Mountain high, valley low

Mon, Sep 24, 2012, 01:00

THIS RUNNING LIFE:John Healy (37) is a mountain runner and instructor and recently ran the full 200km Kerry Way non-stop

When did you start running and why?I’ve been running off and on for over 10 years but started running regularly in May 2011

What’s been your greatest challenge?My greatest challenge has been completing The Kerry Way trail as one continuous run. The trail is 120 miles long with almost 4,500 metres of ascent along trails and mountain tracks.

It usually takes 6-8 days to complete as a walking route. I took on this challenge both to raise money for charity but also to simply see if I could do it. I had never done anything of this length before and both the training and the big day itself proved a “voyage of discovery”.

I was very happy to see the finish after 37 hours of running.

Best thing about running?I really enjoy the mental space it gives me. Some time to think, away from distractions.

One thing you’d change about running?My weight . . . or maybe the weather.

Where’s your regular run route?I travel a lot for work so it tends to be whatever is available, most commonly the back roads of counties Cork, Wicklow, and Kerry. I enjoy running on the mountains when I have the chance also.

What are you training for now?Taking a break for a few weeks and then working on fitness for climbing and skiing in the spring.

Your aim for the year?This year it was to complete the Kerry Way run. Next year, who knows?

Are you a morning or evening runner?Both.

Good or bad diet?Mostly good.

Do you have a personal trainer?No.

What’s your average training week?Work makes my running very erratic, but I typically run four days a week. If I’m busy they can be 5-10 miles per run. In training for the Kerry Way there were runs of 20-30 miles when I could fit them in and two “100-mile weeks” at the peak period.

What do you wear on your feet?Nike Vomero on the roads, La Sportiva Crossover on the mountains

What’s on your iPod when running?I don’t like running with earpieces and on the backroads I need to hear the traffic coming. So almost never have music. I sometimes listen to the radio via my phone.

Any niggly injuries?Ongoing calf problems.

Favourite running book?Feet In The Clouds by Richard Askwith. It’s a great account of one runners battle with a major hill-running challenge, combined with a history of hill-running.

Favourite running tip?Variation. Choose different routes: road, trail, parks. Run with a companion, or a group and run by yourself. Find what you enjoy and keep doing it.

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