Next in the Miles or KMs hot seat is The Running Channel’s own, Anna Harding!
Do you measure in miles or kms?
I started off measuring in miles. Then, when I ran the Berlin Marathon in 2018 I was paced by a friend of mine who is French and very much measures in kms. The course is marked out as kms too and they totally tick off much quicker. So now I’m a bit of a kilometres convert. It also helped in the Azores for the World’s Toughest Island Race when we were briefed each morning about the distance in km. So my watch was set to kms for that and I haven’t changed it since. And, despite the fact that my maths is DREADFUL (which you’ll probably know if you’ve seen any of our Running Channel videos!) I’m not TOO bad at converting between the two. I’m still learning what the different paces translate into.
Do you listen to music or podcasts when you’re running? If so, what might we find on your playlist?
I adore listening to music when I run on my own. I have about 5,000 different playlists for my different moods, different types of run etc. So some nice fast, upbeat stuff for speedy sessions. A particular favourite is Chemical Brothers. And then some really happy, cheery uplifting stuff for easy runs. I have an eclectic taste so anything from Foo Fighters to Biffy Clyro and a bit of Taylor Swift thrown in works for me. I do love podcasts and on long, slow runs I can get lost in an episode of Rich Roll’s podcast as I find them incredibly motivating. But not for regular runs as I tend to zone out a bit and miss bits!
Do you measure your runs in time or distance?
I used to measure in distance. Now I would say I do a bit of both. I always wondered how you could measure a run by time – but how will you know where you end up? There is a bit of a knack to it and knowing where your fitness is at pace-wise will give you a good indicator of how far your route needs to be. Plus, if your run is 33 mins instead of 30, that’s not a bad thing! I do always make an effort to try and hit the minimum time though – a 29 minute run for a 30 min session would drive me crazy!
Do you prefer tights or shorts?
I like a bit of both. Shorts always for cross country. And mostly for trails actually because muddy legs are easier to clean than peeling off muddy tights when you get home. But I do love a legging for a run commute or a colder morning easy run. Especially if they have side pockets to keep my house key and phone in. When I started running you wouldn’t have caught me dead in a pair of shorts! I was super self-conscious and would never have dreamed of getting my pins out. Now, I don’t really care what people think. I wear what’s comfortable for me based on the weather conditions or the session and nothing else!
What are the key recovery techniques you use?
I love a bath. It was one of my key factors in deciding where to live – does it have a bath? When I’m abroad for races too I have to book accomodation with a bath! I should foam roll more than I do. I always feel better after I have. Plus making sure I refuel and eat lots of good foods high in protein and rehydrating after a run is up there too.
What are you training for currently?
Ooo, great question. I do have a couple of really exciting goals up my sleeve, but I’m keeping them on the downlow for now…don’t worry, there will be videos on The Running Channel of them! Over lockdown and the pandemic I did struggle with my running mojo and getting the motivation to get out of the door when everything I was training for (Valencia Marathon was my A Goal race of 2020) was getting cancelled. BUT, I’m now working with a coach which is really helping. We’ve been going a few weeks now and building back up to a base line of where I used to be. It’s scary how much fitness I’ve lost in 2020 but I’m determined to get back to being in a strong position ready to hit 2021 hard with some big goals.
How have you motivated yourself over the past year?
See above! Ha! Motivation’s been at an all time low this past year for me. The best thing about this year for me running-wise was being able to take on a few challenges for Running Channel videos. The Backyard Marathon, A Mile An Hour Every Hour For 24 Hours and Training Like An Ultra Runner For A Week all gave me some purpose throughout the year. More than anything this year, I’ve learned that sometimes you have to create your own challenges. I’ve also taken to virtual run buddying – so setting a day and time to go out and run with a friend and Whatsapping to get out and do it together. It’s always better when you know there’s someone out doing it with you!
Who is inspiring you at the moment?
I find my inspiration from so many people in the running world. It’s been incredible to see so many incredible athletes going out and smashing FKTs over the course of this year. But actually, a lot of my inspiration comes from the amazing stories we get sent from The Running Channel community. Hearing lockdown achievements and the stories we’re sent in for Runner of the Week always inspire me to want to do my best.
What’s your best running memory?
This is a really tough one! But I think it’s all of the memories and friendships made when doing The World’s Toughest Island Race in the Azores. It’s been a year since we all did it and we’re all still in a Whatsapp group together. We’ve been sharing stories and pictures from the challenge over the last 12 months and I made some really great friends there.
If you weren’t able to run anymore, but could participate in any other activity. What would it be and why?
Fun fact: I used to be a synchronised swimmer! I competed for my county when I was at high school and I think that the stamina and strength required for that really helped me when I started running too. So if I could go back to the level I was at back then (I’ve tried since and am nowhere near as good as I used to be!) then I would love to get back into synchro. I always watch the synchro events on the telly at the Olympics and just love how amazing the sport is. I adore swimming anyway and try and go once a week when pools are open. So it would definitely be a bit of synchro for me.
Finally, what’s YOUR favourite Running Channel video and why?
World’s Toughest Island Race series for me.
I’m gonna be honest and say I sometimes watch it back if I feel like I’m struggling to do something hard, to remind myself that I can do really hard things. It’s such a nice reminder to be able to look back at such an epic few days – and an epic achievement. We can all be guilty of not praising ourselves once we’ve finished something, so I absolutely love looking back on it and reading all of the comments.