Rick's Running Interview with tips4running.com

tips4running.com is happy to present the Ricks Running Interview. Rick Bowker is a marathon runner who blogs about his experiences at Rick's Running 'No Limit' Desparado. He started running marathons in 1999, and at the age of 49 he ran his fastest marathon ever in 2010 getting down to 2:47:34. His blog is honest, informative, and best of all entertaining to read.

Rick's Running 'No Limit' Desperado

David Tiefenthaler - First, let me congratulate you on all your recent success. You must be feeling pretty good about how you have been running lately.

Rick Bowker – Thanks David, Yeah, 2 new P.B.'s at 49 years old and with 17 years running/racing behind me is amazing :]

DT – I really admire how you describe your training and racing. You detail how you were feeling during different stages of workouts and races. You don’t sugarcoat when you feel bad, but remain relentlessly positive. Do you work hard on your mental toughness?

RB - Well I try really hard to keep positive, I just re-read my online friends book 'CREATING AMAZEMENTS' before the LONDON MARATHON, David One Mile Runner O'Meara sent my a free copy for me to read and there is a lot of useful stuff on training your mind so you can change your perceptions and push your limits back.

DT – You just set two personal records this spring. First you ran a great ½ marathon and then a personal best at the 2010 London Marathon of 2:47:34. What do you attribute all of this recent success to?

RB – First I would say Marius Bakken's training plan, has helped me the most, helping me train smarter and stopping me over train. 2nd I changed my diet, eating more fruit and veg. and managed to lose a bit of weight. 3rd changing my running form to the way Steve Magness recommends, using the stretch reflex method.

DT – Are you feeling good physically after these two races? That’s just over 39 miles of intense racing in the last 6 weeks.

RB – Yes, I felt really good after London, did an easy run the next day with only slightly tight calf muscles to show for my 26.2 miles :] I think Marius got me so fit that the races were no problem for my body!

DT – One of the reasons I really like reading your running blog, Rick's Running 'No Limit' Desparado, is it seems you are always looking for a way to improve yourself. You talk about shoes, running form, breathing techniques, and training programs. Do you like sharing your thoughts so other runners can find ways to improve?

RB – Yes, Last summer I passed the YMCA fitness instructors course and I'd like to start a 'Running School' to help new runners right through to advanced runners to improve. Running is a great sport and if any of my blog articles help other runners run faster and enjoy running more then that's a really cool thing :]

DT - At tips4running.com I like to get the whole picture when I interview a runner. When did you start running consistently?

RB – Well I started running 3 x a week in 1993 [ with cycling on the other days], I ran my first 10k in 43 mins! I think it was 1995 when I increased to 5-6 runs a week.

DT – Were you ever involved in any other athletics besides running?

RB – I started cycling when I was 24 years old to get fit. I had a very active childhood like most kids of my generation, walking or cycling to school, doing a paper round and playing football and cycling around with friends after school.

A stopped being active when i got my first job, one day when I was 24 my motorbike broke down and I got my rusty old push bike out the shed and cycled the mile to work, I was a sweaty out of breath mess :{ That was my wake up call to get fit. I joined the local cycle club and started racing, I was best at time trials. My target was to beat the local guys, I ended up winning some of the local TT's and did p.b.s of 22.18 for 10 miles and 57.28 for 25 miles.

DT – You recently posted all of your London Marathon times, starting with 1999. Was this your first marathon? Were you hooked on running them immediately after this race?

RB – London 1999 was my first marathon, but I had already been running for 6 years. My brother was a marathon runner since the mid 1980's and I started running with him in 93 on a few runs. Leading up to London in 99 I trained with super masters runner Steve James, he went on to break the world 5k record for 60 year olds that year with 16.22. I was very fit and felt fantastic in my first marathon. By 6 miles I got bored with the steady pace, so started running one mile fast [6.00 min mile pace then one mile slow [ 7.00 mmp]. By 20 miles my legs 'hurt' so I ran steady to the finish and did 2.49! Mad race:]

DT – The amazing thing about your running is even though you started racing in your 30’s, you are actually running your best times ever at age 49. Have you been placing high in your age group in races?

RB – Yes I have won a few 45 age group prizes this year.

DT – This might sound strange, but are you excited next year because you move up an age group for many races?

RB - No I'm but really motivated by age groups, I don't feel old and I'm still getting faster, so the open cat interests me more right now.

DT – You mentioned you follow Marius Bakken’s 100 Day Marathon Plan. I love this plan too. How did you find out about it?

RB – I just came across his website through Ewen, About a Ewen, who gave a link to it on one of his blog posts.

DT – What marathon training guides were you following before you discovered this one?

RB –Last year, runners world, before that Lydiard and before that my own plans, I used to over train a lot!

DT – What sets it apart from the other guides you have followed?

RB – It stops you over training and makes sure you do the right training to get max results, I like the plan, it changes every week, it's challenging, good fun and you will not over do it.

DT – A great training program is one step, but you took several others to help you succeed. I liked following your blog to analyze running form. Do you consciously work on your form when you train, and can you describe how you determined what is the best running form for you.

RB – Yes this is really important. I spent 2 years learning different methods, Pose, ChiRunning, Evolution, BK method etc. None of them had the right answers, then by chance in early March I came across Steve Magness's article and everything fell into place. It gives the best speed for the least effort and it feels natural and is easy to do. I wanted to run with the flowing natural grace of a top Kenyan runner, and Steve's method feels so right straight away, it fits the bill for me.

DT – I see you like Newton Running shoes. It isn’t a brand I have ever tried. Why do you recommend these shoes?

RB – If you land forefoot they are very good, think they work best up to 1/2 marathons, as I tend to run more flat footed in marathons I did not feel I got an advantage with there energy return!

DT - Thanks for your time Rick. I wish you continued success in the future. Keep searching for ways to improve because I love to read and learn more about running from you.

RB - Thanks David, Yeah learning new stuff excites me. Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks :]

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