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Nelly asks: Congratulations becca, thoroughly well deserved. You've been clocking-up ever increasing mileage consistently for the past three years, without any obvious breaks for injuries. Do you have any specific injury prevention tips? Do you think you diet helps with this?

becca7 says: Thanks Nelly. Thanks for your input on the 3:30 thread. In part it is luck but it is also about increasing mileage gradually and learning from stupidity. The two injuries that I have had have been avoidable but also fairly minor. I got shin splints a couple of years ago through following up my first 60 mile week with another 60 mile week in spite of tight calves so I have learned the importance of being a little sensible. I ease off and cross train if I think that there is a problem developing, I always stretch after exercise, I get a sports massage regularly and use the foam roller and stick when I remember to.

I am not sure if diet helps. I do eat a quite healthy diet, including a lot of unprocessed foods. I am a vegan and it is not unusual to see that being advocated as a good diet for runners. That does us no favours as it makes it seem faddy, when there are strong ethical reasons for being a vegan. I have run my best marathon since I have been vegan but I think that that was more down to the mileage that I did and I think that injury prevention is more down to stretching, regular massage and rest days.
The Mighty Fleecy asks: Congrats, becca, you amazing person! You are a full 10 on J*C's Beccarific scale! Where do you get your discipline from?

becca7 says: Wow, thank you fleecio. I can't always claim to be disciplined, in particular if there is a cake with my name on it, but I am fairly good at making sure that I do the training that is scheduled. I normally have to run in the evenings so to make sure that I go straight out and I am not trudging the streets of Leicester at too late an hour I have a rule that I should not spend longer faffing about getting ready to run than I spend actually running.
runningmumof3boys asks: Congratulations Becca - about time too :-)
My question - which has been your most favourite race so far that you would like to do all over again if it were Groundhog day?


becca7 says: Cheers rmo3b. :) A bit of a tough one because I have been lucky to have run some superb races. Comrades was great and it is my favourite race but it was also more than a bit painful so I think that I would choose to experience VLM in 2013 again. I used my GFA place, so it was the reward for a lot of hard work, and I just set out to enjoy the experience - it was too close to Comrades to race it properly. It was my third VLM and the previous two had not gone particularly well (on one occasion I had set out at 9 minute mile pace but the wheels fell off and I eventually got overtaken by Richard Branson wearing a giant butterfly costume - possibly the low point of my running history) but this once could scarcely have been better. 2013 was a dream run with great cheers from Fetchpoint both times.
Nywanda asks: Another accolade to your ever increasing running resume; nice one! My question is: what is left for Becca7 to achieve? Longer/higher/hotter/colder/multi-day/multisport/faster...or (after Comrades) find a comfy pair of slippers and start writing that book on how to be Beccarific? ;-)

becca7 says: Thanks dear. My goal is to meet the great Nywanda at some race eventually, after recent failures. Fancy Glasgow to Edinburgh in 2015? Or Two Oceans in 2016? In terms of running goals, I am not sure that I fancy running much further than about 50 miles but there are plenty of races of around that distance that I have yet to do. There are some exploring-type ones. I want to run the whole of the Fife Coastal Path (over a few days) and the Leicestershire Round (not all at once). I want to visit all of the zones on my Conquercise home square. I'm over 75% of the way there, so I'm not doing too badly, in particular for someone who is neither a cyclist nor a car driver. Going higher could be good - I have my eye on the Jungfrau Marathon and Mont Ventoux half. Not hotter, Comrades was bad enough, but colder maybe. My first experience of multi day will be at the Maravan so I will see how I like that then. Definitely not multisport - I will leave that to rmo3b and Scribbler. Faster perhaps but I think I am near the limits of what I can achieve in that regard and I don't particularly enjoy fast running over shorter distances. No slippers just yet mind.
The Scribbler asks: Becca, you rock! You always seem to have a very balanced approach to your training and races. How do you manage to keep your head when things go wrong?

becca7 says: Thanks Scribbler. I think that, as regards training and races, it is mostly a matter of perspective as to what is important. I am always happy to bin some training in order to allow recovery, or to DNS a race in order that I don't risk injury, where there is a reasonable prospect of that.
Happy Cat asks: Well done Becca :) What's your favourite training session and why?

becca7 says: Thanks Catherine. I like long slow runs as they enable me to run to places that I have not been to before and to get out into the countryside, which makes a change as I live and work in cities. Plus I get to eat more on those days. Including mid-run. :)
J*C asks: Your Fantastic becca😄
If only for one day you could be another runner on fetch than you who would you be and why and what advice would you give them


becca7 says: Why thank you J*C. I think that I would choose to be you. I would find a low key marathon, nothing like Milton Keynes, with a scenic route and aid stations that are stocked with delicious goodies. I would set out to have a nice day out and not worry about the time, to show that a marathon need not be an ordeal.
Tinywhitevan asks: Do you run with your whippet? If so, how far's your longest run with him/her?

becca7 says: Thanks for the question. The avatar pic is not actually my dog. He was called Brock and he was a retired greyhound that I sponsored with Dogs Trust. He was put to sleep in December 2007, which was not long before I joined Fetch. I think that when I created my profile I did not have many pictures on my computer to use as the avatar so I used this one and I have just never changed it.
monsenb1 asks: Congrats Becca7, fully deserved! On top of all your achievements, you have become a running inspiration to me and many others :) Question from me is, has anyone inspired you to run and to push yourself and how much of that comes from within?

