RHM: Did you enjoy last years race and what were your highlights of the race?
CS: Yes I really enjoyed the Half Marathon, the atmosphere was really good and there were lots of people along the course which helped me tremendously and pulled me round. I led the race from the start and there were plenty of men around me to help me round. I was only 18 seconds off my best ever half marathon time and was using the race as a build up to the Great North Run.
RHM: Can you give me an idea of the training that you did for last years race?
CS: Typically my training would consist of a weekly interval session of something like 6 x 1 mile hard at my 10km pace. This would be off a 2 and a half minute recovery so quite a tough session. I would also do regular long runs of up to 90 minutes usually at an easy relaxed pace (being able to talk is a good indicator of the right pace to do these at) and also tempo type running typically at around 10km pace - I would cover up to 6 miles at this pace. I had a relatively short build up to the half marathon (about 6 weeks) as it was a build up race and I wasn't really focusing on Redcar as an "A" race.
RHM: What would you recommend for someone new to running who is thinking about tackling the half marathon distance?
CS: I would build up the distance gradually and look to do some shorter races in the build up (ie 5km and 10km races). Start by running up to 1 mile and just keep adding distance on gradually and build up to covering the 13 miles in training. Joining a good local running club with a beginners section can really help people who are new to running. Finally a good pair of running shoes is an essential if you want to enjoy running and stay injury free. (Half Marathon sponsor Bike Traks can offer a gait analysis service to ensure good shoe choice and fit!).
RHM: Are you entering this years race and what is your target?
CS: If the summer goes well and I stay injury free then yes I will be entering and trying to lower my pb. The Redcar Half is a good fast course with pb potential and I hope to be there. I am concentrating on the track and shorter distances over the summer so will see how that goes. I have only been back in training for about 10 weeks as I was injured over the winter so fingers crossed!
RHM: What is your favourite training session and why?
CS: I love running easy on the hills or around the moors but for a training session I like doing mile/800m reps on the cross country course at Acklam Grange. I am definitely a fan of strength endurance training rather than all out speed so this is the sort of session I love in the winter although it is hard work!
RHM: Who are your top tips for a 2012 Gold Medal in Athletics?
CS: I would love to see Paula Radcliffe finally get a gold medal in the marathon. It would be a fitting end to a long career. Paula is someone who I have long admired and would love to see her do it in 2012. Also Hannah England in the 1500m stands a really good chance of medalling as she is in really good shape.
RHM: Thanks for taking the time to speak to us Carolyn and best of luck in your training. We look forward to seeing you at the race in September to see if you can defend your title.
In the next blog we will be catching up with the 2011 Redcar Half Marathon winner Graeme Taylor of Jarrow and Hebburn AC.