What made you get into running?
My Uncle was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease a number of years ago. I, like many, always felt helpless, which is very difficult when you are so close to someone suffering. I wanted to personally do something to help find a cure for this awful disease and found a charity that focuses all its funds on finding a cure. Since I was so bad at, and really did not enjoy running, I figured most people would happily sponsor me if it was for a race. I entered the ballot for VLM2014 and in the October of 2013 found out I had a place – I couldn’t believe it. Its the best thing that has ever happened to me. It took a few months but soon I fell in love with running, and this was such a surprise to me (and everyone else).
What has been your proudest/best running moment?
I would struggle to pick between two. One was my second marathon. Having completed London 2014 in just under 4 hours, I knew I had more in me. I signed up to Robin Hood Marathon and the aim was to knock 15 minutes off in just 5 months. It was a tough race and it hurt from mile 8, but I did it, and got a GFA time in the process. I was elated. My other just happened on Saturday, and probably is the winner. I completed London2Brighton 100km, with iITB issues from 30km that many thought would force me to drop out. It is the hardest thing I have ever done, but I loved it so much and cried at the finish with sheer joy that I had completed.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced?
I think the biggest challenge was the latest 6 week challenge i set myself for charity. Brighton then London marathon followed by L2B in just 6 weeks is no easy task, and I sadly lost both my Nan’s within a two week period during this. Recovery is crucial in the weeks between, and I had no concept of how much emotional fatigue can effect your fitness. If it hadn’t been for charity I am not sure I would have completed them, but I am so glad I did – running has been a fantastic outlet for grief and although it was challenge to get through it all, I feel amazing off the back of it.
Who is your inspiration, and why?
I am inspired by my Uncle for his positivity in the face of adversity, and sense of humour throughout his illness. He inspires me so much and I always remember how lucky I am to even be able to run. Any day I am feeling a bit tired and not sure if I want to train or not, I remember that choice was taken from him, and it gives me the boost I need to get out the door. Once out I always enjoy it, and I am lucky that I get to make that choice. I feel privileged every day to get to experience what I do.
What are your future goals?
I have a few races on my bucket list, Marathon de Sables, Comrades, Race to Stones…and I am always looking at where I can race next. I think having had so many races back to back though, my immediate goal is to hit the trails and explore a bit more without the focus being on pace and distance. Then I will no doubt head back to beat a couple of my PBs!
What would be your one piece of essential advice to someone looking to start up running?
Don’t expect it not to hurt, and DONT go out too fast. I think you feel like you are going so slow when you start, and actually you need to slow down even more to cover any distance. I have had a few friends contact me looking to start running, and each and every one of them have the same query – why can’t they run more than a couple of minutes in one go. Slow down and embrace a run walk strategy until your fitness builds up. It may seem like you’re not getting anywhere, but improvements will happen fast.
What is your favourite piece of running kit?
Oh I have a kit obsession. My new Adizero Adios Ultra Boosts are bright pink and I can’t wait to try them out – they are a fantastic racing shoe, and just putting them on my feet makes me want to run fast.
What’s your favourite thing about running?
The freedom. I can go where I want, for as long as I want, and explore places I would otherwise not see. As long as I have a pair of trainers, I can just leave the house and run. Its incredibly liberating and a fantastic way to clear the mind. That, and the fact it keeps me so fit and healthy and has introduced me to a huge community of like minded runners, I am so glad I fell in love when I did!
As it’s Women in Sport Week: What do you think is the biggest challenge for women runners, & how do you overcome them?
I think women bodies are so different to mens, and we have to battle with quite powerful hormones at different stages of our cycles. At the right time, our hormone levels can be a real bonus to hard workouts etc, but at others time, its a real hindrance. That combined with plasma volume dropping means blood will move more slowly between your muscles, slowing down your recovery. Knowing your own body really helps – it means you can fuel better and take on extra glycogen when you know your reserves will be lower. I think over time we each learn what does and doesn’t work for us, including being aware of our cycle and how it may or may not effect our training at various times during the month.
Update from Lana March 2016:
I am now married and 32 weeks pregnant with a little girl, still running but ever so much slower and shorter distances – last race was London to Brighton in May, three weeks before my wedding – I don’t like to be busy at all haha!