We Put Your Posers to Paula

Paula Radcliffe answers your questions on socks, ultras and Big Macs

Posted: 31 August 2006
by Jane Hoskyn

When we asked you for questions for Paula Radcliffe, we hadn't bargained on you being such an imaginative bunch.

It's only a couple of days since we asked for your questions, one of which we'll draw at random to win a place running alongside Paula in October's Nike Run London 10K.

But we've already received hundreds of entries, ranging from the practical (can you help me run a marathon, please?) to the frankly bizarre ("What is your seventh-favourite Latin ballroom classic of all time?" Take a bow, Welsh Alex).

Nike invited us out for a training run with Paula in Regent's Park yesterday, so we grabbed the chance to ask a few of the questions we've received so far ... and to take some cheeky photos of her dainty baby bump.

The competition doesn't close until Friday September 8, so keep those questions coming – click here for details. Meanwhile, here's how Paula answered some of the puzzlers you've sent in so far.

Ask Paula!

You moved up from 10Ks to marathons with great success. How about trying an ultra-marathon?
(Duncan Sadler)
No! A marathon's far enough. It's the perfect distance for me, I wouldn't go further. Mind you, I said that before I moved up to marathons...

Paula and friends limber up in Regent's Park
What cross training do you do? (grasshopper1)
Strength training with free weights, the Swiss ball for core stability, different types of stretch and stability exercises – all those are twice a week. And I try to fit in some time on a Nordic ski machine, elliptical trainer or aqua jogger, especially for high mileages. They're good because they give you a cardio vascular workout but without the impact of running. If you're already running 130, 140 miles a week, it's much better for your joints and gives you more time to recover.

How are you adapting your training to your pregnancy?
I've cut back on the training, and I'm doing more of it on the elliptical trainer and aqua jogger. It's not just for the joints – I'm getting heavier now as well, so when I get into the water it's like, great, it suddenly feels like it used to!

What will you do if your child says, "Mum, I want to run for Britain"? (David Robertson 5)
I'd say great, go for it! I'd be happy to encourage them. I want them to enjoy sport, but I won't push them into it or even coach them. I'd rather they joined a club or had a coach who's qualified to train youngsters. Kids don't always listen to Mum or Dad anyway!

The first sub-3:30-miler?
RW: What do you think about kids running long distances?
I definitely think with younger kids it's better to go for higher intensity and less volume running. But as they get into their teens and want to run longer distances, fine – or if they want to do the high jump, long jump, triple jump, tennis, golf, whatever. Let them try everything, and find what they like.

You're well known for your 100-plus-mile weekly training schedule each week. How do you find time to sleep?
(Chris Leigh 3)
I sleep a lot! I get 10 hours or so at night, and another two in the afternoon between 2 and 4 o'clock. I'm usually in bed by 10.30 or so, and don't get up until 8 or 9 o'clock. I basically sleep, eat and run... though I do relax a bit too!

RW: Don't you ever feel terrible after your afternoon nap?
Yeah, sometimes it's hard to wake up again. I can wake up and I'm... Where am I? But then within 10 minutes or so your body does adjust to it. I don't feel right if I go for a day without my nap.

RW: What about jet lag with overseas marathons?
It's difficult, but there are ways to help your body prepare for the new time zone. If you're going east to west, say if you're going to the New York Marathon, start going to bed a bit later and getting up a bit later in the week before. But the most important thing is to adjust your watch as soon as you're on the plane, then eat according to the new time. When you get there, try to stay awake to 8.30 or 9pm, then make yourself stay in bed even if you wake up really early. If I wake up early really hungry, I have a banana or cereal bar and try to go back to sleep.

Paula stretches it out

How do you deal with boredom during a long run?
(Royston Crandley 2)
I think about problems, what I'm watching on TV... and I look in people's gardens and houses as I'm going along! I'm quite lucky, Gary's usually with me on the bike, so I'm like: 'Sing a song, say something'. I can't always talk if I'm working hard, so if he just tells a joke it takes my mind off it. I count as well, and sing to myself. Singing can get annoying because I find myself repeating the same song over and over for ages.

RW: What songs?
Let Me Entertain You by Robbie Williams, a couple of R Kelly songs, that sort of thing. One year it was Daniel Bedingfield's Gotta Get Thru This. Not because I liked it particularly, but because it was a hard part of my training, and the song seemed to fit! I always listen to music when I'm building up to a race, and I need it when I'm cross-training in the gym.

