Inspiring striding - Fay Hughes

Posted by Peter Goldring on

We have so much love for our happystride community ❤️ You guys are so inspiring and we want to get to know you a little better...and we know others would like to as well.

SO we bring you to....the next post in our blog series ..."Inspiring striding"!!! We have the brilliant Fay Hughes join us!🖊

We are sooo pleased to have Fay as our guest! Fay got into running 15 years ago and has won the Liverpool Rock ‘N’ Roll marathon and recently finished 3rd lady in the Brighton Marathon!

So if you want to know Fay's top 3 running tips, more about her greatest running achievements and her running inspirations then read on!

Thanks so much Fay for joining in with our blog ❤️

How long have you been running for and how did you originally get into it?

Hello happystride, thank you for having me 😊 

So I've been running now for around 15 years, I was working as a hairdresser at the time, and a client mentioned she had a place for the Liverpool Half that weekend if I wanted it…. all full of youth, no fear and ignorance having never ran, I thought, that sounds like a fantastic way to spend a morning when the clocks go forward, and there was already a few others from the salon doing it, somehow managed to run the whole thing, and loved it, the crowds and community but was just amazed at what the human body is capable of when you just decide you want it to do something.  

So it just stayed with me as a little hobby from there, but I started running properly in the first lockdown, being able to up my mileage with working from home and jumping into that flow state on my lunchbreak runs and joined a couple of clubs as a way to meet up with others, but that introduced different training methods for me.

Where is your favourite place to run?

Luckily I’m incredibly blessed with where I live, West Kirby on The Wirral, spoilt for choice with the scenic hills, out and backs, point to points, interval opportunities, flats and trails, but my favourite is making the most of having the UK’s longest promenade, super boring I know to most runners 😊 but I just love it. Floating all the way to New Brighton and back on my long runs, there’s always a little cove of dippers along the way too, which is great to see in the community, dialling into a good podcast accompanied by the tide, the coast here is beautiful and seeing the sunset over Hilbre Island coming back into West Kirby never gets old.

What are your top 3 running tips? 

1. It’s ok to go on feel, everyone is different and when it comes to running, it can just feel so easy one day and some days it’s a slog, even when we control the controllables,  so I’ll always just go on feel if its one of those days, and not worry if i'm not hitting the numbers for that session. The body doesn’t know pace and splits, it knows how hard it feels, trust in that, and that you’ll still be absorbing the fitness.

2. Remember your why.  Do your run for you, time alone, see it as a form of meditation, because you want to push for goals, do you love that mental battle of brain chatter near the end of a race when it starts feeling really tough?  Remember what it means to you, why you're doing it and to enjoy it, if it is to get faster or your struggling to hit that PB on your own, definitely join a club!   If there’s one with access to a track, even better, being able to properly dial in and knuckle down doing speedwork, not having to worry about some quirky cyclist on the pavement or the next dog walker, makes all the difference,  running with others makes it so much easer, pushes you more and keeps that competitive excitement alive.  The amount of gruelling sessions I know I’d have bottled it after a couple of sets, but with a group, there’s no way my ego’s letting me attempt a backdoor boogie.  Ha ha but no, the miles feel like they run themselves when you're working with a group.

3. Last up, never let a bad race neg you out, we’ve all been there, and things may not always go to plan, just reflect on what you learnt from it, did you fuel right, taper properly, sort the logistics in advance, made sure you were at the start line feeling relaxed excited and like all the jobs were done and the next bit’s the easy bit….and….was it that bad….really?  C’mon it’s just a parkrun, so what if a buzz kill gang of kids wizzed past you and your hanging on for dear life, don’t let it ruin your Saturday.  Get excited about your next race that’s going to go perfectly for you.

What’s your greatest running achievement?

Banking the win at my home city where my running journey all started, in the Liverpool Rock ‘N’ Roll marathon was pretty cool, more so as we’d not long come out of the last lockdown, so made me appreciate the crowds and racing so much more, and because my speed had improved a bit, in quite a short space of time, felt like a real achievement, knocking over an hour off my first marathon time. 

But I’d have to say my greatest was my sub 3 at Brighton Marathon this year in 2:56:42, I’d put a fair bit of work into the goal after it niggled me running London 6 months prior in 3:05, so was really great I got to execute my fitness on race morning and to see the rewards pay off.  And after countless Berlin ballet rejections, finally getting a qualifying entry for that was an extra bonus!

What does your running schedule typically look like and how do you fit it into your life?

So I've just come out of a marathon block, typical week, I usually run around 6-7 times, all easy miles with 1 or 2 medium long runs in there, and then I might double up on a Wednesday/Thursday for a speed session with club after work, where we’ll always end up banking volume too. My sister steps in on a Friday to pace me for some easy lunchtime miles, then weekends will usually include my long run where I might try work in some goal marathon pace efforts, local race or parkrun.

Working from home was the game changer for me, so having the luxury to run on my lunch hour and then make it in time for club sessions where I would usually still be getting out the office, makes it all easier to fit it in.

What’s your favourite running trainer and why?

Ah got to be Saucony Endorphin Speed 3, makes me feel like silk rolling down a hill, great all rounder and race shoe.

What’s your dream race? 

Berlin! Fast course in a great city, ticking off another major, and Night Of The 10k PB in Parliament Hill looks cool, just love the track, the atmosphere and speed it can offer. It'd be ace to race on one in an event like that.

What do you eat for breakfast before a race and why?

So always porridge a couple of hours before and a cliff bar at the start line if it’s a long distance, something simple with carbs that I know agrees with me, just so my body has a go to after 90 minutes of running. For 5/10K’s usually jam and honey on toast or a gel , let it be the sugar that paces those ones 😊

How do you like to celebrate a PB? 

Hot shower while all that lovely new data syncs away, then let my ego gaze away at those splits.

No, it’s always great to share a post race chat with other runners who’ve also grabbed a PB or had a great run, and reflect on the course / race,  no better feeling that hitting a goal surrounded by people experiencing the same endorphins.  Also a pizza and a pint that night never goes a miss. 

Who are your running inspirations and why? 

Sarah Hall’s journey has been really inspirational to follow, breaking US records late in her career, but I think anyone managing career and family life round this hobby is an inspiration, not a chance would I be able to entertain the idea of a run on the back end of not enough sleep, so being up through the night with kids and then training and racing always amazes me .

But, no brainer,  Eilish McColgan amazes me, following in her mums footsteps, constantly chasing down her PB’s, seeing her smash gold at the Commonwealth, when you thought her tank was empty, gives me goosebumps every time, it’s just great seeing people get better and better and their hard work paying off!

But the guys I train with down at the track are a real inspiration, always working together, routing for each other, pushing each other, so consistent always putting 100% in, even splits for every effort, they’re just super talented lads.  So it's great to be able to surround myself with people like that with similar goals.

What’s your favourite happystride pattern and why? 

It was always the"Wiggle & Wave", but i'm slightly swayed toward the "Get Spotted" range these days….love a timeless classic animal print.  

If you could design the next pair of happystride shorts, what pattern would you choose and why?

Maybe something with freckles…reminds me of my youth…ooooooh to be young 😊



Wow, thank you so much Fay for joining us and answering our questions! Stay tuned for our next 'inspiring striding' blog in our series where we will have another inspiring guest!


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