Stephen Logan shared his incredibly personal journey into running and self-improvement
This is an incredibly moving and ultimately uplifting runner interview with Stephen Logan. I had the absolute privilege of chatting to Stephen about his very personal and inspiring journey into running and how he sees it as a metaphor for life.
I follow Stephen’s running updates and always admire his dedication to that daily habit of getting out there no matter what life or the weather throws at him. Read his interview and you’ll discover why.
Hi Stephen, could you just tell us a little about yourself please, for the readers to get to know you?
Yes, I’m originally from Northern Ireland but have settled in East Yorkshire. I am a father, husband, teacher, leader and always learning. I have a keen interest in careers education and giving back to others.
What is your favourite place to run?
My favourite place to run is off road. I live near Beverley in East Yorkshire and can be usually found running on the Westwood. I am fortunate to have some great trail routes near me as well.
What are your favourite running mantras? Generally, during training, during a race?
“The challenge is to always improve, to always get better, even when you are the best. Especially when you are the best.” James Kerr
“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time, so remember: great achievements take time, there is no overnight success.”
“Keep showing up and do what works for you.”
“Patience. Discipline. Game plan.” John Kavannagh
“Running rewards consistency and resilience. So does life. Keep showing up.” Des Linden
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle
“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” Marcus Aurelius
A few lessons there! Fantastic quoted.
You’ve said “Life is the marathon” – could you explain what this means to you?
This is taken from the work of Ryan Holiday (Highly recommend his work). It is as follows:
We must know the race we are running & not be distracted.
We must learn how to keep our own pace.
There’s no race, there’s only a runner.
Just keep one foot in front of the other.
The real race is getting up & running every single day. Life is the marathon.
Why I often refer and go back to this quote is that life is the marathon in that as a runner it helps with the daily challenges of life. A run always in my experience seems to renew and reset the day. Running is fundamental to my values and who I am.
We’re both big fans of Simon Mundie’s “Don’t Tell Me The Score” podcast. What life lessons from that have you applied to your running?
I’m a big fan of Simon Mundie’s work and podcast. The key aspect is how Simon comes across in terms of his values as well interviewing a wide range of people from a wide range of backgrounds. I listen to the podcast as part of my longer runs. I really liked his latest podcast where the fantastic Dr Rhada interviewed Simon. The end mention of Liz Clarke-Saul broke me. I then listened to Liz’s Don’t Tell me the Score podcast, very powerful.
Any other favourite podcasts to recommend?
There are so many but here is a summary.
Don’t tell me the Score episodes:
High Performance Podcast episodes:
Several amazing podcast episodes. The Jamie Peacock episode with Simon is brilliant.
How did you get into running yourself then?
My main reason for getting into to running is quite a personal one. It feels like the right time to share this story as links with mental health and a coping strategy. I unfortunately lost a very close colleague to suicide. It’s taken me a long time to overcome this (I don’t think I ever will) and I had a lot of counselling initially. I found it very hard to understand it, lots of questions that will forever remain unanswered and I miss them. It was also absolutely devastating for her family and still is. It was overwhelming, overbearing, like the weight of the world on my shoulders as we had to carry on and work through it. Someone mentioned, why don’t you consider running? it’s a great mental as well as physical release. With that I decided to give it a go. I purposefully chose the Humber Bridge Parkrun. I wanted to face it head on and take a positive from pain. I’ve completed that course 50 times, it took me 2 years to actually run across the bridge and I still don’t like it. I was clueless at the start but seem to have got better over time. It has given me balance, a reset for each, a sense of achievement and it just helps.
The hardship of running somehow softens the hardship of life. Running turns the madness into music. Dean Karnazes
Goodness me Stephen, that’s very powerful. Thank you so much for sharing such a personal story.
Unsurprisingly then, you’re an advocate of mental health. Could you tell us more?
Mental Health is really important to me. My mum has bipolar disorder. This has been a long journey for my mum as a person, but also for us a family. It’s not something that goes away, people live with these challenges every single day and learn to live with it. I’ve seen it, lived it and it resulted in my mum in hospital not knowing who I was, sectioned under the mental health act. She is in a better place now due to the great support from the NHS, Mind Charity and family. I don’t take this for granted and feel very fortunate we got the help she needed.
