.com. Amanda is honest and open in her blog and it is always entertaining reading.

You can also catch her on Facebook at I am a Runner, Instagram at @irunelite.com and Strava under Amanda Moore.

Thanks again to Amanda for her time and good luck with your running goals in the future.

 


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