Our latest running Dad to feature on the blog is Grant who is keeping up the family tradition of running after his Dad.

TDCR: Hi Grant, tell us a little more about you.

GM:  Hi, I’m 36 years old, from Ingleby Barwick, Stockton-on-Tees. I have an amazing wife and a daughter, who is soon to be 3 years old. I work for a digital agency & sports social media platform delivering content for the biggest sporting brands and clubs.

TDCR: How did you first get into running?

GM:  My Dad inspired me to get into running. He ran the first Great North Run in 1981

Being an inspiration to his daughter is a big motivation to Grant

and the London Marathon in 1982.  To celebrate his 60th birthday, I entered us both into the Great North Run 2017. It was a special day and amazing to run & cross the finish line together. I would like to inspire my daughter and family in the same way.

TDCR: What has been your biggest challenge?

GM: Weight loss has been a surprising and unintentional benefit of running, I didn’t consider when starting out.  I was overweight (15st 1lbs / 95.9kg at my heaviest), a result of a decade of excess & indulgence, with very little exercise.

Following the Great North Run 2017, I was a regular at my local parkrun & noticed my 5k times were getting quicker. This motivated me to continue running into the winter months. At the turn of the year, I built on this momentum and decided to quit takeaway food & take a break from drinking too.

In March 2018, I ran a 10K for the first time under an hour (56:04). My wife took a post-race photo and I didn’t recognise myself. I later stepped on the scales for the first time in over 6 months and was surprised to find I had lost 2 stone and 6 lbs.

Grant loves to take part in the GNR, though he has learned some tough lessons there!

This was the moment that made me realise what was possible and how these small lifestyle changes made such a positive impact on my weight and overall health. It became my biggest challenge and sharpened my focus & dedication. This snowballed into healthier eating habits & nutrition, 3 runs per week, better sleep with more rest & recovery.

When my wife & daughter started coming along to parkrun on Saturday mornings to cheer me on, it made me double my efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle, inspire and make them proud.

By August 2018, I had lost 4 stone in total.

TDCR: Wow, that is great! So what has been the highlight of your running career, so far?

GM: In September, I ran Great North Run 2018, shaving 54 mins off my previous time from 2017.  Whilst I was happy with this achievement and also getting a sub 2 hour time, it was actually 10 minutes slower than in training. I got my pacing wrong.
At the start line, I was stood next to Paul Addicott [@pauladdicott], who was pacing the event for 1 hour 40 mins. Instead of sticking to my training pace (5:12/km) and aiming for 1 hour 50, my ego got the better of me. I tried to keep up with Paul’s pace for as long as possible. Subsequently, I faded badly in the final third of the race. It was a good lesson on pacing.
Three weeks later, I had an opportunity to put things right at the Redcar Half Marathon. This time I showed restraint & kept to the 5:12/km training pace from the off. The lesson learnt paid off and I felt great throughout. There was plenty left in the tank to up the pace for the last 5K and finish strongly.
I achieved a new PB of 1:50:11, learnt a valuable pacing strategy for future races and now understood the phrase ‘slow down to speed up’.
TDCR: What’s in your kit bag?

GM: I got a Garmin Forerunner 235 for my birthday & I’ve wore it everyday since, I love it. I’ve not experienced any drop in GPS signal and particularly like the ‘Finish Time’ display, which estimates your finish time, in real-time whilst running.

I have a pair of Nike Lunarglide 8 which are really light, a good fit for my wide feet and surprisingly inexpensive. My first pair lasted just over a year and I reordered exactly the same pair because they worked so well. Next time I may get my gait analysis done and see what type of running shoe is recommended for me.
A cheap & cheerful pair of Anker SoundBuds Slim,  sports bluetooth headphones that have lasted over 18 months so far – and are still working well, even after being discovered in the washing machine on a couple occasions.
TDCR: What events are on your wish list and why?

GM: I’ve recently entered the Manchester Marathon in April 2019. It is a flat, fast course

Grant is looking forward to taking on the Manchester Marathon in 2019

so will be ideal for my first marathon. I am looking forward to taking on a marathon training plan in the New Year. Between now and then, my focus is on building up a solid level of base fitness, by consistently getting in a 10 mile long run every weekend and shorter interval & hills during the week.

I was unsuccessful in the London Marathon 2019 ballot this year so this would be high on a wish list of future events.
TDCR: What are your top tips for us running dads?

GM: Make time for running whenever possible – with a young daughter, I struggle to fit early morning or evening runs into my weekday. I’m lucky enough to have a flexible employer, work shower facilities and a parkrun location on the office doorstep. This helps fit running into my day. I regularly run on my lunch break and often swap a car commute for a run to work & home afterwards. My recommendation would be to try and seek out any available opportunities to flexibly fit running around your day and circumstances.

Make a playlist with a power song – I enjoy listening to music whilst running, it adds to the experience. I have various playlists for different distances & paces. Each are timed accordingly and finish with Kanye West – Power. I have finished so many runs listening to that song, that like muscle memory, my body now automatically clicks into gear and picks up the pace for a strong finish when I hear it.
Running audiobooks & podcasts – I like to listen to audiobooks & podcasts too. Here are a few recommendations:
TDCR: Thank so so much Grant, some real gems here, good luck with Manchester I am sure you will do really well.
Follow Grant via instagram @gmilestone

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