The Checklist: Training and kit advice from the Windsor Half Marathon winner

Dan Studley: All the chat from his favourite kit to where he wants to race next
Training advice from the Windsor Half champ

In this week's Checklist interview we speak to GB distance runner and winner of this year's Windsor Half Marathon, Dan Studley.

With times of 13:53 for 5k, 29:15 for 10k and 63:58 for half marathon, it's no wonder that Dan was picked to represent Saucony. Here we speak to him about his training, his plans and what he carries around in his kitbag.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a distance runner who has been involved in the sport for over 15 years now. I represented Great Britain at last year’s World Half Marathon Championships and have raced everything from 800m up to the half marathon in my career.

What projects are you currently working on?

My marathon debut on 1 December in Valencia. A move from track 5/10k to half marathon over the past two years was my first phase of moving towards the marathon (with a half marathon PB of 1:03); so now I am entering my first phase of out-and-out marathon training.

The Checklist: Training and kit advice from the Windsor half winner

What was the last thing you trained for?

I had a focus on the 10k during the summer to improve on my speed. I ran a PB on the road of 29:38, but unfortunately suffered from inflammation on my Achilles so wasn’t able to race more than a couple of races. The target was the British Champs / Highgate 10,000m.

What kind of schedule/program do you follow?

To train for the marathon I am running roughly 100-110 miles per week, which includes an intervals session, tempo run and a long run, with the rest of my week made up of slower paces – usually at a pace I can comfortably talk at.

In terms of training goals, my main goal has always been to try and be as patient and consistent as possible with my training. I also work on my form by doing post-run strides twice a week and have two conditioning sessions a week. Those are mainly simple, bodyweight exercises.

How do you evaluate your performance in a training session?

Most importantly I try not to make it all about data. I think nowadays with advancements in GPS/Strava etc. it's too easy to over analyse how fast you've run or compare your training times with competitors.

I have a holistic view on training – how I feel on each given day is far more important than the output data. For example, a morning where you feel tired/stiff may mean that the pace of that session is slower but the effort level on par with a faster day when you feel great.

What events/challenges/projects are you looking forward to/training for now?

Valencia Marathon is my main focus at the moment; I have a few different options for 2020 but I like to stay focused on one goal at a time.

What do you think will be the next big movements in health and fitness?

The running boom has been amazing for the sport! I have friends who I would have never believed would become runners but have embraced the sport and are now all about chasing their next PB. It’s great that fitness has become a fashionable hobby now which should make huge strides improving healthy living.

The Checklist: Training and kit advice from the Windsor half winner

Training Kit

What are the key items in your kit bag?

My four drinks – I never leave for training without four drinks made up! Fresh coffee to sip en-route, a carbohydrate solution to drink during my warm-up, water to have throughout a session and a chocolate protein shake to have straight after warming down.

Stretch mat – The glamour of distance running is I am usually working out of my car boot to prep for a session in all weathers; so a stretch mat is essential to open out my hips/back before I start a warm-up jog before a session.

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Carmex – Whether hot or cold stopping my lips from drying up/cracking is important and I have found Carmex a great product to help me breathe as comfortably as possible.

Hockey ball – After completing a two-mile warm-up jog. I use this time to identify any aches/sore areas, [then] I spend 5-10 minutes getting into them with a hockey ball pre-session.

Clean socks – I always like starting a session in fresh socks after warming up; I wouldn’t say I am superstitious but it feels nice and comfortable before I get going.

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What trainers do you use?

For everyday running it will be the Saucony Ride. They offer me the stability and support that I want to look after my feet running 100+ miles a week. The Rides are ideal training shoes for the neutral runner and seem to take the impact out of longer runs better than other shoes I have used before.

Buy now: Saucony (UK) / Saucony (US) | $120

The Checklist: Training and kit advice from the Windsor Half winner

My harder running and race efforts will be in the Saucony Freedom. For racing longer distances I’ve found with more stripped-out racing shoes the niggles I pick up outweigh the weight-saving; so I opt for the Freedom which is basically a light trainer. They offer a bit less cushioning than a neutral trainer, but enough support that I am not putting my feet under too much strain.

Buy now: Saucony (UK) / Saucony (US) | $160

The Checklist: Training and kit advice from the Windsor Half winner

What apparel do you use?

Anything Saucony! I am lucky enough to be supported by the brand for all my footwear and apparel needs. Lightweight and breathable are the key components I look for in apparel and the various Saucony products deliver on this by also staying light when running in warmer climates too.

What one item of your gear would you implore someone else to use?

Fresh race socks! It is probably just a psychological thing but I love the feeling of new and clean socks to put on after a warm-up to get ready to race.

Where’s the best place you've ever trained or competed?

Raced is Geneva, Switzerland. The past four years I’ve raced in Course Escalade, a 3-lap 7km road in the centre of Geneva. The short 2.5k lap twists around the city’s old town lined with thousands of spectators and Christmas lights. They know how to put on elite racing on the continent and I would thoroughly recommend going over to watch.

Training – I'd say Flagstaff, Arizona. Flagstaff is a key destination for distance runners. A small town 2,000m above sea level surrounded by pine forests and (literally) endless wide and rolling soft trails.

What’s the exercise you hate doing the most?

I’ve never been the biggest fan of strength work and try and keep it as running-specific as possible, working on strengthening feet, ankles, glutes and hips – then working on core after most easy runs. I’ve found little and often fits my running schedule best instead of big 2-3 hour gym sessions.

Quickfire questions

What’s your ultimate workout song?

Wheats – Strong Feelings

How many push-ups can you do in one go?

If I tapered I reckon I could do 20…

If you could compete/train anywhere in the world where would it be?

An American major marathon.

Who’s your fitness/sporting hero?

Jimmy Anderson.

Is there any sport you’re really bad at?

Football – I was horrendous technically but seemed to quite often get man of the match purely for the amount of running I did, so I probably transitioned to the right sport.

What’s your favorite post-competition/challenge meal?

Pizza and chips.

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