POP Porridge Ambassador Paul Navesey

An Interview with Pop Porridge Ambassador Paul Navesey

We would like to give a warm welcome to our new POP Porridge ambassador Paul Navesey. Paul is a breakfast enthusiast with a particular love for porridge. His love of oat based meals is shared with running. Particularly endurance events from 5k through to the marathon. A British Champion at 100k and County titles at 3000m, 5000m and 10k.

Paul currently has a PB of 2:17 over the 42.2k distance and he is looking to improve upon that at the London Marathon in October 2020, continuing on the path to his long term goal of achieving Commonwealth Games, Birmingham UK qualification standard for 2022.

Fuelling and re-fueling during marathon training is vital to a consistent performance. Also during the challenging task of preparing for a marathon it is necessary to ensure good health throughout. POP porridge will be supporting Paul in providing bespoke porridge mixes and toppings that can meet the demands of training in terms of fuel, recovery and maintaining great health.

The following Q&A includes Paul sharing about; how he is dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak, upcoming plans and running product/gadget recommendations.

Q1: We are currently experiencing an unprecedented disruption to our daily routine due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. How has it affected your training sessions and have you had to make any adaptions?


I have actually used the time to allow my body to recover a little. My main target was London marathon, with this now being moved to October I have taken the opportunity to enjoy some down time, a little rest from running and I will be back to training shortly enjoying my daily outing in my trainers again! I have worked on the areas that I would tend to neglect at other times making use of time and resistance bands to keep my self moving and ready for getting back to training.

Q2: There might be runners at the moment who are unable to run outside due to having to self-isolate for health reasons and they might want to invest in a home treadmill. You broke a 50km record with a time of 3hrs:03mins:57secs in December 2014 for treadmill running, so are there any treadmills that you recommend and what key features should they have? 


I used a Precor treadmill at the Profeet store in Fulham, Nordictrack and Noble Pro seem very popular amongst athletes currently. As far as treadmills go I am no expert but I would ensure that it meets the requirements of your training in terms of speed, elevation and of course falls within your budget. Don’t take on lots of debt just so you can run 2kph faster in your living room. 

Potentially even look at investing your money into something that will help maintain fitness now and be beneficial in the future. A stationary bike or cross trainer will help now and continue to serve a purpose once you set free running in the real world again!

Q3: You are an elite athlete who fits training around your day job. What changes have you had to make in recent weeks in order to still continue to serve your clients?


My job is delivering training in a 1:1 or small group environment, face to face. It has been a very sudden change to online video training sessions with clients and providing pre-written plans. I much prefer the face to face interaction but this has allowed me to keep engaging with people at a time when health is of even more importance.

Q4: What tools/gadgets do you prefer to use/recommend to other runners with their training and why? 


I like to keep running as simple as possible. Grab a good pair of shoes, always look after your feet! A watch, GPS is great but even a standard watch so you at least know what time to be home for dinner works!

I do have a soft spot for Strava, an exercise/social media app. Great for tracking training, interacting with others or just seeing who insists that mowing their lawn should be included in their weekly volume! All in all it is good fun.

Q5: What do you think are the most essential things that a runner needs to do in order to make signifcant strides in improving their running efficiency and achieving PBs?


A long term focus and the patience to maintain it. This approach will allow for the necessary progressive steps and minimise the set backs. Progress takes time, enjoy the process of that and keep loving the running!

Q6: What do you enjoy the most about running and when did you initially discover your aptitude for the sport?


I like the simplicity. Running can be so simple. You can do it from your front door come rain, shine or Covid-19… I don’t know if I recall discovering an aptitude for it but I started running, entered events very underprepared and did a lot of stupid things! I muddled through some long events and eventually found the AB Training Group lead by Allison Benton. With Allison’s belief, guidance and a whole heap of fun with the group I have progressed well.

Q7: How do you mentally prepare for a race i.e. visualisations  - you imagine yourself winning etc, things going well?


I find race day pretty relaxing. The hard work is done, you are at your fittest and have the opportunity to take the reward of that effort. We will typically run a session prior to a race that indicates very closely what we are capable of on race day so that is great for confidence. Less about visualising what might happen and more about knowing what can be achieved.

That said, visualising a big race finish and how that will feel can be excellent motivation on those early mornings with sore legs!

Q8: Who are your role models?


I am not sure I have role models as such but there are people I feel I can learn from or have learned from.

Rhiannon, my girlfriend, has endless determination. Whether she is out of the door in the very early hours or putting in mind boggling sessions in a swimming pool cross training. She always has a fire to do everything she can to be the best she can.

My training group as a whole. Collectively they are always providing motivation and inspiration. Allison as a coach allowed me to achieve athletic goals I would never have imagined. Her commitment to the group is above and beyond. James Turner has an attitude that is so refreshing, reminding us all to keep it simple. Kevin Rojas and Howard Bristow, original groups members and still they have set standards in race performance and training approach that people strive for. Kev Moore… a man who just doesn’t give in. A basic but invaluable trait.

Q9: Many organised running events have been cancelled or postponed to later on in the year due to Covid-19. When mass race events are permitted again, which events do you plan to participate in?


I will run London Marathon. That was my target race for early 2020 and I will move my target to suit that. On route to that I would have to see which races become available. I love to compete at any Sussex County Championship races as the running standard in our county is so high. We also have a brilliant Road Race Series backed by RUN Store Hove. These are small local races that bring together some of the best athletes in the county on a Sunday morning… or Wednesday even in the case of Hove Prom 10k!

Q10: You mentioned that Commonwealth Games 2022 qualification is a goal of yours which is great. As the Olympics has been postponed until 2021, could you possibly be in contention for a qualifying spot there too?


As much as I would like to say yes I feel that marathon running to an Olympic level is beyond me in that timescale… I’ll see if Allison has any magic she can work though! I’ll keep enjoying the process and see how I progress over the remainder of 2020.

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