Sprinting towards his athletic dream!

We have recently said farewell to a longstanding member of our team, James Rodgers, our Head of Data Services. It’s not your standard step up the career ladder though, it’s a ‘sprint’ towards him fulfilling his ambitions as an elite marathon runner. Before he ‘ran’ off we took the opportunity to discover where his love for running came from and what it takes to get to the top of his game.

James has been racing at an elite level for the past seven years at numerous distance events and he has now brought his race times down to include a 31min 10k. With the support of his coaching team, he is now attempting a move to the marathon with the goal of representing Great Britain as an elite athlete.

Have you always enjoyed running?

Yes, I started running around 8 or 9 years of age. My Dad was a keen runner and I used to join him on his runs. At the age of 20 I took part in my first half-marathon, I led for most of the way then fell apart at the last few miles! It didn’t put me off though, if anything it spurred me on. My first half-marathon time was 1 hour 18 minutes, and I’m now running the same distance in 1 hour 9 minutes.

What is your favourite distance?

The half-marathon. Probably because of the rapid improvement when I first got into it! Also, the time goals were nice, from a starting goal of 1hr 20, I’m now going for 1hr 05. The Bristol half obviously holds a special place for me. I have come 8th twice now, so winning that is one of my first goals post work!

How have you managed your training with a full-time job and what does your current training schedule look like?

I train pretty much every day in one form or another. I tend to train after work in the evenings. My current schedule consists of 80 miles a week plus weight and strength training for injury prevention. The biggest challenge is actually making sure I eat enough and properly. If I finish training at 9pm then I’m not eating until at least 9.30-10pm. It’s quite hard to eat a big meal at that time and then get a good night’s sleep!

What will your new regime and lifestyle look like?

I’ll definitely be able to increase the volume of training, hopefully upping my distance to 100 miles a week. I’ll be able to complete longer workouts with more strength and conditioning and give myself a longer recovery time to prevent injury. I’m attending two training camps, one in St Moritz in August and one in Portugal this winter. One of the areas I’m actually most interested in is what nutrition fuels you better, both before and after a race.

Arun Sarwal gives James his leaving gift

Arun gives James his leaving present

What is your ultimate goal?

To represent Great Britain as an elite athlete in a distance event.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of taking up running, competitive or otherwise?

Definitely join a running group. It will give you structure and offers you a chance to meet like-minded people. Make sure you progress slowly and build up your pace and distance bit by bit. For new runners I think the best thing you can do is get a gait analysis and spend money on a decent pair of trainers, to help with injury prevention. Oh, and make sure you replace them regularly, I personally go through two pairs of trainers every three months!

Finally, what will you miss most about FundsLibrary?

I will definitely miss the people I worked with, especially the Data Services Managers, and of course, having been in the team for over six years I have built some strong relationships with our Asset Manager clients. I will still be keeping my eye on what’s going on though as Funds and Investments has always been a big interest of mine.

Thank you James and we hope to see you on our screens soon!