Our brand ambassador and keen runner, Kerry Merchant (43), talks us through her proudest moments and tells us how she stays motivated!
What got you into running?
My Dad (now deceased) ran and I started by running with him and then joined the local running club.
What is your biggest accomplishment to date?
My first major accomplishment was when, from one seasons training, I went from placing in the 70’s to first in the North Staffs Cross Country league. Since then I have gone on to represent Staffordshire in 10 Inter County cross country races. Since turning 35, I have won 5 Midland Masters Gold medals on the track and in cross country and have 3 British Masters Medals. I have been coaching youngsters for 8 years and am now lead coach at the local running club.
How do you set your goals?
I try to look for new challenges and for races that I haven’t done before; I have won races in lots of different distances and on different terrains, so I try to change this all the time and each season look for a new challenge rather than repeating an old one.
What keeps you motivated?
It is harder as you get older; as a runner, your times will eventually become slower, but then you look to get awards and records for your age group. I have been doing weight training for the last 3 years and go to Pilates and ride my bike to mix my training up a bit which helps me stay motivated other than just running.
Who inspires you?
Growing up, I was inspired by the likes of Sebastian Coe and can remember watching athletics with my dad. In more recent years, my main inspiration is Alistair Brownlee - I think triathlon is the toughest sport anyone can do and I was in London by the transition area in 2012 when he won his Olympic Gold… this is something that I will always remember.
What does your diet look like?
My diet is very, very healthy – I don’t actually eat enough to sustain the amount of exercise that I do which is something I have always battled with and am trying to adjust.
Do you take any additional supplements, if so, what are you?
I have protein after weight training and track sessions as is a quick way of repairing muscles. I also add Dextrose to this as a carb boost.
What does your current training routine look like?
I run six days a week, including a long Sunday run, 1 track session and 2 other sessions with the other runs being slow recovery runs. I do upper body at the gym 3 times a week and go to Pilates once a week. I sometimes swap my runs for bike rides.
What do you find the hardest thing is about running?
The hardest thing is training 6 days a week, even when tired and in bad weather… it’s sometimes hard to get out of the door!
What’s the best thing about it?
The sense of achievement for completing hard sessions and achieving personal best times.
What’s the best advice you were ever given?
You can’t get out of the tank what you don’t put in.
Do you have any life mottos you live by?
Work hard, play hard!
What advice do you have for anyone who is starting out in running?
Running is always hard at first, take it slowly and build miles slowly and it will get easier – promise!