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  • Writer's pictureKarla

Meet the runner - Calum Upton

I work in recruitment, run for Winchester and District Athletics Club (WADAC) and my coach is the fantastic David Vosser.

When I was a kid I participated in more or less every sport under the sun, one of which was cross-country running. I competed in my local primary school cross country races and ended up doing okay so when I was around 10/11 my dad took me to WADAC to give athletics a bit more of a go. He used to do athletics himself, so he provided excellent support and some good genes!

My last race before lockdown was the Inter Counties Cross Country Champs. I finished 133rd, a massive improvement on the 254th I placed in the National Cross two weeks prior (admittedly it was an awful run though).

My training usually follows the Vosser classic programme.

Monday - 5 miles

Tuesday - Intervals; 2mile WU/ 2mile WD (Long reps in Winter, Short reps in Summer)

Wednesday - 5miles

Thursday - "Bread and Butter" Intervals e.g. 15x90s; 2miles WU/ 2miles WD

Friday - Rest

Saturday - Intervals; 2miles WU/ 2miles WD (Hill session in Winter, lactic threshold session in Summer)

Sunday - Long Run (~10miles)

On top of this I'll drop in 2-3x strength and conditioning sessions per week, usually Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, but I'm often not consistent on the day of the week for these. I try to just go with how I feel and do the strength sessions when I've got the free time.

My favourite session is 'Down the slope' Kenyan hills - reps of 7min, 6min, 5min, 4min, 3min w/ 3mins recovery. We usually do this session at Farley Mount around a nice hilly loop.

During lockdown I'm still following my usual training week thanks to David setting sessions and a training plan. I'm still keeping up with strength and conditioning three times a week but I'm having to be a lot more creative with the exercises. The main difference is not having a group or people to run with. I feel I'm losing a lot of quality in the intervals without people to work off. Luckily there are no races coming up so it's nice not having to push in sessions and finishing them feeling comfortable, even if it is a little bit more mentally challenging by myself.

I was dead chuffed with my race at the inter counties cross-country this year, probably because of the contrast with the National XC Championships. Also finishing 3rd overall in the Sussex Cross Country league was a big achievement for me, pulled up by a 3rd place finish in the final race of the season.

My worst race was at the National Cross-country Championships this year (2020). It’s the only time I can remember not enjoying running. But it’s definitely taught me lots about resilience. A lot of things added up, both physically and mentally, to make it a race that would have been easy to drop out from but I didn’t.

I love my current trainers - Hoka One One Clifton 6. They’re light with a 5mm drop so I can do speed work and sessions in them and still feel speedy but the cushioning makes them comfortable through any run distance. I also love my Garmin forerunner 235 because the calorie counter can justify how much junk food I’m allowed after a run!

I cannot stress this enough, everyone needs to read 'Build Your Running Body' by Pete Magill, Thomas Schartz and Melissa Breyer. It's very science-y but it explains all the sports science behind running in simple terms and then gives you advice on how to use this information to improve your running.

Yeah, I’ve lost my running mojo a few times. I've spent a lot of the last 4 or 5 years with niggles or injuries and it has been really frustrating. Once, I just did easy runs for a month and by the end of the month I had it back simply because I was so bored of easy running and wanted to try to get quick again. The easiest way to get your running mojo back is to give yourself a new challenge or race type that you've never tried before e.g. enter a marathon, a triathlon or multi-disciplinary race or a fell race, etc.

I'm a vegetarian, but not for any performance enhancing benefits. I was bought up vegetarian but have remained that way to try and keep my carbon footprint low and reduce animal death or suffering. I take a multi-vitamin every day and after a strength and conditioning session have a protein shake. My top tip: don't buy unflavoured protein shake, no matter how good the special offer is, it's gross.

My running philosophy is to exercise until you start to form an unhealthy addiction to exercise, follow a never-ending cycle of fuelling that addiction and make it stronger through more running until its unbreakable. I reckon that's how you create a lifelong running habit and avoid getting fat 🙂.

I used to do and watch pretty much every sport, but I've gradually stopped participating and keeping up with them. I have a loose interest in football though (mainly because my friends don't stop talking about it)

I seem to get on/off plantar fascia niggles. I've found for me it's because of tight calves (plantar fasciitis can be caused by a number of different reasons, individual to every athlete.) I have a ton of scar tissue in my calves from being an idiot/irresponsible athlete. The best way to keep plantar fasciitis away is religiously foam rolling and stretching my calves and ensuring the best possible recovery after hard sessions (compression sleeves, stretching, meal within 2hrs of the session).

I don't have Instagram or Twitter but any agents or potential sponsors can reach me on Facebook - Calum Upton 😉

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