Interview with Alasdair Barrowman

Alasdair Barrowman

Alasdair Barrowman is in his early forties and has been running since he was in the Army at 16 years old. He was reasonably competitive at cross country and completed several half marathons with a personal best of around 1:30.

What is your proudest running achievement, and why?

My proudest running moment is slightly embarrassing but also amusing. I was about 20 years old, on an adventure training week with the Army in the Lake District. A group of friends and I went out and got very drunk. The next day I ran a hilly half marathon vomiting three times and still a little drunk. I finished in 1:47 feeling very bad. But I still beat my boss who really hated me from that moment on.

What has running taught you about yourself?

Running has taught me that I have more mental strength than I thought I had, and also that I need time alone to be happy.

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

My most ambitious goal is that I want to complete the Ben Nevis Race as soon as I can qualify. I have not done a fell race in more than 20 years.

How far in advance do you plan your running races?

I normally don’t plan very much. I just look to see what races are near and apply for them. It might be two weeks or nine months in advance.

What is the most miles you’ve ever run in a week and why did you run that far?

I don’t really know how many miles in a week I used to run in my twenties because I didn’t log them anywhere. Nowadays I run about 30 miles a week.

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

The longest training I have done is probably for my local half marathon (in Newark on Trent) in 2011. I did about a year’s training for it.

What has been your most serious running injury?

I have not had a running injury but I did injure my back in early 2012 and lost the use of 1 leg for a month. It stopped me running until this year when I decided that I could cope with the pain but I couldn’t cope with getting fat, lazy and unfit any longer.  My back problems are because of Degenerative disc disease and will not get any better.

What cross-training exercises do you commit to?

I don’t do any cross training because I work as a truck driver so I start early and finish late, working between 50 and 70 hours a week. It doesn’t leave a lot of time for training.

What would persuade you to work with a running coach?

I had never even thought about a running coach until this question. I know that I would benefit from it but I don’t think I would use one for the same reason that I don’t join a running club:  I don’t get the chance to train regularly and some weeks I don’t manage it at all.

In one sentence, what does running mean to you?

Running for me is sweaty meditation.

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