Member of the Month
Every month we introduce one of our members, this month's featured member is Paul Adams.
How long have you been running?
I started running properly in the summer of 2014 with a parkrun at Tredegar Park. It was horrible; I stopped on numerous occasions and was also sick on the finishing straight.
How long have you been with Caerleon Running Club?
I joined in June 2015 and my first run was Big City Loop. Ian Price was given the responsibility of looking after me. It was horrible; I stopped on numerous occasions and was also sick at the top of the hill in the university – there’s a bit of a pattern here isn’t there?
What inspired you to start running?
I was overweight and my diet and general lifestyle was pretty poor. I needed an operation to remove some loose cartilage from my knee, and the consultant told me it would probably happen again if I didn’t lose some timber! Running was a quick way of doing this, even if my running wasn’t particularly quick.
What motivates you to keep running?
Being able to challenge myself to be the best I can be is a massive motivating factor. When you look at running it does all boil down to being a very personal thing. Yes, you can have your rivals in club, and people that you like to compete against but ultimately the only person you’re really competing with is yourself. Setting yourself targets and challenges, and attempting to achieve them is hugely motivating. Seeing what your mind and body is capable of achieving is motivation in itself. I love reading books about running and people who have experienced running at both ends of the achievement spectrum. I find the stories and inspirations of others, very motivational. I’m currently reading a book about Ultra Runners by Adharanand Finn. In it he speaks with Zac Marion, one of the world’s greatest Ultra runners. He uses a single quote from an unknown author as his motivation; The Devil whispered in my ear, “You’re not strong enough to withstand the storm.” Today I whispered in the Devil’s ear, “I am the storm.”
What is your running ambition?
In 2018/19 I achieved PBs at 5K, 10K, Half and Full Marathon distances. Whilst it would be great to keep achieving PBs its not always possible, and takes a lot of focused dedication. Sometimes this can put me under pressure, and I find I stop enjoying my running. One day will be the last time I set a PB and I would rather forgo any PB, if it means I keep enjoying my running. So my ambition is to continue to use running as a means of challenging myself and keeping my mind and body as healthy as it can be.
What do you consider to be your proudest moment?
The Newport Marathon 2019 was my proudest moment. My marathon PB was 3:59 until that point and I started training for Newport, six months in advance. I set myself a target of 3:45 which I thought was achievable as long as I prepared meticulously and on the day I followed the mantra of messieurs Hyatt & Viner when they told me to “Hold your nerve” and “Pace, Pace, Pace”. The training went really well and I stayed injury free throughout. I got my race nutrition nailed and had a race plan that I executed to the letter. I was fortunate that everything just slotted into place and the stars aligned for me on the day! I finished in a time of 3:32, a time that I could only dream about, and would be surprised if I challenge ever again.
What is your favourite race, and why?
I love the big club days out, especially Rack Raid, Castles and Rose Inn Relays. It’s really difficult to single out one single race though as a favourite. Certain races such a London Marathon and Great North Run have atmospheres that just have to be experienced to be believed, and I took part in a half marathon in New York a few years ago that was just a brilliant experience. My favourite race (at the moment) though is Chippenham Half. It’s a really well organised smaller half marathon, when the weather is usually spot on to run a decent time. You get a proper goody bag, decent t-shirt, tidy medal and the route involves lots of country lanes and rural villages.
What is your favourite music to run to, or if you don’t listen to music, what do you think about while running?
Music is my other passion, so if I’m running on my own I go retro and take my iPod with me. I really enjoy just putting my music collection on shuffle and seeing what it throws at me on a long run. During my Newport Marathon training I got hooked back into listening to the Housemartins again which was a great trip down memory lane. I do have a bit of a guilty pleasure in 80s pop and electronica, and there are some songs on my playlist that are between me and my iPod – let’s just say I’m not a musical snob. On my last long run, at time of writing, a 90s dance remix came on. This included Insomnia by Faithless, guaranteed to get you shifting quicker!
What advice would you give someone who is just starting running?
Join a club (ideally Caerleon) and reap all the benefits of listening to the experience and advice of others. What works best for you will be different to everyone else at the club but will be, in all likelihood, an amalgamation of advice and suggestions passed to you by others. How I pace myself, approach hills, manage training plans, use race nutrition and select races, all comes from the advice given to me by other club members. Some things work really well for me, whilst others just aren’t for me. Being part of a club was the best decision I ever made, and I’ve achieved things beyond my wildest dreams thanks to the support of Caerleon RC.