All About Ken
As much as we love telling you all about how to fix your running injuries and things you can do to improve, we also think its interesting to know what happens behind the scenes. Even more so perhaps, about the people who make Run3D tick. It may surprise you to find out that Run3D is actually a very small team of (specialist) people, covering a large range of skill sets and backgrounds, to keep us running efficiently and smoothly. One of our key team members is someone who we consider to be a bit of a dark horse in the world of running...his name is Ken, and he seems to know everyone and anyone that has to do with running.
Ken is Run3D's Support and Installation Engineer, as well as a gait technician alongside Trevor Prior at Premier Podiatry in London. However, like the rest of us, he also does about 1 million other tasks that he keeps up with, and of course - runs really fast.
1. You've run a few marathons in the past, including Barcelona Marathon last year - tell us about it?
I've run 5 marathons so far, Barcelona being my 5th. In 2008, I ran London Marathon and really struggled with my nutrition, but managed to finish in 2.56. The following autumn I ran the Berlin Marathon, but I was carrying a hip injury at the time so had to slow down half way around, meaning I dipped just under 3 hours. The following two marathons were in local charity races in Chelmsford as the 3 hour pacer - hitting 2.59 and 2.58 in consecutive years.
Barcelona was an event where I was confident I could run a pb even with less than ideal preparation. Having learned from previous attempts, I managed to pace myself well and run consistently throughout. My outstanding memory was that the last 2 km are slightly uphill! Not really what you need in a marathon, but overall a great city and a good marathon. It was warm but not too hot at that time of year, and well supported. I felt I managed to get the most out of the fitness I had on the day, and everything went to plan. I lost about 2 minutes from my target time and finished in 2.51.
2. Are you planning on running another marathon? What are your trying to achieve?
I definitely think I can still run faster! But life is a little busy at the moment as I have a 4 year old that seems to take up much of my training time! I have entered Abingdon Marathon where David Bruce of Run3D is looking at running a world record with a double buggy (for a male, his wife Jessica Bruce currently holds the female record). As the target will be under 3 hours I am being tasked with entertaining the kids should they need it during the event! It should be great fun and hopefully will help me get fully fit to maybe attempt a personal best in a spring marathon, subject to agreement from the wife...
3. Training wise - what does a normal week look like for you?
Tuesday: Intervals/Tempo Run
Wednesdays: Long & Steady Run
Thursdays: Speed work
Friday: OFF (or easy 5km if not racing on the weekend)
Saturday: Usually a track race or Parkrun
Sunday: Long Run
I am currently racing 5k and steeplechase on the track, and so I am running more tempo runs and intervals than I might normally do whilst training for a marathon. However, my body seems to respond well to this and running faster gives me the confidence to run a marathon pace that feels fairly easy, at least for some of the race! I often have Monday off, but only because I tend to have a long day in clinic and a commute to London. Tuesday will be intervals or a tempo run. Wednesday a slightly longer steady run and more speed on Thursday. Friday will probably be a day off if I am racing on the track on Saturday or maybe an easy 5km. Saturdays are often race days on the track or steeplechase - if not those then Parkrun of course! Sunday is a long run day if possible, and I often get dragged out by a friend if I am lacking motivation. Obviously I will have to go get some longer runs in if I am going to be running a marathon in October!
4. Any other events coming up you'd like to share?
The track season is nearly finished for me so one or two more track races, then a half marathon to see if I am in reasonable shape for Abingdon in October.
5. Give us one piece of running kit that you couldn't live without?
I began running in 1990 and have a keen interest in running shoes, so the best shoes are important for me. I would say I always have more than one pair on the go at once. For me, it is important to have lighter shoes for when I want to run fast and more cushioned shoes for the longer runs. Fortunately, these days you can have the best of both with shoe technology moving forward the shoes are all much lighter than when I started!
6. What kind of things would you eat before doing a longer run? Fast run?
Food is a really individual thing, but I tend to go for carbs before a run with relatively low fat and not too heavy on the protein. If I am running steady I could literally eat some cereal or toast and head straight out the door. For a faster session I would leave a little longer, probably at least an hour before if not more, but similar principles. I normally eat after a track session with just a small snack between lunch and the session, although it does mean some 9 pm dinners sometimes!
7. What is your favourite track session and why!
I do love the track! A good session is often dictated by how many of the lads are sick! If I am really fit probably something like 20 x 400m with one minute recovery. It's the last few when you are starting to feel it but can still push through that feels so good! I also like to run faster too, I began training with some 400m runners a few years ago and sprinting really helps with strength, speed, muscle activation, and stride length. Running 200m reps are fun. It's about as far as you can run fast before you really have to breathe a lot and things all fall apart!
8. What shoes you currently are running in?
My current favourites are the Saucony Kinvara. They are light enough to pick up the pace in, my favourite option for parkrun, and still have enough cushioning for longer runs too. They will probably be the shoe I wear for the marathon this year. It is difficult to get the right blend of cushioning and responsiveness but I have yet to find a better option than this!
9. Your background is in sports massage and sports science - remind us where you studied and how your role helps with understanding gait analysis?
I studied Sports Science at Anglia Ruskin in Cambridge many years ago, and some areas of the teaching were really good, and others were maybe not as advanced as they are now. We did have a good biomechanics department and I enjoyed the anatomy and physiology elements as well. I was fortunate to have managed a running store that was based in a physiotherapy practice and this inspired me to study further. I completed a sport and remedial massage course at the London school of sports massage. The running shop also allowed me to meet many other therapists and runners from across the country. I have been fortunate to work with high level athletes for many years.
10. You have worked with Saucony and various shoe stores across the country - tell us more!
From the running shop, I joined Saucony as a tech rep for 5 years helping to train running shop staff and do some video gait analysis evenings. I originally covered from Peterborough to Cardiff and everywhere south of this, but have also attended some stores further north as part of an events team. I still work for Saucony on a part-time basis helping out at events and with some staff training.
11. What does 3D gait analysis mean to you?
Run3D is a great screening tool and allows us to look at biomechanics in a different way. With video I am confident I can see any gross movements and imbalances, but we are unable to see the finer movements such as rotations without this technology. For me the best thing is you can see how it all connects together and it really pinpoints the areas that are moving well and which are not. This allows a faster and more complete rehab. At the clinic I work in, we often see people who have had previous treatment but have yet overcome the problem. Run3D is a great tool to help us overcome complex issues.
12. What is your favourite place in the world to run?
Running has taken me to many places but I grew up running around the countryside in Norfolk, so give me some wide open spaces, gently rolling hills and some fresh air and I am happy! I have always said I am 10km runner, but happy to run further in the right places!
Ken works in our Run3D London locations with Trevor Prior at Premier Podiatry. If you want to book an appointment for a 3D gait analysis in our London locations, please have a look at our contact us page to find out further details.
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