54KM ULTRA MARATHON? SMASHED IT.
Back in May, before we launched our exclusive virtual 12-week training plan by SKINS Head Running Coach, we gave SCA members the chance to win one-on-one virtual coaching with Coach Joshua himself. Now that the training plan is over, we had the chance to chat with winner Tim to see how he got on.
Q: What motivates you to run?
A: I have been running for several years, mostly to keep fit and stay in shape, however during lockdown I really started to invest more time and dedication into running. I am motivated to beat my personal records as well as run longer distances. Particularly during lockdown, with activities limited, I was motivated to get out into the countryside on longer runs.
Q: How did Coach Joshua's training help?
A: Josh's training helped me to structure my workouts in a way that helped me overcome an injury at the start of the training plan, as well as improve my speedwork which ultimately resulted in beating my PB for a half marathon. By mixing up the training, it was varied and really enjoyable which kept things fresh.
Q: What did you enjoy most about Coach Joshua's training?
A: The speed/tempo sessions were really enjoyable for me. I have never really concentrated on intervals before so by adding this to my weekly workout, really kept things interesting and I enjoyed seeing myself improve over the weeks. Additionally, Josh's attention to past training, nutrition and recovery was really helpful.
Q: What did you least enjoy about the training?
A: I can honestly say there wasn't anything I didn't enjoy about the training plan. The only issue I had to begin with was a niggly injury which really affected the distance I could run, however Josh helped me manage this and whilst it hasn't 100% gone away, it was manageable, and I achieved exactly what I'd set out to do.
Q: What kind of coach was Joshua?
A: Josh is a very knowledgeable coach who is hands on enough, though gives you time and space to get on with the workouts. His attention to detail was excellent and his tips were invaluable in helping me achieve my goals.
Q: How did you feel about virtual training?
A: Whilst this may be less hands on than face to face training, it was really useful. Josh kept in contact on a regular basis several times a week, giving me pointers which helped. He would often give me a running plan in one week blocks which meant I was fully focused on the week ahead and didn't get too far ahead of myself.
Q: How do you feel you progressed over the 12-weeks?
A: At first progress felt rather slow as I was coming back from an injury, however I achieved my goal of finishing an ultra-marathon and after this I never looked back. It gave me a lot of confidence going into the second 6 weeks where more tempo and speed work was introduced. By the end of the 12 weeks, I achieved a half marathon PB and felt I was a better runner than I have possibly ever been!
Q: What was the most challenging thing you overcame in your training?
A: As mentioned, I was recovering from a painful injury to my right foot which was likely to be a knotted calf muscle. With some recovery advice from Josh, I slowly increased my distance prior to the ultra-marathon and recovered well enough to not only finish the 54km distance, but place in the top 3.
Q: What Compression Leggings do you wear?
A: I use SKINS DNAmic Force Compression Long Tights.
Q: When do you wear your SKINS?
A: Initially I purchased SKINS for winter running, however I have found that they aid my recovery, particularly on longer runs or during harder workouts. As a result, I have a couple of pairs and wear them on every single run I go out for.
Q: How did your SKINS help you?
A: They helped keep my legs warm during the winter monthly to begin with, however following my injury a few months ago, I felt they helped minimise discomfort and aided recovery. I rarely feel stiff the day after a long or hard workout now.
Q: What were you training for with Coach Joshua? Do you think having something to train for helps?
A: Definitely. Having a goal to work towards is certainly a motivating factor for me. It ensures my training remains on track and I have a structured plan to work with. I was training for a 54km ultra-marathon in June and then a half marathon which took place in August.
Q: How did the ultra go?
A: I considered my ultra to be very successful. It was my first so I wasn't sure what to expect, particularly as it was a lap race. Thanks to Josh's help, I feel I nailed my nutrition really well and felt I could have gone on for at least another 10 or 20km! I surpassed my goal time of 5 hours for 50km and finished 3rd. The downs experienced such as hitting 'the wall' after around 35km were far outweighed by the experience itself and the end result.
Q: What was your PB that you achieved?
A: I achieved a PB of the longest distance ever run (54km) and managed 50km ahead of my 5-hour target. I also achieved a PB during my half-marathon by more than 6 minutes!
Q: How did it feel to get that PB?
A: I was stoked to achieve 3rd in the ultra-marathon and felt really good afterwards. This definitely gave me a lot of confidence to enter other ultra-marathons in the future. I was very confident going into the half-marathon, though had plenty of pre-race nerves on the day. Again, I was so happy to achieve this and have my sights set on a sub 85 min half over the next 12 months.
Q: What's next on the agenda?
A: I have entered into the Great South Run in mid-October with the hope of getting another PB! Next year, I've got aspirations of entering some trail runs and also complete a 50 mile or 100km ultra.