Miles or Kilometres? | The Running Channel Chats With Ultra Runner Sabrina Pace-Humphreys
Next in the Miles or KMs hot seat is ultra runner Sabrina Pace-Humphreys. Sabrina shares her favourite running memory, ponders the shorts vs tights debate and gives us a sneak preview of her running plans for the year…
Do you measure in miles or KMs?
I am old school! I measure in miles and only use KMs when I am doing a prescribed session that asks for an interval in KMs (I get confused easily when trying to convert miles over).
Do you listen to music or podcasts when you’re running? If so, what might we find on your playlist?
Depending on my mood, I listen to both. I love podcasts that make me laugh and, at the moment, am really giggling at the podcast ‘Sh***d, Married, Annoyed’. I think anyone that has been in a relationship should give it a listen. I guarantee giggles.
I have a playlist that I have curated that include all my favourite artists. There is a LOT of Beyoncé hits on there.
Do you measure your runs in time or distance?
I tend to measure my runs in distance. And, yes, I am the woman you see running up and down the road/car park trying to get to that round number!
Do you prefer tights or shorts? Or shorts over tights?
In winter, it’s tights. In summer, shorts. I don’t understand why you would mix the two? I’ve seen people out that do that and I always long to understand ‘why?’ For me it’s just too much material… I like to keep my running attire as light as I can.
What are the key recovery techniques you use?
Within an hour after I finish any session I always have a high protein shake. I want that muscle recovery happening immediately. I have found a great shake that gives me the numbers I need and is nice tasting. I will also follow that with meals during the day that are higher in protein but also contain some unrefined carbs too.
Flexibility is SO Important for me. I am getting older and I feel each run more and more – especially those lounger or higher intensity sessions. My muscles need that stretching much more than they ever did.
What are you training for currently?
I am base building for a Spring marathon where I want to achieve a GFA time for London – and maybe even Boston – Marathon. I tend to work on increasing my cadence and building my energy systems during the winter. Last year was the first year I consistently followed a ‘faster marathon’ plan and it reaped rewards in the spring and also translated into my ultra speed too. So it was win/win for me.
How have you continued to motivate yourself during lockdowns?
Running is my medicine. I live with anxiety and depression and, without running, 2020 would have been unbearable. I always know, that no matter what is going on in the world, a run will not make me feel worse. Once lockdown 1 happened, and all my races were cancelled, I made it my mission to recce parts of a local 102 mile ‘way’ – The Cotswold Way – that I hadn’t been on. Once that was complete, I decided that I would have a go at trying to run the whole thing in one go. 102 miles, non-stop. That was then my goal – to get match fit for that. I took on the challenge on August bank holiday weekend. And completed it!
Who is inspiring you at the moment?
Right now? Hmmmm. Well, last week I watched ‘Breaking 10’ the documentary which shows the journey that Dan Lawson took earlier this year when breaking the record for LEJOG (Land’s End to John O’Groats). There were many moments that inspired me during this documentary. So, I guess it’s Dan that is my current inspiration. And if you haven’t watched the documentary, do. It’s a great piece of film.
What’s your best running memory?
Looking down from a high peak and seeing the finish gantry of the Marathon Des Sables in the distance. Knowing that all I had been through in my life journey had led me here and that, even if I had to crawl, I was going to finish the toughest footrace on earth. A race that, just a few years prior, I didn’t even know about and would have said anyone attempting it was mad! Getting that medal put around my neck by Patrick Bauer will always be super special to me and my family.
If you weren’t able to run anymore, but could participate in any other activity, what would it be and why?
I’ve watched a lot of climbing documentaries over the past few years. The strength physically and mentally that this takes intrigues me. I’d love to have a go but, to date, I haven’t got round to trying it. There’s something about it just being you and the face of the rock that looks very special. In 2021 I am going to have go, see where it takes me!