Q&A with Becky Briggs
Becky Briggs is a future star of British Athletics and is the youngest female athlete to ever win the Bath Half Marathon breaking her own U20 British Record doing so. This week we asked her about training in lockdown, the feeling of winning her first big race, future aspirations and training & motivational advice for runners.
“I crossed the line with a PB and broke my own U20 British Half Marathon Record, I was in floods of tears, it was such a relief to know that all the hard work had paid off”
How has training been in lockdown?
As I have had to move home from University (St Mary’s University, Twickenham) back to Yorkshire, I am really missing the beautiful Royal Parks, Bushy and Richmond, to train in. Currently I am covering around 90 miles a week all on road with very limited routes, but although it is very monotonous, I feel extremely lucky to have been able to continue to do something I love during such a strange time and have been working harder than ever.
How are you keeping yourself motivated? Do you have any advice for our runners who might be a bit low on motivation at the moment?
“In the middle of every difficulty, lies opportunity”. For me, my long-term goals are marathon running, as I am only 20, this may not be for a couple more years, so I am using this time to build up my mileage while also maintaining speed. Some people may feel that their only motivations are races and results, there may not be any races in the immediate future, but there will be more start lines eventually – so I would say to seize the opportunity of a huge training block, without race pressure, so that when you do stand on that start line again you can really show the world what you’re made of.
Do you have any tips for beginner runners who are just getting started with their running?
I would say to focus on every bit of growth and progress in your journey, no competitive runner was born being able to race a 5k/10k/half marathon etc, it takes hard work and dedication, but equally if everyone has started somewhere to get to where they are now, then you can too, enjoy the journey of becoming.
What advice would you give to someone who is either injured or just coming back to training from injury?
You only get one body, so treat it well – investigate why you got injured, whether it was a muscle weakness, or to do with your running style, so that you know how to avoid a reoccurring injury; pay attention to nutrition and mental well-being. Strength and conditioning are essential, it plays a huge role in my training, especially core work, and really helps to avoid injury. Make sure you have all the pieces of the puzzle in place, be kind to yourself, and also allow yourself to be reminded of why you run.
What would you say to younger runners who want to take their running to the next level?
Believe. Under the correct guidance, train smart; this doesn’t necessarily mean always going faster or further, it is about building a base to be a strong and successful athlete. But most importantly, you have to believe you can, and that you will, make it, if you’re prepared to really work for your dreams.
What is your favourite meal to eat pre-race day & in training?
Some people have exact “pre-race meals” but personally I just like to have something that is not too adventurous with plenty of carbs to keep me fuelled on race day! Ultimately, you need to ensure you have enough energy inside you before a race, but one magical pre-race meal is not going to make or break your performance. Proper nutrition is often overlooked, but it is a key part of being an athlete, no matter what level, and something that should be incorporated into your training plan with equal thought as your runs/sessions.
Who do you look up to in the elite sporting world?
Charlotte Purdue, with a marathon pb of 2:25 and numerous medals at international cross country and track, she studied at St Mary’s (where I am now) and was previously coached by my current coach, Mick Woods. When I see her training round Bushy Park, I have to admit I have a huge fan girl moment!
What is your long-term aspiration?
To compete at elite level in the World Major marathons, and maybe, one day, the Olympics- they say your dreams aren’t big enough if they don’t scare you, and that is something I stand by.
What does it feel like winning a big race like the Bath Half Marathon joining a select group of previous winners such Liz Yelling, Karen Mcleod and Veronique Marot
It felt such an honour, this was the first ever big race I have won, and the first time I have broken a finish line tape! Despite both the torrential rain and Covid-19, the support around the course was incredible – an event I will never forget.
How does Bath Half Marathon compare to other races you have run?
Standing on that start line, I knew this would be the last race for a very long time (due to lockdown), so I had to make it count. I competed for team GB in the World Cross Country Championships in March 2019 and picked up an injury the week later and spent the next 12 months doing rehab and a lot of disappointing races. I had worked extremely hard in the months prior to Bath Half to get myself ready for the start line and cannot even begin to explain how nervous I was. I knew I was running well during the race, but when I turned into the finish, saw the clock and knew I could get a PB… well you could see from the photos/videos just how much it meant. I crossed the line with a PB and broke my own U20 British Half Marathon Record, I was in floods of tears, it was such a relief to know that all the hard work had paid off and that I had the opportunity to race before lockdown. I cannot thank the organisers enough.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Hobbies, Pets, Qualifications etc.
I absolutely love baking; I study Sport and Exercise Nutrition and really enjoy trying to make delicious food while focusing on incorporating in specific nutrients. I often share this on my Instagram: becky_athleat where I share my training and positivity. One day I hope to be a qualified nutritionist focusing on how to fuel properly as an athlete by helping others, especially those struggling with Relative Energy Deficiency Syndrome, something I have previously struggled with, an issue common in the athletic world.