Spotlight on... Nick Buis
Tell us a bit about your running history
When I was at school, swimming was my main sport and even today I still really enjoy being in the water, so I have to give a big thanks to my poor parents who had to get up every morning at some silly o’clock to either take me or my brother off to swim training. Now however it’s purely self-inflicted, getting up before 6am on a Saturday to swim round a cold lake.
Running however was seen more as some form of ancient torture when I was at school. Who in their right mind would want to go outside in the cold and run through mud and puddles all to make your legs hurt. I’d rather have just got a frying pan and repeatedly hit my legs to create the same feeling. So I guess that I first started to see running slightly differently after my first year at uni where returning home weighing over 15 stone and looking like I hadn’t washed for months (typical look), with bleached hair and piercings. I joined the gym and met an ex-marine, who was completely mental, doing press up’s and work outs in the sauna to recreate desert conditions. I think he took one look at me and laughed. 2 months later and I had joined in and I kind of enjoyed running/being shouted at, swimming in water too cold for polar bears and being ill for a week.
Returning to uni, I attempted my first half marathon with all my house mates. However the training had all but stopped without the motivation of someone shouting at me and had consisted of running home after a night out as a cheaper option than a taxi and not drinking for 2 days before the race. Needless to say it ended quickly at about 3 miles where I just stopped.
I then did a few years of gym classes and things like that to keep “gym” fit, before my brother annoyingly announced that he had started running and was coming to visit and he wanted to do a race (he’d just joined Lordshill). So I signed up thinking 10k should be easy. At the 3k drinks station I was done for and stopped while I consumed 3-4 cups of water before walk/jogging the rest of the way.
That was back in 2005 and since then I’ve realised that if you want to do well and get faster you need to train for it. I then started to really enjoy swimming again and took up triathlon, so for a couple of years I just did the odd running race while either my brother visited me or I popped to see him, so I got to run the Totton 10K in 2006. Since then I’ve really enjoyed it and had been running mainly by myself, but I found that training with others and doing rep sessions is great fun and can really bring your running on
You were 3rd in the HRRL competition this year and won two of the races. Was there any race where it felf like everything really clicked for you?
I guess that the HRRL races have been my way of seeing how my fitness is going, it’s a long series of races over nearly 9 months, and the first few races were hard. I really didn’t enjoy them and wasn’t in good shape (the same feeling that I know a lot of people have when returning from illness or injury, don’t give up!), I then had to sit out 2 (Lordshill and Gosport) through injury.
So it wasn’t until Salisbury 10 miler that things started to pick up. In that race the first 5 miles just felt easy and so I picked the pace up in the second half and ran a good negative split, picking up a PB in the process. Then I’ve hit a good patch over the last couple of weeks, with Alton, RR10’s, RVCP 10K, and a duathlon at Sway, so I expect the low to hit soon, even if I’ve tried to maintain good training at the same time as racing
You have had quite a lot of success wth triathlons. Do you focus on running or triathlons in any given year and do you find they complement each other quite well?
I think that any cross training you can do is great for improving your fitness. I just think that any training has to be better than no training, and so a little of what you like can’t do any harm. Just remember what you’re focused on and still train for that. So with training for triathlons it just gives you the option of 3 things to do and not just focus on one. My main focus has always been on triathlon. However the problem has always been that I really enjoy running and swimming, but it’s that one in the middle, the bike that I struggled with. So at the end of 2010 I tried to focus on running with the aim of doing the London marathon through running a qualifying time. I really enjoyed just run training and felt I had a good solid winter and liked the long runs. However come race day and things not going how I’d hoped, and worrying too much about times, so not enjoying the day I feel I missed out on the whole marathon experience. It took a good few months to really get back into running. Then later in the year I had the DNF at the New Forest marathon, which again I really enjoyed the training for, just not the day. This year I’m back to triathlons and despite a slow start to the winter with a slight injury; I feel that I’m back running well despite trying to get some swimming and biking in.
When and how did you come to join Totton Running Club?
When I first came to Southampton I joined Southampton Tri Club and ran unattached. When I met Lucy she suggested joining a running club to get more structured training so we joined Southampton. Southampton training was a bit random for me and Lucy and I didn’t get to train together (and it was a bit cliquey!) so we decided to join Totton as Lucy had started her long distance run training there and said what a sociable fun club it was. This proved to be the case and we haven’t looked back since
Where do you like to run and have you anywhere particularly memorable?
You can’t beat the New Forest. Last weekend I got to swim in a lake, ride on forest roads where you see the odd animal, run on forest tracks and then finish it off with a swim in the sea followed by a coffee on the beach.
