Hannah England: ‘I like being my own boss and being in control’
What’s your favourite place to run? University Parks in Oxford, where I grew up. I ran there this morning and I was actually thinking: “This is my favourite place.” I started running aged 13 and it was one of the first places I ever ran because it was safe. I really enjoy it, it’s a really pretty place.
Do you remember your first race? No. My mum said it was a Blue Peter mile that she took me and my brother to in Reading. She was asking: “Do you remember that mile?” And I can’t. I think I was about six. We must have done something else fun that day; the mile just didn’t stick with me.
When someone asks you for a training tip, what do you tell them? Make sure you set goals you believe in, and that you are excited by. If someone is going: “You have to run this many miles today”, and that intimidates you or daunts you … you’ve got to choose something that appeals to you. My sister, for instance, doesn’t want to run for longer than 20 minutes, and that’s fine. She’ll just try to run as fast as she can for 20 minutes, but she doesn’t care about doing any longer. So it’s choosing things that are applicable to yourself.
Do you like a running gadget? I like my Nike GPS watch. I like having the feedback from that, and a bit more knowledge on my training and how it’s gone.
Do you ever have runs where you just think, I’m putting the watch away, let’s just enjoy this one? No. Knowledge is power! I won’t always be a slave to it; I don’t always look at it – sometimes, I just look afterwards.
Do you ever run to music? I don’t, but I sometimes warm up to it. Anything, really – girl-power stuff, Beyoncé, or something like that.
What’s your post-race indulgence? Cake. Chocolate cake. Yup.
What’s the worst thing about running? I think missing out on things that are going on with my friends. One of my friends got a promotion last week and had a massive party, and I couldn’t go because I had a track session the next morning. It’s little things like that, missing out on milestones in other people’s lives.
What’s the best thing? Being your own boss. With a lot of my friends who work, there’s a lot of pressure and a lot of expectation from other people, and it’s nice that I’m the one with the expectations for myself, just being in control of everything like that.
What do you eat on the morning of a hard session? I always try to have scrambled eggs on toast. I think that sets me up well for a session or a race.
What’s the furthest you’ve ever run? I’ve done 14 miles. I got lost! It was supposed to be 10. I did race a half marathon once though.
Have you ever run barefoot? Sometimes we’ll do a warm-down on the grass infield barefoot. But often I’ll wear something like Nike Frees to do something like that because I worry about stepping on broken glass or something. It’s good to strengthen your feet.
What’s your greatest running achievement? Getting a silver medal at the World Championships.
Mo Farah or Usain Bolt? Definitely Mo Farah. Probably as a middle-distance athlete, being able to appreciate these longer distances. I love the tactics of it, I think it’s really interesting.
Who is the greatest runner ever? I think I’d say Paula Radcliffe because when she ran her world record I think she was either the fastest, or maybe the second-fastest, person in Britain. Full stop. To be beating all the men, that’s just pretty cool and a good role model. Someone who is so dominant in their sport.
Hannah England spoke at the launch of the Nike Zoom Air Pegasus 31.
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