Q&A: Fast Improvements

Big Marathon Challenge runner James Spooner talks fast improvements and performance psychology

Give us an update on your training, James – still going strong?
I raced the Linda Franks 5 (miles) two weeks ago in 29:06, which was a one minute PB. I ran 105 miles that week. To be able to run that fast on tired legs was a nice confidence booster.

What aspect of training is helping you improve most?
It’s a combination of everything. I think it’s just a sign of my overall fitness improving, rather than one specific element.

What areas do you need to improve if you are going to make sub-2:45 a reality?
I’m hopeful that I can get to 2:45 eventually, it’s just a case of whether Manchester will come slightly too soon.

How do you approach races, psychologically? Do you have a mantra or any mental tricks?
20 to 24 miles is where the doubts start to creep in and my body starts to feel it. Steve Way has a mantra – ‘Don’t be shit’ – so I find myself repeating that over which helps block out the pain.

And how do you fuel your rapid running?
I don’t really use gels. I find they give me stomach cramps and instead have just relied on energy drinks. I do a lot of my morning runs on an empty stomach, which has helped me become less reliant on sugar boosts.

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