Iain Durham is currently based in Sunderland, UK. After a 10-year intermezzo in Cape Town, Iain returned home to the UK. Iain is a graphic designer and packaging specialist and is happily married with two children. When he’s not advising reputable brands, or being father and husband, Iain lives his best life through Running. Here is his Running journey with useful insights for beginners.
I blame cross-country. Although it’s too many years ago to count on my fingers and toes, that’s where the running bug bit me. At school. I migrated onto road running and the occasional six miler into my late teens. Then life happened and with it a 30-year hiatus from the humdrum of my feet pounding the pavements.
Fortunately, a work-sponsored exercise challenge got me back into a vest and onto the road. I was surprised to find myself kicking the 10,000 steps a day target into touch! That’s where it starts, by starting. Taking that first step. More than that, I realised just how much I enjoyed it. But my knee joints took a hammering. That’s when I began alternating my running with cycling sessions. It built-up my cardio-stamina and the post-run aches started to subside. About that work challenge? I came 3rd out of nearly 300 colleagues who had undertaken the 100-day challenge! That small achievement motivated me to keep running in the best possible direction.
I set my sights on The Great North Run, the most well-attended half marathon in the UK. I felt driven and inspired. I already knew I wanted to raise monies for Cancer Research. Several friends were navigating the cruel and twisted seas of radiation and treatment, and my Grandmother had died many years past from it. The snowballing effect of this meant I completed three races plus The Great North Run last year – raising more than £1,000. That alone, made the blisters and half a toenail well worth the effort.
FAST forward to 2020 in lockdown which has signalled several postponements, and cancellations, yet I continue to train. Several race organisers have now created “virtual” versions of the original events, so there’s plenty to aim and train for.
I currently train four times a week, between three to six miles per session. With our current circumstances, I mostly run early mornings to aid social distancing and to clear my head and diary before the rigours of working from home. I’ve found that this focuses me for my day ahead. I have been keeping tags with other friends who are runners via WhatsApp and Strava on more advanced training (tempo sessions are something on my horizon). Turning 50 this year has put some perspective on my fitness. I aim to stay fit, healthy and enjoy running as long as I can. Competition is nice, but my biggest competitor is myself – getting a good pace time remains my buzz!
Running releases stress, blows work cobwebs away so that unwinding doesn’t have to include the clinking of a wine glass and the swallowing of a headache tablet. I like my temple – I’m trying to be kinder to it.
Totum Sport is a recent addition to my (running) circle of trust. Yes, it tastes salty, but I remember how awful Cod Liver Oil tasted as a kid and that is good for you. I take it 3 times during my runs, at the start as part of my warm-up, half-way through and when I stretch it out at the end of my work-out. And boy, I’m glad I do! The muscle cramps in my legs, especially in my calves and lower thighs, that I used to suffer sporadically, stopped immediately.
When I’m training, I always try to listen to my body. Start slow. Then I apply my ABC.
- Attention - if something doesn’t feel quite right, pull up! Don’t brush it off, there’s probably a good reason for it.
- Balance - have a break or a gentle jog back if needs be and see if a good night’s sleep can change the verdict. I am all for stretching oneself physically, mentally and creatively but overdoing one can have a negative impact too. So easy does it to begin with.
- Consistency - it’s not about how far or fast you’re wanting to go, be consistent. Start small and train smart.
Connect with Iain Durham on LinkedIn.