Here at CrampFix, we want to inspire you with some of our amazing ambassadors in a new series of interviews to delve deeper into their sports and personal experiences. We hope that you will be able to learn something new or to connect with like minded people and to grow the CrampFix community!
The first running race that mattered to Andrew Chau was the Half Marathon in 2016. He had completed other fun runs like the Mother’s Day Classic earlier, but he had never dedicated 4 months of training to a specific event. After the Half Marathon, he completed the Blackmores Sydney Marathon that same year.
Since then, he has completed 8 Half Marathons, 7 Marathons, and 3 Trail Races, including the 45km Six Foot Track Marathon. Andrew has also completed a couple dozen shorter distance races that were less than the half marathon like City 2 Surf and the Sydney Harbour 10km.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
A: I’m late to the running game. I’ve never considered myself as a runner and I never imagined myself to run 30km most Sundays and race 4 marathons a year. I grew up as a swimmer, then became a cyclist, a skier, and now a runner.
I pass the time between my running by working full-time as a Landscape Architect, designing playgrounds and parks at Waverley Council. One of my current projects in construction are the fitness stations along the Coastal Walk between Tamarama Beach and Marks Park.
I have a Wife and two fur-children, a Kelpie and a Staffador, they keep us busy and occasionally join us on runs.
How did your running journey begin?
A: Before 2016 I’ve always avoided running – the most running I would do would be the occasional sprint for the train or tram. My sister for the previous decade would always try and entice me to run a marathon, and my response was always the same – they invented bikes for a reason.
In 2016, I finally folded, with my partner (now wife) hopping on the running advocacy band wagon, we all signed up for the Gold Coast Asics Half Marathon. I used the Asics online training plan to get me started, because I had no idea of how to train properly for longer distances. Even after completing the first Half and gearing up for the Blackmores Sydney Marathon, I still believed I was only running to keep myself ski fit over summer.
What races do you have coming up this year?
A: I’m working towards my ‘A’ race, Melbourne Marathon. I bombed out my other race earlier in the year so this will hopefully be the redeemer. Following that I was lucky enough to secure an entry into the New York City Marathon, it will be my first World Major marathon. These races are only 4 weeks apart, so it will be interesting to see how my body holds up.
What is your motivation for running
A: I run because I want to know what my best can be. I also run to support other people achieve their goals and realise their potential – a fair few of the races I’ve completed have been as an official pacer, running down the finish chute and pushing others to finish strong is an amazing feeling, especially when those people go beyond what they had believed they were capable.
What does your training schedule look like?
A: I integrate a lot of run commutes into my schedule, it kills two birds with one stone, I get to work, and I get my run done, in basically the same time it might take to catch a train. A normal week consists of 90 – 100km of running, made up of two interval sessions, a tempo session, a midweek long run 20km, a 10km tempo and parkrun on Saturday, and Sunday long run 30-35km. On top of this there would be at least one gym session, lots of foam rolling, and about 60-75km of bike commuting.
Do you have any rituals that you swear by before you compete in a race? If so, what?
A: I don’t have any weird rituals, no lucky charms, just a bagel with peanut butter, jam, and a banana, washed down with a coffee, double shot long black from my freshly ground Sample coffee.
Before racing a marathon, I like to get in 2-3km warm-up with some speed build up – before my PB marathon in Sydney last year, I ran almost 4km. Before my 10km PB, I ran 17km!
What was your favourite course/event you have ever done?
A: Adidas Paris 10km. The atmosphere was absolutely amazing! It is the biggest 10km event in France where you sign-up and represent a neighbourhood, you have whole cheer squads for a particular neighbourhood and the noise when you run past is next level! Ale Ale Ale! ODEON! BASTILLE! ODEON! Not only were the crowds amazing, imaging running full speed towards the Eiffel Tower!
What was your biggest learning curve?
A: Train slow to get fast. It isn’t always the best to train hard all the time. Your body needs to time to recover, and the gains from a quality workout will only occur if your body learns to adapt during that recovery. Training hard all the time just causes your body to fatigue, break down, and heighten the risk of injury.
What is your greatest piece of advice
A: Forget about times, race because you want to be there, race because you want the experience. If you’re constantly chasing times you lose focus of why you are there and you place extra pressure and stress on yourself to perform. You will lose the love of running.
If you want to follow Andrew’s journey, you can find him on Instagram @and_he_runs.