Dave Norman runs for Altrincham & District AC, has represented England and Great Britain internationally and is the son of British Olympian Jeff Norman.
Norman’s career highlights include winning the Greater Manchester Marathon twice, five sub 30 minute 10ks and a top 15 finish at the London Marathon. He is also the organiser of the Trafford 10k road race.
Why do you run?
I started running because I regularly went to watch my Dad racing when I was a small child. He was regularly winning races and setting records and he really inspired me. When I eventually went out running down the street with him, I couldn’t believe how hard it was!
Then I tried running with my running club from the age of 13 and that wasn’t much easier. Once I started races I wasn’t far from the back, but I kept going and after starting to seeing improvements that when I got a real buzz from running. It wasn’t something that came easily to me, but I enjoyed the personal challenge and I liked the fact that the more effort I put in, the more I started to see improvements.
However, I quickly realised I wasn’t going to be an Olympian like my Dad but I did make some big improvements after leaving university and broke 30 minutes for 10k, 50 minutes for 10 miles and 2 hours 20 minutes for the marathon. My motivations now are to keep challenging myself and to establish myself among the top veteran runners in the UK when I turn 40 next year. To achieve that, I will have to be running pretty respectable senior times and I know it won’t be easy after a few recent injuries.
As a runner, what is your biggest strength?
I’ve always been able to raise my game in a race and push myself to limits that a lot of other people can’t.
And any weaknesses?
My biggest strength used to be my ability to consistently absorb a high volume of training and respond well to it. Nowadays, my inability to consistently train is my weakness. I’ve never been good at strength and conditioning and I’m probably paying for that now so that should go down as a weakness as well.
What is your favourite racing distance and event?
I love cross country. On the roads, the Marathon is my preferred event. I was never a fan of the track but knew it was a necessary evil and regularly raced on it.
What does an average week’s training look like?
There hasn’t been an average weeks training for me in the last two years as I’ve not had any consistency at all.
It’s not looked like this for a while, but when I’m in marathon training, a typical week would be:
Monday AM: 6-mile easy run
Monday PM: 9-mile easy run
Tuesday AM: 6-mile easy run
Tuesday PM: Track session at Altrincham, such as 8x1000m (200m jog recovery between reps)
Wednesday AM: Rest
Wednesday PM: 15-mile run, either steady on flat or easy on hilly terrain
Thursday AM: 6-mile easy run
Thursday PM: Tempo intervals, such as 6x5mins at marathon pace, short rest
Friday AM: 6-mile easy run
Friday PM: pm 7-mile easy run
Saturday: Grass session 3x10mins (2mins rest)
Sunday: 22-mile easy run on hilly terrain
What’s your favourite training session?
I really enjoy the grass sessions I do on a Saturday morning on the University Fields in Manchester (3x10mins with a 2min rest).
And your least favourite training session?
Anything fast like the 300m reps that we do before a race.
Favourite pre-race food?
Pizza or pasta nowadays, but at my best, I was routinely having Fish and Chips the night before a race.
Favourite post-race food?
Who is your favourite runner?
I love to see British runners that get stuck in and aren’t afraid of anyone. At the moment there are a few guys who fall into this category. Callum Hawkins, Andrew Butchart, Dewi Griffiths, Andy Vernon and Chris Thompson.
If I had to pick one it would be Chris Thompson. He’s always been very down to earth, has picked himself up from so many injuries and disappointments and has never given up on a sport he clearly loves.
He’s had some great results recently and he came and ran the Trafford 10k (a race I organise) a couple of times and been brilliant.