Phil – “Taking the competitive out, had put the pleasure in”

Name: Phil

Location: Kent, England

Why/When did you start running?

Lockdown, basically.

I played football often and to try and keep fit (ish) running here and there. It was functional though. I would run 5K as quick as I could. Then the next time try and go a bit faster until I got bored or burnt out.

The Covid Lockdown stopped football and (inspired by a friend of mine) I started to look a bit deeper into running.

The lightbulb moment came when I was running with my wife, both our children cycling along with us. I had been told about the mythical ‘easy’ run, where you run based on you’re heart rate! It was fantastic, I ran further than I ever had, chatting all the way!

That was when it became fun. Running was no longer about bolting 5k as quick as you could and feeling like poo afterwards!

It had become a pleasure. Taking the competitive out, had put the pleasure in! Okay in the long term this led to me going much further much quicker!

What has kept you running?

Friends, I’m in a WhatsApp group with a bunch of friends specifically there to talk about running. Right at the start it was set out as a place where we would encourage, support and be open about our experiences (as well as share stories).

Targets too. When you accomplish a target there is a real sense of achievement. I have taken part in some events since starting and completed a couple of training programs which keep you focused and keep it interesting. Following a training program keeps the runs diverse and interesting. ‘The Running Channel‘ and ‘This Messy Happy‘ have been two great public sources of information.

What’s your proudest running achievement to date?

Running the London Landmarks Half Marathon (LLHM). I was lucky enough to get a ballot place. As I write this though I realise the pride is from completing the training program that got me to a point where I could run a half, confidently.

What’s your favourite race/run you’ve ever taken part in?

The LLMH stands out, it was my first half, on my wedding anniversary (I ran with my wife) on a beautiful day!

Although I do have a fond place in my heart for the local ‘Superhero’ fun run, it was the first I competed in and brings back fond memories, even though we were all injured!

What’s the worse race/run you’ve ever taken part in?

I have been very lucky so far, of the few I’ve been a part of, they have all been great.

Do you have a favourite parkrun? If so… why?

Never done one, but will do this year!

What’s your preferred brand of trainers and is there any reason why?

Brooks, all day long. Like clouds but more comfortable!

Do you have any tips for new runners or those thinking of taking up running?

Knowledge! However you can get it. Friends, clubs groups! The more you understand about the process the more you will get from it

And don’t run fast. Build a base at a real steady pace. Running slow leads to you going quick (if that’s your goal).

What’s your ultimate running ambition?

To keep it up for as long as I can. I see people in their 70s still at it and think, I hope that’s me when I get to that age.

Adem Djemil
I only started running at the age of 37, completing the Couch to 5k course, and since then I've been hooked, running 4 times a week and even completing several marathons and an ultra!

This is part of our series called 'Runner Stories' where our aim is to demystify running and show the wide variety of people that take part.

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