My sixth guest to give answers to my questions, is Steph Davis. After hitting 2019 with a bang, Steph truly found her marathon legs and at the Valencia Marathon in December clocked a staggering 2:27:42, consolidating her position within those in contention of qualifying for the marathon in this years Tokyo Olympics. Steph kindly took the time to tell us a bit about her running journey, thank you!!
When you started off on your competitor running journey, did you have your sights on an Olympic QT and when did you really start to believe you could run it?
If you asked me after my first marathon (Berlin 2018) if I thought I would achieve an Olympic qualifying standard the following year, I would have laughed. It was always a dream but felt like a distant one. After London I wanted to prove to myself that running 2:32 wasn’t a fluke. I don’t like to place too much pressure on time but it is hard to ignore when everyone knows it (the Olympic QT) is out there. I believed I could get close but from events during training I had my doubts as to which side of that 2:29:30 I would be on. I honestly didn’t believe it was fully possible until about 4km to go at Valencia marathon…
What advice would you give to athletes worried about pursing a running career whilst in full-time work?
It is definitely possible but I would be really honest about what it takes. You sacrifice a lot for training and sleep. For me it was weekends back home to see my family, catching up with friends on week nights or over the weekend etc. It will ultimately depend on your goal as to how much you need or want to sacrifice. I’d also encourage people to be open with their workplace on their running goals – my company (Lazard Asset Management) have been very supportive of my training and understand the time demands I have.
Do you incorporate training camps abroad into your year? If yes, where do you like to go and why?
I have never done an organised training camp as such, but when my boyfriend and I go on holiday we like to be able to continue with our routines as much as possible. My favourite place to go is Mallorca because I have been going since I was a kid and know the roads, gym facilities and where to cross train, and the weather is usually spot on!. I have no firm plans to go abroad to train ahead of London marathon, but it is something I would love to do!
Do you ever struggle to remain positive? And how do you ensure you are positive going into and during sessions/races?
YES! There have been a good few training sessions where I’ve thrown my toys out the pram as things aren’t going to plan. My coach and teammates are good at talking me round when this happens and reminding me that bad/off sessions are normal for everyone, which is so true! I try to keep a log of my thoughts and feelings when off days happen and reassess my expectations for the next training session so I can go in with a more positive attitude.
What do you do in the few days prior to a big race and do you have any superstitions?
During the taper and lead up to the race, I try to use my free time to catch up with friends that I don’t get to see all the time. Thinking about it now… this has probably been a good way to relax and stop me being all consumed with the race. I don’t have any superstitions, but days before my last 2 marathons bad stuff has happened – my brother was admitted to hospital 2 days before London, and my dog died before Valencia. I ran both marathons thinking of and staying strong for them, but I hope it doesn’t become a trend for me!