Monday, 16 July 2012

Strider in the Spotlight - Mike Jubb

It’s time for the next 'Strider in the Spotlight' – and it’s Coach Jubb in the hot seat!

How long have you been running and when did you join Striders?
I've been running since I was about 13. I was rubbish at all sports at school, but found out that I could hold my own when we ran cross-country. My sister got a lift to work with a member of the local orienteering club, so that was how I got into endurance sport. I chose my university based on their successful orienteering club (Sheffield), then post-university I joined Derby Athletics Club, and focussed on fell racing for a couple of years (until I ended up in intensive care after an overly ambitious descending technique resulted in concussion). I then found a niche for myself running the steeplechase in the club league matches (mainly because I was the only person prepared to do it)....but also found that I was quite good at it, possibly from my years of 'strong' running. So in my late 20s my year consisted of running the typical club timetable of cross-country all winter, road relays in spring, track racing all summer, road racing in autumn before heading back into the cross-country season again.

At the age of 32, when my track times started to get slower, I decided that I should have a crack at the marathon. We had moved to St Albans in 2001, but I was still running first claim for Derby, and only second claim for the Striders, so in my Derby vest I ran a 2:28:09 to finish in the top-50 in London. This was the only 'serious' marathon that I've attempted, as I then discovered the world of multi-sport, and started racing duathlon (run-bike-run). Since 2005, I decided to bring in the challenge of swimming to participate in triathlons, and since then I've competed in two Ironman races.

I've been coaching at the club, leading the Tuesday night track sessions, for around 8 years, and it’s been great to see club members go from strength to strength over the years. 

What’s been your best moment as a Strider?
In 2003, the year after I'd trained for the London Marathon (clocking training of 100+ mile weeks), I started to train for the duathlon and hence cutting my mileage back significantly to enable the bike training to be fitted in. So it was quite a surprise to me that at the National Cross Country at Parliament Hill I finished in 14th place. I had been on the osteopath's table the day before with a bad back, and was considering not running, even on the morning of the race. However after a 'steady' start I kept working through the field and on the last lap found myself overtaking people who I would not have dreamed of beating - like Rob Denmark and Mark Hudspith. By the last couple of miles I just wanted the race to keep on going, as I was still working my way through the field. I guess it was just my 'dream race' where everything goes perfect.

What’s your pre-race ritual? 
When I was at home, my mum always used to cook me spaghetti bolognese the night before a race, but I had a few bad experiences of a dodgy stomach on race day with numerous trips to the toilet, so I decided to swap to pizza....a food that you can find everywhere.....my favourite being pepperoni, washed down with a bottle of beer (to help me sleep!).

On race morning, I like to have porridge, 3 hours before the start, with a strong coffee about an hour before the race, and water or weak electrolyte drink being sipped up to the start of the race.

I like to arrive at races with at least an hour to go, start warming up (with very easy jogging) about 30–40 mins before the start, and with 10–15 mins before the race, I start doing drills and strides to get the legs ready to operate in 'race' mode.

What’s the most useful piece of running advice you’ve been given? 
I used to run with tight fists, and was then told to put my thumbs between my index and middle fingers........no more tight fists!

Who is your sporting hero? 
Lance Armstrong......the guy continues to compete in his 40s at the very highest level in the world’s toughest races.

Where do you keep your race medals? 
The important ones (National and World championships and my Ironman finishers medals) are on display, but the majority are either in the loft or hanging on the end of the banister rail.

What’s your favourite local running route? 
I love running hills in the park, but if I just want to go for a relaxing run, there is flat route from Park Street down the Ver Valley Way.....it’s about 35 mins from my house down to the end and back......mostly on off-road trails, alongside the stream.

What's your favourite race? 
I used to race a road race every Boxing Day in Barnsley. It's called the Ward Green 6, and is a two-lap course that runs down a big hill before climbing back up again. A number of athletes would be seen regretting their extra portion of Xmas pudding as they suffered up the hill. I won it or finished in the top3 for several years running, but what makes the race stick in my memory was the fact that the prizegiving was held in the local working-men’s club (with dripping sandwiches and pork pies laid out on the snooker table), and the prizes were donated by a local electricity shop.....the men picked up radios and TVs, while the women’s prizes were electric mixers, toasters and irons. LOL!

What’s your next target? 
My big aim for the year is the Helvellyn Triathlon. It finishes with an 8 mile 'run' to the top of Helvellyn and back. I'm also enjoying being able to run competitively again. After an operation on my calf in 2009, it’s taken until this year for me to be able to train consistently on it.....so I'm enjoying chasing the younger, fast lads in the club....hopefully it will push them on to race faster too to stay ahead of me!! 

Mike Jubb

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