Hard-working HAYLEY HAINING spoke to NICOLA BAMFORD about her problematic journey from prodigious youngster to late-developing international senior and offers the Run Britain audience some inspirational insights and tips...(written for UK Athletics in 07/08).
The 36 year-old Kilbrachan AC runner; with an abundance of World and Commonwealth marathon, and World and European cross-country Championship appearances to her credit, took time out from her chaotic veterinary work and training schedule to take part in an enlightening Q & A...
1. Please explain your motivation behind becoming a runner, how old you were, and your early days in the sport
I started my athletics career aged 11, by accompanying my elder sister to the local athletics club. She was a keen member of the local pony club tetrathlon team and wanted to improve her running through the winter. She wasn’t allowed to go alone so I went along with her for company.
2. What events did you try and to what success? How did your first attempt at your specialist distance go?
In the early days we were encouraged to try everything and I loved it! My specialist distance as a youngster was 800m. I don’t remember my first 800m race but I do remember for the first year or so thinking it was an awfully long way!
3. Were you always a talented athlete or have you had many disappointments and setbacks (Haining was the British schools cross-country champion at aged 13 and placed 7th in the 1991 World Junior cross-country Championships ahead of Paula Radcliffe in 14th)?
I have had many setbacks mostly through injury with some spells of three or four years away from the sport. However I always end up creeping back to the sport….running has become the habit of a lifetime.
4. Who are/were you coached by?
From the age of twelve until my late twenties I was coached by Jock Redmond from Sanquhar and over the last 4 years by Derek Parker at Kilbarchan AAC.
5. How did it feel to collect your first major medal? Explain how the race went? What is your most precious medal achievement?
My first major medal was winning the u14 girls 800m at the Scottish Schools in 1985 (yes I am that old!). No one expected it including myself. I only remember going through the bell and feeling that everyone else seemed to be slowing down and thinking “Oh my goodness I’m at the front”! I just kept running and luckily the line came before I had time to panic. I remember looking into the stand to see my mum and my best friend’s mum jumping up and down on their seats – at 13, I was mortified!
6. What has been your biggest setback?
I sustained a navicular bone stress fracture when I was 19. Not only did this take several months to heal but it took four years to get myself out of an injury cycle where I would recover (often partially) from one problem and gain another injury or have an accident.
7. Warm up warm down routine
Generally speaking, about two miles to warm up and down, with about twenty minutes of stretching and strides.
8. Describe a typical weeks’ training/mileage and favourite training session.
Mileage varies between 60 and 100 miles a week depending on what I am preparing for. My favourite session is probably the long run on a Sunday morning.
9. Do you go to altitude or warm-weather training camps?
I don’t do training camps at altitude or warm weather camps.
10. Do you enjoy travelling for races?
I like exploring new places and meeting new people and cultures but I hate waiting in airport lounges etc.
11. Do you see your rivals as just that or become friends?
Some of my closest friends have been rivals!
12. Do you have a large support network?
I have learned to do a lot of physio myself but I get help from the physiotherapists at the West of Scotland Institute of sport when I can’t get on top of something or if it’s in a place I can’t reach myself!
13. Do you combine work with your training/sports career?
Yes, I work at the University of Glasgow Veterinary School Diagnostic Service as a clinical pathologist.
14. Do you receive any/much financial/medical support?
I get medical back up from the WSIS for which I am very grateful.
15. What has been your favourite/which do you rank highly in terms of UK road races?
I have done the Brass Monkey Half marathon several times now. It is a flat, fast course (if a little exposed!), well organised with a great atmosphere.
16. How do you feel the UK road scene could improve?
I have no complaints, I think it is pretty great, particularly as many of the races are put on by our clubs, volunteers and Mums and Dads.
17. How much sleep do you take per evening?
In a perfect world I would get 8-9 hours sleep. This is seldom the case!
19. Do you have any hobbies?
Running is my hobby.
20. In moments of weakness do you indulge/over train?
I am conscious not to over-train given my huge list of injuries. Best to do a little too little than too much!
My indulgence is Sunday afternoons after mega long runs. I will light the fire and fall asleep in the arm chair for an hour or so… a power nap.
21. What would you like to do after your running career is over? And do you ever see yourself retiring from competition?
I hope always to run for the health benefits and the “social” and will probably run for and help out my club as much as I can.
22. How would you like to be remembered after your days as an elite athlete?
I have never thought about this! I have no idea!
23. Tell us about your education and career as a veterinary surgeon. Describe your typical days work.
After studying at Glasgow Veterinary School I spent nearly three years in general practice before returning to Glasgow to specialise in pathology/diagnostics. I now work as one of the clinical pathologists for the diagnostic service at the vet school. We analyse haematology samples, biopsies, clinical chemistries etc from companion animals, livestock and wildlife and report back to veterinary clinicians at the various vet school animal hospitals or to veterinary surgeons in general practice.
My typical working day begins between 8.30 and 9. Mornings are a mixture of dealing with enquiries from clients, technical issues regarding samples submitted that morning and dealing with any urgent samples that must be turned around in minimal time. By late morning, blood smears and biopsies start being ready for reading and reporting. During lunchtime I try to get a 30-40 minute run squeezed in. The afternoon is spent reading and reporting all the samples that have been submitted that day and tends to wind up at around 6-6.30.
24. Are you married? Any children?
I live with my partner, Willie, in Ayrshire. We have no children but two dogs, Basil and Bruce.