Helena Tobin

(Brighton & Hove City AC)Helena Tobin_cr

Helena Tobin, 34, finished second in the 2014 Harvey Curtis Sussex Road Race Challenge, and in doing so set a new 10k PB of 35:12 at the Brighton 10k.

How long have you been running competitively?
I started running when I was around 21 — so, a good few years ago! I was an 800m and 1500m runner initially and achieved county and South of England vests over those distances. After a break of a few years from competitive track running, I joined Brighton and Hove AC. It was here that I met some wonderful people who encouraged me back into competitive running. My current coach Allison Benton has played a key part in helping me to reinvent myself as a 5k/10k runner.

Proudest running achievement/PB?
As a track runner, winning a bronze medal at the AAA indoors championships behind Kelly Holmes in 2004. It wasn’t my fastest 800m, but it was my first national medal and a hugely exciting experience that I will remember forever. As a road runner, it’s probably coming second on home turf at the Brighton 10k while also getting a new PB of 35:12.

Current target race(s)?
I’m currently building up fitness following an injury, so mostly trying to look ahead to the summer and having a go at improving my 5k PB (17:03) on the track.

Average weekly mileage over last eight weeks?
On the rare occasions when I’m not carrying an injury, I can get up to around 35-40mpw.

Favourite training session?
Any session on the track really! It’s definitely where I feel most at home and where I feel I push myself the hardest.

Worst thing about running?
The injuries. But going through the lows of running make you appreciate the highs all the more.

Road or trail?
Road.

Flat or hills?
I do like training and racing on the flat; I much prefer being able to get up some speed.

Favourite running shoes?
My Adidas Adizero Adios trainers that I use for races — the lightest trainers I’ve ever worn and lots of grip on wet roads/track.

Best piece of training advice you’ve ever been given?
To cross-train. Spin sessions on the bike have really helped to build up my training volume, increase my muscle strength and see me through times when I’ve been injured and unable to run.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you took up running?
I do wish the 5k Parkrun initiative had been around when I first took up running. I’d advise anyone that hasn’t done a Parkrun yet (regardless of their fitness level) to find their local course and give it a go one Saturday. It’s a great place to meet other friendly runners and work on your own personal running and fitness goals.

Favourite post-run treat?
Tea and cake.

Originally published: 22nd January, 2015.