Interview with Mark Lawson

Mark Lawson has been running for about 10 years. He suffered a nasty bike accident when he was sixteen, breaking his right ankle and leg. He worked hard to walk again but was never into sports. Later in life, after a conversation with his friend’s wife, he realised he was approaching 40 years old and couldn’t compete with her slow pace. So he began running. It was very hard at first, but he persevered and progressed his running distance to the marathon. His personal best is 4 hours and 14 minutes.

What is your proudest running achievement?

My proudest running achievement was getting my marathon medal in 2018. I wore my finishers’ t-shirt for days. I’d ticked the box. I was a runner. I’d proved I could do it!

What has running taught you about yourself?

Running has taught me to never give up. I’m stronger than I think, both mentally and physically.

What is the most ambitious running goal you’ve ever considered?

My most ambitious running goal is still a sub-four-hour marathon. I’m not interested in an ultramarathon. I’ve proved enough. But I’m 47. If I can run under four hours for the marathon I’ll genuinely retire happy! 

How far in advance do you plan your running races?

I don’t tend to plan races. I enter most last minute, if they’re local. I wanted to tick off all the local half marathons (my favourite distance). I’m not good with planning normally because I get nervous. But entering last-minute – I can do that. 

What is the most miles you’ve ever run in a week?

The most miles I’ve run in a week is about 30, and I did that during marathon training. A 22-mile long run on the Sunday. A 3-mile cool-off on the Tuesday, followed by a 10k on the Thursday. Then the marathon was the following Sunday.

What is the longest period you’ve ever trained for a race?

The longest period for testing for a race was the marathon. This took six months. 

What has been your most serious running injury?

My most serious injuries were all early on. It was too far too soon, in bad running shoes. I got shin splints and plantar fasciitis. I was out for 3 weeks or so. Then I realised I needed better shoes, so I bought the Brooks Adrenaline GTS (which I still run in).

What cross-training exercises do you commit to?

Stupidly I don’t do other exercises. Stretching never helped me. I tried and found it pointless. I’ve been injury free for nine years so I suppose I’ve just not needed to. Also, I’m no Olympian! I’m not trying to get much better.

What would persuade you to work with a running coach?

I’d use a running coach if I felt that I couldn’t improve any more on my own. If I couldn’t get under four hours after a few marathons I’d consider it. Otherwise I’m not sure I need one. I’ll never run in an England vest. And actually, I don’t need to. I’ve already achieved more than I dreamed I’d be able to. 

In one sentence, what does running mean to you?

Running makes me feel happy and it makes me feel free.

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