Interview with Dominic Toms

Dominic Toms has been running since the 2015 London Marathon. He has now completed 16 marathons and is also a director of golf academy. More information about Dom can be found on his Twitter account and website.

What is your proudest running achievement?

My first London Marathon in 2015 is my proudest achievement because I ran the whole way refusing to walk a single step despite being absolutely worn out from the 23-mile mark.

What has running taught you about yourself?

Running has taught me self discipline in terms of dedication to follow strict training plans.

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

My most ambitious goal to date was the six marathons I completed in 2016 for my local charity and raising £10,000 in the process.

How far in advance do you plan your running races?

I plan my races (future marathons) normally a year in advance where possible.

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

The most miles I’ve run in a week is 60, which was during my marathon training.

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

My longest cycle of training is 20 weeks for a marathon consisting of running, Pilates, and core strengthening.

What has been your most serious running injury?

My worst injury was plantar fasciitis due to tight calves and tight Achilles. It didn’t stop me running as I just worked with the physio to control it before getting rid of it.

What cross-training exercises do you commit to?

On occasion I cycle in the gym.

Why do you  work with a running coach?

The reason I chose a running coach was the disappointment of seeing no progress or improvement in recent marathons. Despite training hard in my opinion it turned out I was just training my body the same and never coming out of my comfort zone. Having a weekly training programme that I have to follow and reporting back to my coach on a weekly basis gives me the motivation I needed as I don’t want to let him down as well as myself.

What does running mean to you?

Running for me is freedom, time to myself to cleanse my mind throughout a marathon training cycle. The race against myself to achieve more in terms of performance and results is also important to me.

Two Voices in My Running

As a running coach I better appreciate the role of runners and the importance of coaches.

The coaching principles I have learnt and the personal experiences I have enjoyed has given me valuable and new insights into my own running.

As a runner I am responsible for the following:

  • Understanding my body (and being honest when it is not feeling right)
  • Taking ownership of my performance (and reacting in a constructive way for the future)
  • Enjoying my running (and remembering it should never be a cause of stress in my life)
  • Exhibiting a passion for running (and being willing to push my limits to improve)

As a coach I am responsible for the following:

  • Understanding my technique (and being aware of any aspects that are not optimal for performance)
  • Suggesting adjustments in my training (and evaluating the impact and measuring progress)
  • Reminding myself of the reasons I run (and explaining methods of relaxation wherever necessary)
  • Exhibiting an objective viewpoint for my running (and remaining positive about my future prospects)

The two methods I use to make the most of my ‘running’ and ‘coaching’ selves are writing in my running diary daily and holding short internal conversations.

These two ‘personalities’ balance one another, so that I feel confident and assured about myself as a runner, but also stay realistic and humble because I know there is more I want to achieve.

5 Ways Swimming Developed My Athleticism

My mum introduced me to swimming at an early age, paddling in the training pool. In primary school I took lessons. I had a instructor who was encouraging, friendly and patient. I accumulated six local school badges, including 25 metres unaided, and overcame my fear to pencil dive. Swimming was one of the first sports in which I gained personal success.

I took a long break from swimming throughout my teens and later picked it up as training for my sprint triathlon. I swam with friends and colleagues from my university sports centre. I enjoyed the challenge even though it took a while to regain the correct technique with the aid of a nose plug, goggles and cap.

Swimming has taught me to be a better athlete.

There are many components to any action – swimming is difficult because you have to find a rhythm with your breathing, as well as arm, leg and head movements.

Confidence in enduring discomfort is essential to progress – my fear of drowning, especially at the deep end of the pool, taught me to focus and recognise that this was a barrier to my athletic development.

The importance of a mentor can never be underestimated – my instructor gave me the necessary knowledge and self-belief to continue even when I could have easily given up.

Feeling relaxed is the optimal state for performance – considerable practice and calmness during exercise are essential to realise your full potential.

Accumulating mementos can inspire you – a motivating factor growing up was to obtain the next badge, which continually pushed me to achieve more than I would have otherwise.

I am not the best swimmer, not least because I find it hard to stay afloat. However, it is an exercise that requires immense concentration and helped me overcome personal weaknesses growing up.