Ultra Trail Spain’s Sarah here. I don’t usually blog about the folks I train. But I’m so amazingly proud of this particular runner – she’s dynamite in running shoes and such an inspiration.
Who is this mystery person? I’m breaking my code of secrecy to tell you about… Hani*.
A little history
I’ve been coaching Hani for the last three years, since she and a group of her Malaysian friends, who are all based in Qatar, decided to take on the Madrid Rock n Roll marathon.
Hani was possibly the most experienced of the group having done a little bit of running, notching up the odd 10km, half marathon even, and supporting her runner/ triathlete husband. She was coming from a background all too aware of the time that training can suck out of everyday life.
Hani and the team romped around Madrid. Their training wasn’t easy, with the last few weeks blessed by a warmer than usual time in Qatar, but everyone survived and made it around the city course.
Clearly Hani was bitten by the bug, for after a summer resting inside out of Qatar’s heat, she was back at my door requesting a new training plan, targeting Barcelona 2016. Head down and heels up she was back on the training grindstone, getting stronger and running faster.
For me as a coach however, this year was about building a stronger endurance base, without which her running knowledge would not lead to increased speed.
Another PB at Barcelona, and the next season’s target was more ambitious again.
The family had also moved and Hani had got herself an indoor ‘spin’ bike. The idea was to build up more strength in the home, get as much running as she could on the treadmill in the gym, just running outside as and when she could in Qatar, as the heat permitted.
Finding time to train
Hani and her husband have four young children…and as anyone with four young children will know …you don’t get much time to yourself. Hani’s training time is limited, she’s a mum first and foremost, her husband’s IM triathlon training commitments come next, followed by her own modest training.
Whatever plan I can put together is constrained by time. We have to squeeze as much out of the time she has to spare – and I have to appreciate that sometimes it’s just not possible to train.
Hani works incredibly hard. She had just one or two long runs outside on the road before Kuwait 2016 marathon, her early season training goal. We also implemented a stricter bodyweight training schedule she could complete at home in just 15 minutes a couple of times a week, around her spin bike training – mainly standing hills to build leg strength – and treadmill runs.
Hani is one of those natural runners. She’s light, agile and beautifully balanced, but like everyone she’s had to learn to put her power down and drive through her hip joints.
She flew RAK half marathon 2017 with a new PB a month or so before Washington DC Rock n Roll marathon – her goal race of the season.
A-race in sight
The aim – an evenly run pace over the new course. How would she fair? I was nervous. I always am. Race day comes and you can have done everything you can, but it still takes a special kind of magic for a PB to happen.
Washington was tough. The tracker showed Hani was flying, but I was nervous, something wasn’t right…and then she hit the wind. Her pace was slowing but she was still making great progress. I cannot imagine how difficult it was out there, but she crossed the line in 3:48 – a massive 5 minutes PB – all credit to her and achieved on just three runs a week. There’s simply no more training time in her busy schedule.
So folks, next time you say you don’t have time to exercise – YOU DO! It doesn’t matter if it’s only three minutes or you have the luxury of three hours; get out there and get moving! If Hani can find the time, YOU can find it too.
* Thank you to Hani for letting me share her story.