Some questions answered (and some answers questioned!)

I was nominated last week to answer a few questions about running:

1. Would you prefer to run along a beach trail or mountain trail?

Mountain trail. Better views, and the sand is a killer on the legs. And it hangs around for weeks in your gear too.

2. If you could choose the flavour of Gatorade at your next race’s aid stations, what would it be?

Full Irish Breakfast! No, not really, plain water is better. Three sips from the cup and the rest over your head.

3. If you are given a $100 gift card for a running store, what would you purchase with it?

At the moment, possibly shorts, or maybe a gizmo of some description, like a down-payment on a Garmin watch (that I don’t need).

4.Do you prefer to use a training plan or wake up and then decide how far or fast you want to run?

Depends. If there’s a race coming up, I’m already on a programme, and quite enjoy being told what to do. Otherwise, yes, there is a freedom in running whenever, however and for how long you wish.

5.Would you rather start your run with the uphill and end with the downhill or start your run with the downhill and end with the uphill?

Uphill at the start, but then where we live, it’s always uphill at the start, so I’m used to it. Mind you, don’t underestimate how tricky running downhill is.

6. When you can’t run, what kind of cross-training do you choose to do?

As I’m doing a triathlon, it feels like life at the minute is one big cross-trainer. Coming from a running background, it’s interesting to be swimming and biking twice a week on top of the running. If I can get to the gym once a week in addition, that’s something of a miracle. I have a rough gym programme worked out with a mix of free weights and resistance exercises. It looks great. On paper…

7.What is your preference –> out and back, point to point, or loop runs?

Life is a loop. Stick with that!

8.If you could recommend ANY running related item to a new runner it would be?

I second the app suggestion that’s been mentioned, but then again, I would also advise beginners to steer clear of the tyranny of the marketing that has consumed exercising (and I’m a gizmo kind of person!). What do we need to run, really? Just a pair of runners and some comfortable clothes. Get those first. Run. Enjoy it. Don’t lose time timing yourself. Sure, nothing gives you a little buzz of confidence quite like a snazzy pair of shorts or new running top with ‘go-faster’ stripes down the side, but don’t let that become more important than getting out there and running. What we really need is the ability to create a little time and space in our busy lives to grab that half hour for a quick jog. Maybe that’s not a running related item, but without it, all the gear is secondary (and may end up reposing in the bottom of a kit bag).

9.Do you see any wild animals while out on your runs?

Often buzzards and ravens from the off. We’re lucky here in that we live about 18kms west of Dublin, and though it’s a big town by Irish standards, we have a great park on our doorstep and plenty of open space all around. In the park, we have a wet meadow with some Highland cattle, which are hugely photogenic. Every season has its thing. At the moment, in the playing fields, for example, swallows scream past your ear as you do loops of the pitches. I don’t blame them!

10.Ever gotten lost while out on a run?

I recall jogging in France once, when we were on holidays and I was probably training for a Marathon. I was in a park of sorts with lots of paths. I think it was more luck than anything that got me home. I should probably add that I was extremely hungover but that’s another story…

11. If you could have one meal waiting and ready for you each time you got home from a run for the next 30 days… what would it be?

That suggests someone has prepared it for you. I think for a lot of runners out there, the very suggestion of such a thing would guarantee that whatever meal you had would be your Last Supper. But if I had to suffer the same thing for a month, it would have to be something very simple. Smoothie, then. That’s a meal, in a glass! 😉

12.Capris or shorts? What do you run in most?

Ok, I had to look that up. Shorts.

13. At what mile (or how many minutes) into your run does your body start to feel like it is warming up and ready to go?

The older I get, the longer it takes. It’s easily a couple of kilometres now. I should probably stretch before a run, but I always figured the best warm up for a jog was a jog.

14. What do you do with your key when you run?

I’m running loops from my house, so keys are not a problem. When I’m park running, we all dump our keys in a box at the start. But the odd time I have to do something with car keys, behind the wheel arch is about the only place that works for me. My car is 13 years old. I’m not too stressed about it really.

15.If you could re-live any race that you have done in the past, which one?

It’s tempting to answer that with some esoteric fluff about ‘the next one’ being your most important race, yada yada. But I can’t imagine wanting to re-run a race in reality. I suppose my second marathon was interesting in that I stuck to a programme and hit my target. But the truth is I would find it more interesting to occupy my own mind for about five hours, given that it’s fourteen years ago, whilst I relived the race. What was going through my head fourteen years ago? No clue. I can’t remember fourteen hours ago…

16. What type of run is your least favourite?

All types of run are interesting in their own right; the long endurance ‘put the miles on the legs’ runs, the tempo runs, the fartlek, the intervals, the hills… I’ll twist the answer by saying the least favourite is when you come home in worst form than when you set out. That’s a rare thing. But it can happen.

17. When you go for a run, do you leave from your front door or drive somewhere to start?

Front door (well, back door, but home).

18. When running in daylight, are sunglasses a must or an annoyance?

An annoyance, but in high summer (in Ireland? that’s hilarious!) it’s handy if you are running by a river, or in the woods, as a bug in your eye can stop you in your tracks. After the half-marathon in Clare last weekend, our faces were like splattered windshields…

When you get tired, what keeps you from quitting?

Pig ignorant stubbornness. I guess we’re all trying to prove something. My mate reckons all triathletes and endurance athletes are running away from something. I like to think it’s more like we are running towards it.


P.S. I won’t pass this particular baton (in terms of nominations) on to the very few people I know in the blogging community; I’m new here, and don’t have that many acquaintances. So apologies for that, but of course, if you read this and feel the urge to do your own Q&A, then work away. I appreciate the nod, though.

And as a sort of addendum to the training thing, Lidl are doing the gel packs again. Great value for 9.99, so if you are planning half or full marathons, or longer endurance runs, or triathlons, get down and grab a box before they’re all gone.

Lidl are doing boxes of gels again. Score!
Lidl are doing boxes of gels again. Score!
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