Shane Grace selected for England

We are pleased to announce that Shane Grace has been selected to represent England Masters in the upcoming International Masters Competition to be hosted by Welsh Athletics in Tenby on 3rd July. Shane will race the 5k for England (V35-45) against masters athletes representing Wales, Scotland, and NI. This is Shane’s first international vest (and hopefully the first of many!).

We spoke to Shane about his call-up!

How did it come about that you were selected for England?

With the international representative race being only a month away the England Athletic selection process was based on form rather than any specific race. They reviewed recent performances on Power-of-10 which also provides you with a ranking for your age group. They will have reviewed recent race performances so it will likely have been my 15:18 in April at the Mid-Cheshire 5k, new PB, which caught the eye.

Where were you when you found out and what was your reaction?

I was on a zoom call with my management team and just nosing at emails in the background. I had to read it a few times before it sank in. I couldn’t believe jt. I remember grinning from ear to ear, forgetting I was on camera, and was called out by one of my team….I at least then got the share the news. Following that I used my right as team manager to cut the call short so I could order my vest!

Have you got a time in mind you’re aiming for, guess to break your pb and STAC record?
No time in mind, just want to do my justice and hopefully finish as high up as possible for the team as the international competition is scored the same as PECOs with every place counting across the different age groups. Not had chance to look at the course yet but heard it is quite lumpy so unlikely a Pb course, but you never know, I am in good shape at moment (touch wood). My PB the other day was in perfect conditions on a favourable course so will be a tough one to beat. Sub-15:30 would be nice. Let see what happens.

Fancy your chance against the other home countries?
The Welsh will be on home turf (well, tarmac) so I expect them to have an extra spring in their step, but if I run to my potential I expect to be in the mix. My age category for this race is 35-45, normally it is over 40s so I will be up against some young (ish) whipper snappers which will make things a bit more challenging.

You were already speedy when you joined STAC a few years ago, but have got much faster since, what’s been the main factors?

A lot has changed. Main factors though…Weekly mileage makes a huge difference. I have gone from about 20miles per week to now running 70-80 per week. This has helped me to develop aerobically, training my body to run faster for longer. This can’t be done overnight though, it has been a gradual process over a couple of years.

Dedication and focus - not easy balancing work, school runs with double running days, and general life stress. Running is my happy place though and provides me with some mental balance. I am also fortunate to have wife who is supportive of my running as it can impact on her and the boys. Although probably not as much as when I don’t run and I am a grump!

Being more involved with STAC with TT and group sessions has added more enjoyment to my running. There is a great community feel at STAC but also I take pride at seeing and (hopefully) supporting group members develop into better runners.

The increased mileage has helped the weight drop off. I am 1.5 stone lighter than a couple of years ago. Weight plays a big factor in running. Not only for speed endurance but also injury prevention.

I am a bit of a student of the sport too, reading up a lot, and listening to podcasts on training techniques, nutrition, etc, anything that I feel can help me improve.

Probably my biggest step change was getting a coach in early 2021. I am fortunate enough to be trained by Dave Tune, former elite GB athlete, who with his wife Jenny Blizard (another former GB athlete and masters athlete / physio) runs the Blizard Training Group. I have learnt so much from him, in particular to train far more sensibly, going slow enough on my easy days to make the most of my sessions and long runs, ensure that I can go really hard on those days to ensure my body can adapt afterwards.

When I started with Dave, we did some physiological tests and a lactate test on the treadmill. He told me times that I was capable of which I though were unreachable. 12 months later and I have taken minutes off all of my PBs and will be hoping for a sub-2:30 marathon in Autumn which I would never have dreamed off even a year ago.

Don’t take my word for it though, Dave and Jenny are coming down to lead a session for STAC later this month which I would recommend to you all. You will learn so much even in one session. I try to pass on some of the techniques and principals I have learnt as part of TT training but they are the professionals so this session will definitely not be one to miss!

Oh and last but certainly not least…the invention of carbon plated shoes. I never leave home without them!

I probably could list another 20 or 30 factors but that is a whole other article for the website! Maybe next month…

We wish Shane all the best for the race next month and look forward to seeing how he gets on!