Hannah Rose Irwin
My seventh guest is the amazing and wonderful human being that is Kate Avery. Kate holds three World Cross GB vests and seven European Cross Country GB vests to her name. She earned her first international vest in 2009 as an U20 for the World Cross Country Championships and continues to represent GB now. She boasts a 10,000m time of 31:41 and a 5,000m PB of 15:25. Not only is she an amazing runner, but she is also becoming a primary sports teacher and developing her baking skills during this lockdown period. Rumour has it if you're out of flour and the supermarket has none, she's your girl! I caught up with Kate and asked her about how her training had changed as a result of coronavirus and what box sets she is watching during this crazy time. Thank you Kate!
How has your training changed as a result of coronavirus and how are you adapting to this?
So, I guess the biggest thing is that I am training by myself. I prefer training in a group. My boyfriend is coming with me on the bike for company, but it still isn’t the same as having someone running beside you. As we haven’t been able to access the track, I have just been doing road/grass sessions.
I guess the other thing is the gym. I have bits I can use at home and my S&C coach has been great. He has been using TruCoach the website, where he can upload my sessions and there are videos that I can follow. I don’t have much equipment at home, so I have just been adapting my programme to what I can do.
The most difficult thing has been reevaluating my goals because none of us actually know what we are training for. We don’t have any dates of races and the races that are still on they are in question as well. As a result, the training we would have been doing now is definitely different to what we are currently doing. I was planning on opening up next month in Stanford, which I’m obviously not doing now. It isn’t winter work again, but it is definitely more like base work.
When things get tough, such as being struck with injury or the situation we are in now, what do you do to keep yourself motivated and positive?
I think if you had asked me that five years ago I would have had a very different answer to what I have now. I think as you get a little bit older you are able to put things into perspective better and you just have to go with it. Accept that injuries are something to learn form. No doubt, if you’re getting injured, you’ve made a mistake, so just try not to do it again. I have learnt there are bigger things than running. Don’t get me wrong, it does upset me if I can’t run, but following a few major things I have been through in my life, I am able to put running into perspective a lot better. You just have to go with the journey.
As a queen of cross country, what is it about the event you love so much? And what advice would you give to people who struggle with the challenge of cross country?
I love cross country because it is always different. Out of track and cross I definitely prefer track, but cross is just something fun to focus on. You want to do well and it is frustrating when it doesn’t go your way, but you’ve got to remain light-hearted and just see it as cross-country on its own. As the winter comes around, I like to do cross country as it is a different focus. I don’t want to finish track and then do a few road races and go back to track, I like to have a good focus throughout the winter. I do enjoy doing it for the most part, I didn’t enjoy the Intercounties course if I’m honest.
What do you feel you benefitted most from being a full-time athlete and what made you look for some part time work?
I’m not running full-time anymore as I just want something else to focus on. Being full-time is great and has a lot of perks. Everything is centered around training. I know it might sound intense, but you’ve got no stresses, you can just get your runs in without fitting it around work. It just makes your life easy, it’s a dream job. It is what you grow up dreaming to do, but there is such a small percentage of the world that can actually do it and are good enough to do it, but if you can it is great. I really enjoyed it, but I just want another focus in my life.
If you weren’t an athlete, what would you spend your time doing?
This is such a hard question. Could I be a different sports athlete? I would probably want to do something in sport. I would maybe train to do something else, but I don’t think I would want to be a physio or anything like that. Maybe something on the marketing/business side of sport. I would do a job to do with sports as it is something I am interested in and I wouldn’t want me job to drag.
What’s your favourite movie/series to binge watch and what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I don’t really watch much tv. I have barely had it on even in this lockdown period. We just got a record player, so we listen to a lot of music. I do however like a horror film. A series I did enjoy was Big Little Lies and I have the record for the soundtrack. I just watched The Stranger and really got into that. It was very good.