becca7 says: Thanks monsenb1. It mostly comes from within. I can remember when I was trying, and failing, to run a sub 4 hour marathon I was inspired by the amazing run that RuthB2 had at Abingdon. I couldn't believe that she had run so fast but I saw that it was the reward for some good training so that encouraged me to up my game.
Ron Burgundy asks: Congratulations, you really are amazing :-) When they make "Becca -The Movie" who will play you? (and can you get me a part?!)

becca7 says: Cheers Ron. I think Emily Watson (of Breaking the Waves, Hilary and Jackie and Angela's Ashes. Not to be confused with Emma Watson from the Harry Potter films). She shares my birthday (although two years older) and there is a little resemblance. Her or a fat Salma Hayek. Certainly there is a part for you in the scenes "freezing cold baggage bus queue at GNR" or "being overtaken at Abingdon having given up on a PB attempt so soon after Berlin".
jaks asks: Many congratulations Becca - very well deserved. When did you first start running and why?

becca7 says: Thanks jaks. I first started running regularly about 10 years ago, on the treadmill in the gym as part of a general fitness routine. It was the only form of exercise that I had liked at school (although I recall at that time having to take more than one walk break when running 400 metres as part of gym class). After a couple of years of running at the gym I started running outside and doing races. I didn't always train very regularly (I would do Sheffield half in the spring and then let things slide until Robin Hood or Leicester in the autumn and then things would slide again) but when I kept getting high blood pressure readings this gave me the motivation to stick to regular training in order to keep the weight off. I started running a half marathon race per month in order that my fitness would never drop below the level required to run 13.1 miles. From then it was a long progression to marathons and ultras.
Muds asks: Congrats :) Veggie I get TT is a no for me :) You are still speeding up and increasing mileage. I wonder, could training be more targeted, if so, what more could you achieve?

becca7 says: Thanks Muds. I'm not sure it could be much more targeted as I had a lot of focus for the last few target races that I have done. The main area in which I could improve would probably be diet as I am normally a few lbs above what would be an ideal racing weight for me. But that would make life less fun and I am at a perfectly healthy, relatively light weight for someone of my height. Other than weight I could do more speed work but I don't particularly enjoy that type of training and I want to enjoy my running as much as I can.
RichHL asks: Congratulations! How do you cope with people asking you vague and pointless questions?

becca7 says: Cheers Rich. To be honest vague and pointless questions make a nice change from being asked where I get my protein from. ;)
BaronessBL asks: Well done Becca - I can't think of a sensible running question that hasn't already been asked so....please tell us a little bit about the dog in your avatar and do you have any other pets? :-)

becca7 says: Thanks Baroness. The doggy, as explained above, was a rescue dog that I sponsored for a little while before he died. My actual pet is a 14 year old black cat, Posy.
jog-on asks: You have improved your running so much in the last few years..... what do you think has been the single biggest thing that has helped?

becca7 says: Thanks jog-on. I have done a few things. Losing a bit of weight helped a lot initially. The biggest difference has been joining a club I think as I find it easier to run at a good pace if running with other people. I would otherwise struggle to run even marathon pace in training.
Discovery Dave asks: Hi Becca - and well deserved. It's been an inspiration to see your progress since we met at the Brighton marathon, and really does show us mere mortals what's possible. What do you like least about running, and how do you overcome it? Also, what's your proudest NON-running achievement?

becca7 says: Thanks Dave. I least like speed work, as mentioned previously. I get round it by telling myself that it will do me good and that it will be over soon. Non running, I was quite young (35) when I became a professor, so I think that it would be that.
Bintmcskint asks: Well done, you! Really well-deserved. You already know that I find you totally inspirational and people have already asked the running questions I would have asked so...you can eat one food and one food only for the rest of your life. What food would that be?

becca7 says: Thanks Bint. Well done on your conversion to ultra running - the longer distances seem to suit you very well. Tough question! I suppose that the boring answer would be based on there being some choices that would be better than others. Quinoa or rice might be the best choice nutrient wise but that would be pretty dull. It would be nice to have an unending supply of vegan cake but I don't think that that would do much for my health or my running. There are probably foods that I eat every day, or almost every day - oats, apples, beetroot, carrot, chocolate but I don't think that I would want to be eating any of those exclusively. In particular with beetroot I would worry about Violet Beauregarde effects and I think something similar is possible with carrots. So perhaps it would have to be porridge. Or flapjack.
RuthB2 asks: Congratulations! Very well deserrved. I remember us running about the same time at st neots a couple of years ago and now look at you! What's the single thing which has led to such amazing results if you could only pick one? and secondly do you run mainly on or off road and if so why?

becca7 says: I think that since that time it has been about consistent training. I was already running at a reasonable level but then I did a lot of hilly mileage for Comrades and then some tough training for the sub 3:30 - Pfitzinger and Douglas, up to 70 miles per week and this included quite a lot of marathon paced running. As for trail or roads, I do most of my running on the roads. I like my tarmac. It is nice to run in the countryside as a change but if I fall over quite a lot. My knees look like those of a typical 5 year old. Admittedly I could trip over my own shadow but the countryside has many more hazards than nice, smooth, tarmac.

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