Episode 134

Aly Dixon - Olympic marathon runner shares stories and tips to improve your running

British runner Aly Dixon first joined her local running club when she was 11 years old. It took time and patience for the proud Mackem (Sunderland) to get her first England vest at 29 and it was another two years before her first GB vest at 31. Her confidence hit rock bottom and she threw her trainers in the bin after the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. And it was her friend Paula Radcliffe who helped her to rekindle her love for running. Aly went on to fulfil a childhood dream of competing at the Rio Olympics, she finished 6th at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 and became World Champion over 50km in 2019. Aly retired from international competition in 2021 but is just as passionate about running.

You'll hear:

09:10 Tan lines of runners v triathletes

10:00 "I do plan on doing a triathlon at some point. The next challenge is now a triathlon and I do have a crazy ideas that I want to do an Ironman but I think about it for 20 seconds. I am just waiting for someone to get me drunk and hit that enter button. I've joined a triathlon club, so its the start of a slippery slope.

11:25 Aly talks about descending on a bike and how she has been overcoming her fear of going downhill. 'I think I was the only cyclist going down Sa Calobra to be glad to be stuck behind a tourist bus"

14:40 Aly's running career and how she needed a lot pf patience. "I didn't get my first England vest until I was 29 and my first GB vest until I was 31. From joining the club at 11 or 12 to retiring from international retirement at 43, it's been a long journey.

21:40 Completing Vs competing. One day there will be a time that I can truly go in and not worry about a time.

I have to remember that I am 43, I shouldn't be and can't be competing against people in their mid-30s. It's about being realistic and setting myself targets. I have to remind myself I'm still doing well as a 43 year old even though identify as a 27 year old. But I know I can't expect too much of myself. I keep on telling myself not to put any pressure on myself, as I'm only training 1/3 of what I used to. I can't compare 2022 Aly to 2017 Aly but you're always going to look back to what you have achieved and if I keep doing that, it will take away the love of it.

27:25 Loving running. 'I just love the feeling of running, so as long as I can do it, I'll do it.

29:10 My work colleagues think I'm mad for doing things at lunch time. But it's an addiction. But what are you going to replace it with? Beer and become obese?

30:10 Aly on Rio 2016 'It still doesn't feel real. I think I was 37 at the Olympics and I knew it was unusual, but I never felt like I was doing it for anyone else. Growing up, I put Olympians as demi-Gods who were not ordinary people. It's something I will be forever proud of, but it doesn't feel like it did when I was growing up.

33:40 Aly talks about how Paula Radcliffe went from being her teenage hero to a good friend. She was one of the most instrumental people to get to the Olympics. After (Glasgow) 2014, I decided I was never going to run again. I had lost all confidence and she took me under her wings and build up my confidence, confirming 'you are in great shape, you can do this.' Without her and the belief she had, I would have walked away. I do owe her a lot.

37:40 When confidence was rock bottom, how did she turn it around? I don't love it for the medals, i love it for everything else. "One bad run doesn't make you a bad runner."

45:40 Talent Vs hard work. 'My talent is that I can work hard. Running 120, 130 miles at times. It's ingrained from my dad, I watched him and he was a workhorse. I have phsyios who look at me who say 'how do you do it?' But I look back now and I know I did too much mileage. I could have been smarter with my training and I could have jumped on a turbo rather than going out on a 6 mile recovery run.

51:40 Aly talks about how important nutrition is and it's so important not to take shortcuts.

54:30 Aly's tips if you don't feel like a runner "SLOW DOWN!!" 99.9% of people would run slower if they didn't have strava. Easy isn't a pace it's an effort. Don't be dictated to by your watch.

Find out more about this week's guests

Aly Dixon Instagram

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About the Podcast

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Inside Tri Show
Helen Murray brings you awesome interviews from triathlon and beyond

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Helen Murray

Helen has been working in triathlon for a decade as an athlete, coach and broadcaster.

Helen hosts the Inside Tri Show podcast bringing you awesome interviews from triathlon and beyond