Dave and I have only met virtually. Introduced via Twitter, we started chatting and reading each other’s blogs. As you might have guessed by the title, Dave is The Yorkshire Dad. He lives in rural North Yorkshire with his wife, Helen and his four daughters ranging in age from 8-14. Dave shares a lot on his blog – everything from parenting, to food, photography and health. He’s also an avid runner which is how we started chatting. I immediately liked his style – he’s open and relatable and frankly, the fact that he has time to run and train is pretty remarkable given his extremely busy family life! And on top of all that, he found some time to answer my five questions about running…
What purchase under £100 has most impacted your running life?
The running belt for my dog, Duke. He runs with me all the time and having him attached to the belt rather than me holding the lead is just fantastic. But also, it’s helped my recovery from a knee problem that I was really struggling with last year. My osteopath finally worked out that me holding the lead in my left hand was causing my upper body to twist and in turn, this was causing issues with the muscle groups around my knee. Amazing stuff!#
What new habit have you adopted in the last 3 years has most improved your running?
Not looking at my watch. I love my watch and I love having something that tracks my runs. However, I noticed I was looking at it far too often. I couldn’t quite bring myself to ditch it, so I work on changing my habit. Winter was a good time to do this as it meant I was wearing long sleeve tops and I made sure to keep the watch covered. I also changed the default large display to show the clock time during a run. This limited running time and distance to a small number in the corner, so if I did glance at the time, then I was less likely to see the running stats.
When you are at your absolute lowest point in a race, what do you do or say to yourself to convince yourself to keep going?
The 20-ish mile point in my only marathon to date. I’d started really well and controlled my pace and thought I was going great guns. Then fatigue struck. I hit the wall. I slowed, and slowed, then walked then stopped. I just couldn’t get going again. Passing runners shouted encouragement to me but it was futile. My mind was all over the place, searching for a way to make my legs go again. Then I thought about my girls waiting for me at the finish line. I didn’t want to let them down. Thinking about them and seeing them smile as I came to the end was what got my legs moving again. That last 100m was the easiest of the whole race because I saw my girls waiting and waving. Then two of them joined me on the course and ran the last 50m with me, holding my hands. An incredible moment.
Tell me about an unusual thing that you do before, during or after a run?
Oh gosh, I’m not sure I’m that interesting. I’ve been closely watching my own behaviour for the last few days to see if I do anything strange before or after running. I can’t say I do. Is that boring? I have habits, like making sure I’ve been to the toilet before a run, and of course, stretching after a run, but neither of which could be called unusual.
What is your most memorable running failure and what did you learn from it?
Oh, so many! Not paying attention to my dog when running alongside a canal is probably to most memorable. I didn’t realise, and nor had she, that she was VERY close to the water’s edge. The canal section was quite full and level with the path and thus she just trotted off into the water – while still attached to her lead. Yes, I was pulled after her!
The read more Q&As with other interesting and inspiring runners, click here.