Why do you wear those long socks? (bald eagle1)
They're compression socks. They're to support the calf and reduce soreness after the race. If I'm doing a marathon or long track race, my calves can be really sore the next day, no matter how much I stretch. The socks help lymphatic drainage and circulation, so I wear them when I'm flying as well.

How do you control your asthma? (J Ailey)
I carry a monitor, and I use a Ventolin reliever and a preventer. I use the Ventolin if conditions are difficult, like if it's smoky or foggy. Athens could have been a problem because of the pollution, but actually I didn't have to increase my dose there, whereas I did in Atlanta and New York. Not in London, though, which must be a good sign!

Would you eat a McDonald's? (Muffin29)
Yes I would, and I have, though the only thing I have is the chicken burgers. Gary (Lough, Paula's husband and coach) is a big McDonald's fan. I don't really get a craving for that sort of thing and I've never had a Big Mac. But I think you can have everything in moderation, just as long as you're not in there every day.

Paula with Lord Seb Coe at the Run London launch

About Nike Training Runs
Nike are hosting morning and evening training runs for the Run London 10K in various spots across London. Find out more at www.runlondon.com

Previous article
Reader to Reader: Why Train With a Backpack?
Next article
Your Top Heart Rate Training Tips

paula radcliffe

Discuss this article

Great advertising for them methinks.

Or a typo.
Posted: 01/09/2006 at 01:31

To cover myself, it does say it at the moment.
Posted: 01/09/2006 at 01:32

I remember my last Mcdonalds well - Bradford at about 3 in the afternoon in the summer of 1992, because we couldn't find anywhere else open for lunch.

Felt sick within the hour and stomach upset for several days.

Haven't been able to face one since.
Posted: 01/09/2006 at 08:23

They do lovely healthy deli sandwiches, freshly made, I always go for the tikka.
Posted: 01/09/2006 at 08:52

can't see where it says it now Sam. Says something about she occasionally has a chicken thingy
Posted: 01/09/2006 at 08:54

Urgh! I don't want to break the world marathon record if you have to eat those mushed-up mechanically-reformed chicken things to do it :oS~

(Agree that the deli sandwiches are kind of edible in an emergency, though!)
Posted: 01/09/2006 at 09:01

Just to confirm that it still has the following sentence at the end of the answer to Muffin29's question:

"But I think you can have everything in moderation, just as long as you're in there every day."

So is this Paula's real secret?
Posted: 01/09/2006 at 09:20

Now thats my kind of training,mr mac here I come.
Posted: 01/09/2006 at 09:22

I used to avoid them but they aren't too bad these days - probably better than most cafes.
Posted: 01/09/2006 at 09:25

I'm pretty sure that's a typo then.

I even read it as having a "not" in there, because otherwise it so obviously contradicts the first part of the sentence
Posted: 01/09/2006 at 09:26

It's clearly a typo - otherwise that wouldn't be 'in moderation'!!!!!!!!
Posted: 01/09/2006 at 09:28

It's not a typo - its the REAL reason she is getting a bit of a belly.
Posted: 01/09/2006 at 09:58

Generally a typo but currently she is 'eating for two' :-)
Posted: 01/09/2006 at 10:41

unless by "in there", she means in there training, i.e. nothing to do with being in a MacDonalds...
Posted: 01/09/2006 at 10:44

I was thinking back to the TV coverage of a certain incident a couple of years ago... Sorry if this has been done to death on here but I wasn't around at the time. But I was thinking about how the commentators didn't quite see what had happened and they played it back (followed by a loooooong silence... LOL). But at least I think they didn't slow the footage down... which means they showed fast-motion playback.

Sorry, just couldn't resist...
Posted: 02/09/2006 at 18:05

Rowan - you were seeing McD burger production in action there!
Posted: 04/09/2006 at 00:09

Wonder if she's reading this thread. If so hope she sees the funny side, especially as I got her autograph on Sunday and she was really nice!
Posted: 04/09/2006 at 14:50

We'd love you to add a comment! Please login or take half a minute to register as a free member

Smart Coach
Free, fully-personalized training plans, designed to suit your racing goals and your lifestyle.