One race up near Newcastle was great fun. It’s called the Northumberland coastal run. It’s a point to point and you pretty much follow the coast line for 14 miles, give or take a mile depending on the tide and how wet you want to get running through the waves.
Other great races and locations, one has to be the UK 70.3 triathlon in Exmoor. It has the label of being the hardest half-Ironman in the world, with over 50 hills in the 56 mile bike and a great 3 lap part off-road hilly run that is best described as a lot like the second half of the Blackfield RR10. I have to say Austria as well. Seeing Lucy do her Ironman was incredible. It would make a great training location with a beautiful lake, great roads and paths to run on, plus some great coffee and cakes.
Then finally, if you get the chance Stonehenge stomp & Salisbury 5-4-3-2-1 are great fun runs to do and usually opposite extremes of temperatures.
How often do you train and what sessions do you do outside of the club?
I think that with training it’s all about trying to get some consistency in. I don’t think that you benefit in the same way if you do 3 really hard sessions back to back then need a week or two to recover. Little and often I think is better and you can then just slowly increase the effort or duration of these sessions to suit. So I try to stick to pretty much the same routine, and then vary the intensity and length of sessions depending on if it’s a hard week’s training (run to and from the club session) or an easy, taper type week. I then try to throw in the odd fun training session during the winter, this was something like two people, one bike and alternating biking a mile and running a mile. It’s amazing how far you can cover.
A typical week would be club run Monday with how hard I run depending on what I did the day before. During the winter Tuesday night was an indoor turbo session, but now the weather is picking up it’s nice to try and get out on the road. Wednesday run with the club, Thursday I’ll often just do some core work or swim before work to have the whole evening free, but now race season is starting I’ll try to get another road ride in, Friday run of some sort, either efforts or just easy forest run, Saturday now its warm enough a lake swim before breakfast then a morning brick session (bike/run), usually a 3 hour ride then short 20min easy run, so that the rest of the day is free. Sunday long run or race, then maybe a ride or swim in the afternoon. I might do the odd morning swim or spin if I get a chance before work. I try to make sure that I take a complete rest day at least every 10 days, or more if I feel I need one, or at least have an easier session during that week.
I’ve looked up a lot of training schedules and advice about how to create one to suit you. Where you can fit things in, try to. So if you can bike to work, do it! Great bit of training at no extra cost to your time. Then when you do a session, try not to give it everything, else it might leave you feeling wiped out, so at the end ask yourself, “if someone said do one more rep or I’ll shoot you” could you? If yes just about, then that’s good. If no, and you’re thinking “shoot me now”, you might have dug too deep. Save that for a race and still train the next day if you want.
Do you have any other passionate interests?
Spending time with Lucy and we’ve got a couple of dogs so spending time with them. Lucy is a great baker so outside of sports it’s mainly about eating cake, (I have a real sweet tooth, which then makes me want to do sport) and I guess annoying Lucy by talking about sport non-stop. I like watching sport, movies and random TV programs, reading sports autobio/crime/thriller books.
What keeps you out of trouble Monday to Friday?
Apart from work and time with the family, I’m not sure I have any other spare time. I work up near Oxford so have a little bit of a drive most days.
Do you have any running experiences you'd care to forget?
The theme will be marathons, London & New Forest, and then a couple of triathlons where I punctured
Do you have any overall running/triathlon goals that you are striving towards?
I’m too old and not good enough to make one dream goal, unless they let a member of the crowd join in at the Olympics! So I guess just enjoy being fit and able to run. PBs are always good, so I guess I have to aim for a sub 32 min 10k one day and a sub 70 min half marathon. I’d like to do an Ironman one day, but I enjoy head to head racing, and so even over a Half-Ironman (5 hours or so of racing) it’s more about beating yourself than others, so just completing one and enjoying the day.
I still haven’t got my head round how you enjoy doing exercise for 10 hours or more and that it’s not a race. Having seen Lucy do it and be guilty of shouting ‘RUN!’, as she came in to transition wearing her bike shoes pushing her bike having just ridden 112 miles. What was I thinking! Is running that 150 meters with your bike really going to make a difference - there’s still a marathon to go! Makes me think my head’s not there yet
Finally, which other Totton Running Club member do you most admire?
Can I say all members? Cheesy I know, but it’s all the members of a club that make it. Without the coaches we wouldn’t have the sessions and without other runners, people wouldn’t have each other to push and support. There’s nothing wrong with sometimes training on your own, but nothing beats getting together with a group and doing reps or long runs, so a special thanks to Graham and Jimmy