A few tips from my running hero
Sometimes writing up my own adventures isn’t enough. Sometimes ditch the treadmill needs a hero. So for all of you training for the London Marathon, or any other races, I interviewed a friend of mine who has transformed himself in to an athlete on the verge of elite status, Jason Cherriman.
Jason enjoyed running at school, but when he got to university he enjoyed booze and smoking and making cocktails more (he can throw the bottles about and everything). A couple of years after university, he found himself carrying some unwanted flab. It was time for a change. Running felt like the answer.
Since then he’s become one of the top 200 marathoners in the country. He’s run five marathons, his latest in an eye-popping 2 hours and 39 minutes. That means every single mile at a pace of six minutes and four seconds. To give you a frame of reference, I can’t even run one mile in that time, let alone 26. “I felt comfortable all the way,” he says matter-of-factly, as if it’s not one of the most impressive things I’ve ever heard.
In 2010 he aimed to run 2010 miles. He did that and then some, actually covering 2325 miles. That’s as well as having a few weeks off for Christmas and to get married.
As you can probably tell by the obvious tinge of awe in this write up, I am more than a little inspired by such stories. I asked him all about motivation and drive. What gets you out to train every day? How do you convince yourself to do it even when it’s dark and rainy and cold?
His advice? Give yourself no option. The challenge, apparently, is in not thinking about what you’re about to do until you’re already out the door. You’ll always come back feeling better than when you went out, so you just need to get out there.
He also says it helps to have something to aim for – book yourself in for a race. If you don’t, it’s easier to make excuses. Once you have something to train for, every excuse makes race day harder or slows you down.
Jason’s love of running has a lot to do with watching himself improve with every bit of effort he puts in. We can all run. OK, Jason must possess a certain level of natural aptitude, but a great deal of his success is how much effort he’s put in. There are some sports where you need an innate talent – the day someone can get me to throw a javelin much beyond my own foot will be the day the devil sets up office in an igloo, for example – but with running anyone can get themselves to a pretty good level with enough effort. That I can get on board with.
And when it all goes right on race day, it is poetry: “You feel fit and you know you’re going fast and doing well. Everything comes together,” he tells me.
I interviewed Jason to inspire any marathon runners in training who read this blog, but it sprinkled some water on a little seed that’s been threatening to germinate for me for a while. I’ve wanted to try a big race for some time, but I kept getting injured and giving up. When I got home after our chat, I signed up immediately for a race later this year. No excuses. Just get on with it. I will do everything I need to do to make it happen.
Thank you, Jason, and good luck with London. Here’s to another extremely well deserved personal best.
For any of you who fancy sponsoring him, here’s how: www.justgiving.com/2010milesin2010