Mental health can affect anyone at any time. No matter your background, race, religion or wealth, it should always be taken seriously. We need to continue to break the stigma, listen and support each other to seek out the appropriate support.
On 12 March you completed 2 years of running every day. How did that streak start, how did it continue and why is it the right approach for you?
It was never the intention to run that many days. It started as establishing a habit as well as great source of mental health and well-being. My day often starts with an easy 2 miles to get my body moving then a proper session at night. I often get questioned and challenged on it, but it works for me and I just enjoy going for a run. I have found that motivation comes and goes but it’s the established habits that keep it going.
How have you stayed injury free?
Stretching, a good warm up and cool down for sessions. I have see a Physio every 6 weeks to get the once over as well as advice in terms of whether to adapt training. Trainers for different sessions on constant rotation as well.
How has your running evolved in that time?
I was a bit clueless at the start. I look back and think, did I really do that? I have a better understanding of the importance of certain key session for improvements. I also have better gear and trainers are crucial. I have also failed quite a few times. For example, going out too hard in races in the first mile, not pacing a race or understanding a course but this is all learning.
What’s your favourite training session?
I love a good Fartlek session or Speed session.
I used to dread the long run but now it’s one of my favourite sessions.
What’s your favourite race?
My favourite races are the local and regional cross county races. So many great routes, always challenging and also rewarding. No medals or T-Shirts, just a cup of tea and flapjack at the end!
What importance do you attach to sleep, in relation to consistent training and performance?
Sleep is essential for peak performance. I aim to get a least 8 hours sleep at night. Easier said that done something with the balance of work and family. In School holidays I see such a big difference in terms of my performance having been able to get good quality sleep.
How do you manage nutrition around a full-time job, family and running every day?
Again, this is vital for performance. I eat plenty of fruit, vegetables and meat. I use a local butcher where the meat is of high quality. I don’t drink alcohol or smoke and rarely have take way. Sometimes I do feel like I am always snacking and eating!
Favourite staple ingredients?
Porridge, Blueberries, raspberries, spinach and steak. Not forgetting a good cup of Yorkshire Tea.
What’s your favourite nutrition pre, during, post run?
Pre, porridge. Although I like to run fasted. I don’t take anything on a run although I am aware I probably should.
I think during is more for longer runs if needed.
What drives/inspires you?
That’s a good question! I’ve read a lot of books, tweets and blogs over the years. Ultimately the drive has got to come from within and it comes from the person in the mirror – You. With regard to inspiration see Matthew McConaughey’s winning best actor speech reference your hero.
Do you do any other activities to compliment your running?
Core strength sessions and walking the dogs.
Do you train with a club?
You’re coached by @Lydiardsboys – what are the benefits of a coach?
@Lydiardboys is superb. Straight talking and sage advice. Always encouraging, supporting and developing others. He also has just released some great gear!
Goals for this year?
To get back racing and enjoy it.
Sub 17 5K and 35 10K.
Goals longer term?
Keep showing up each day, trying to improve and most importantly enjoy it!
Race as much as I can!
Any key advice for runners reading this?
Find a plan that suits you and try to stick to it.
Don’t be afraid to fail. We all have bad runs and races, the key is to keep showing up and exploring limits.
Never underestimate the importance of the long run.
Hitting the numbers in training is great but the race determines the runner and is the true measure.
Strava isn’t real life. Some of best ever runs aren’t on there.
Running is open to lots of opinions and interpretations if you listen to them all you’ll end up doing nothing.
Get a good pair of trainers that suit your gait.
Don’t forget a good pair of sock as well!
Anything else you want to add?
Thanks for the opportunity.
The thanks is all mine Stephen. And readers of this interview. You’ve shared an incredibly personal story that is really powerful and very moving. It’s also very uplifting indeed ultimately. Lots of sound advice and insights that runners may well learn from for their own performance and for life in general. Thank you so much.