We Put Your Posers to Paula

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?
(GoLightly)
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