LUCJA LEONARD

From non-runner to multi-stage ultras, Lucja Leonard is relatively new to the running game after taking it up to get fit back in 2005. From shy beginnings of 5k and 10k runs, she now explores the world through running, competing in events such as the Marathon Des Sables and Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon. An accomplished ultra-runner and running coach, she is also the founder of Edinburgh Run Tours, designing tours for runners of all abilities.

how are you getting on with #run1000miles?

It's been a great start! I've really enjoyed the interaction on social media, which is motivating everyone to get out and join in the challenge. And the community is growing daily!

what does an average training week look like for you?

My average training week is pretty full on. I train 6 days a week, which includes is at least one session of hill repeats, speed, strength and a long run. My mileage increases as I build towards an event, which results in some days being double training sessions before and after work, but ALWAYS with a rest day.

do you have some advice for runners struggling to fit in the miles?

Have a real honest look at your time schedule, where you are wasting time watching TV or sitting on social media (guilty!) and use that time to get out for a run. Look to combine 'jobs' with a run?  Can you run to work, or get off the bus/train a few stops earlier and run? Need to pick something up at the shops, run there and back? If you are still short for time, get up half an hour or an hour earlier and head out for a few miles.

what's your essential running kit?

I don't hit the trails without a few basics in one of my Ultimate Direction running bags, including a first aid kit with safety blanket, emergency food & water, head torch, waterproof jacket and layers to keep warm. I will always have my Suunto watch on me to track my run, as well as maps and a good pair of trail shoes that work for you.

any big events coming up in 2017?

Where do I start! I'm a self-confessed race junkie! So far I have got the following:

February - Endurance Life Northumberland Marathon 

March - Tizi n Trail, which is a 3 day race in Morocco of about 20-25km per day

April - The Highland Fling in Scotland, 53 miles of the first half of the West Highland Way

September - Ben Nevis Ultra 110k

And no doubt the months in between will fill up soon!

WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT #RUN1000MILES?

It's an achievable but stretching target for most people, a goal to focus on throughout the year. A target of running 1,000 miles gives everyone a chance to prioritise and build a healthy routine that will become part of their lives.

HOW FAR DO YOU USUALLY RUN EACH WEEK?

I usually run 40-80 miles a week, it depends on what I'm training for.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO ABOUT RUNNING 1000 MILES YOURSELF IN 2017?

I'm looking forward to being part of a journey for others. I hope that I'll be able to inspire and motivate even just one person to make small changes to their lifestyle to keep them fitter, happier and healthier.

HOW EASY/HARD DO YOU THINK THIS CHALLENGE WILL BE FOR YOU?

Barring catastrophic injury, reaching the 1,000 miles will be the easy part, the hard part will be getting others involved and keeping them motivated.

WHAT/WHO IS GOING TO KEEP YOU MOTIVATED?

I'm a very good self-motivator, but take inspiration from others stepping outside their comfort zone.

IS THERE ANYTHING THAT MIGHT SCUPPER YOU?

Injury, nothing else, I love running and I love the feel good feeling it brings me.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNEL(S) SHOULD PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU ON?

Twitter and Instagram as @runningdutchie

DO YOU HAVE A WEBSITE YOU WANT TO DIRECT PEOPLE TO?

 www.runningdutchie.org

ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO TELL TRAIL RUNNING READERS BEFORE YOU START THE #RUN1000MILES CHALLENGE WITH THEM?

This challenge is so achievable for everyone, whether you are just starting out or an experienced runner needing some added motivation, just tell yourself that you can, and you will!