Interview with Emily –  The Sub 3 Hour Marathoner

As part of my blog I (MM) believe it’s important to share common and similar experiences. I’d like to introduce you to Emily (EP) who talks about the positive impact running has in her life.

MM: Why do you run and why do you continue to do it?

EP: I’m very competitive with myself and that’s what keeps me doing it. I love that you can put your trainers on any time of the day and do whatever distance or pace you want. You don’t have to drive to somewhere specific at a certain time of day on only certain days of the week. There is a huge feeling of freedom when it comes to running.


MM: You have a great social media presence, especially on Instagram. If you could accomplish anything via social media what would it be?

EP: When I first started using Instagram it was to find running motivational quotes to help me get through hard training days or long runs. Eventually I started to upload the ones that I used that day for my runs then after a while people were messaging me all over the world telling me how much I was inspiring them for their runs! A lady from Australia tagged me in a post the other week to tell me it was because of my post that she saw that day was why she went for her evening run! If I am helping other people find the motivation to keep active then that makes me happy.


MM: What was your worst and best races and what did you learn from them?

EP: My worst was Brighton Marathon 2015. I had an amazing 16 week training block before race day, running up to 90 miles a week, I broke 80 minutes for the first time in a half marathon during training and ran 2 x 20 miles at target marathon race pace, I knew I was on for a fantastic PB on marathon day. Race day soon came and, off we went. Only 1 mile in I stepped awkwardly off a curb and rolled my ankle but I kept going, I started to feel a pain in my lower right leg, it didn’t feel like a pain I’d felt before, it was coming from the bone. I kept going hoping it would go away but it got worse. At 6 miles I saw my coach (Allison Benton), she cycled alongside me for a bit and I told her I had a pain in my leg, she told me to stop and stretch my calf if it hurt that much, I stopped and stretched for 15 seconds, then I couldn’t even walk! I was in 3rd female place at that point and on target for a 2:45 marathon but I had to give it up. I was absolutely devastated to find out I had broken my fibula bone during the first mile! But it has made me a stronger person. In order for that to happen, my best race came in the same year! I was lucky enough to be able to cross train while my bone healed. I could cycle and do strength training pain free. So I worked hard and kept motivated (using those motivational quotes helped me a lot!) as soon as I could run, my coach set me up with just a 12 week schedule and we picked a half marathon target race (Cardiff Half marathon 2015) and I just ticked off every days training set out by Allison and I ran another 1 minute PB for 1 hour 18 minutes. In the same year I broke my leg!


MM: What does a normal training week look like for you?

EP: During marathon training typical week for me:

  • Monday: am 10 miles steady pace (6:50-7:00 min mile pace) + 5-6 miles easy after work.
  • Tuesday: am hard training session set by my coach (Allison Benton) could be something like 4 x 8 minutes @ 10k race pace with 2 minute jog recoveries. Plus easy 5-6 mile run after work.
  • Wednesday: am 9 mile easy run plus 5 mile easy run after work.
  • Thursday am: another hard training session for example 8 x 1k @ 5k race pace with 90 seconds jog recoveries plus 5 miles easy pm.
  • Friday rest day.
  • Saturday at the moment is usually a marathon pace session e.g. anything between 10-20 miles @ target marathon pace.
  • Sunday: long run (anything between 2-3 hours easy pace).


MM: In addition to your running what else do you do to help improve your performance?

EP: I use a foam roller a lot, (look up the High Roller, @highrollerofficialuk it is fantastic for runners!!) and do a lot of stretches and strength and conditioning. I try to get a sports massage when I can too!


MM: What races are on your bucket list?

EP: I’ve always wanted to run the London Marathon, every year when I was young I would watch it with my dad and then when I started running in 2010 it has always been on my bucket list – I’m doing it this year in April! My mum has a place in Spain and I go out there often so I would love to find a race over there to do too!


MM: During the marathon what do you think about to keep focused, and what mental techniques do you use to keep yourself motivated in the tough moments?

EP: I often think about the main goal, the target time I’m training for and I picture myself in that race, in that moment and how it will feel when its done. When it hurts during hard sessions I tell myself over and over “if it was easy, everyone would do it.”


MM: What one lesson which you’ve learnt in running, which you can apply to your life?

EP: “When everything feels like an uphill struggle, just think of the view from the top.” – There will always be tough times in your life but you can choose how to deal with those situations and that has a massive impact on how you overcome the bad times.


Instagram: emily_proto_runner

Twitter: emilyproto

Allison Benton Training Group: abtraininggroup 

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