Hains is back on the road - and in it for the long haul
Gary Baker on 21/09/2012
Leading distance runner Alex Hains hopes to be returning to the road in earnest soon after suffering a prolapsed disc in his back - with specific targets in mind for the future.
Even when he has been previously injured, the 29-year-old has managed to do some sort of training, whether it has been in the swimming pool or in the gym.
But, as much as he wanted to keep himself fit after his disc problem was diagnosed, doctors told him that the best recovery was to do nothing.
It means that Hains, based in Loughborough but born in Cardiff, is just about getting his running shoes on again and jogging for a few minutes at a time.
And it was a shame that Hains suffered the injury - although he did, astonishingly, try running the London Marathon with it but dropped out halfway due to the pain - as the distance ace was having a great start to 2012 and, by this month, was still top of the Welsh rankings for the half-marathon and 10K distances.
He is also targeting a move up in distance from those events and wants to finally complete a full marathon next year and put himself in the contest for Welsh selection at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Hains was in such good form earlier this year that he ran a personal best of 29.34mins for a road 10K in Manchester last March which came after another PB in January where he ran 64.30mins for the half-marathon.
And even after this month's Great North Run in Tyneside, which was a quick race, Hains has still stayed on top of the half-marathon Welsh ladder after Swansea Harrier Dewi Griffiths, expected to challenge for the rankings number one place, came home in 68.40mins in the massive race.
Hains said: "I have had a prolapsed disc and I was down to do the London Marathon but got this just before it. I didn't know what it was at the time and ran but I pulled up halfway around because I was in so much pain.
"Currently, this is the worst shape I have been in for a while but the doctors said to, basically, do nothing. That was in mid-July and, for the first time in my life, I've not been able to train at all. Now I have started back running but I'm very unfit.
"I'm taking it a day-to-day for 20 or 30 minutes of running and I will see how it goes over the next few weeks."
Hains is eager to get back into full training soon, not just for his own physical and mental satisfaction but because he has ambitions over the next four years.
He wants to complete a marathon as a race, having run one before but only as a pacemaker for his girlfriend Ava Hutchinson, who ran the Olympic marathon for Ireland in August.
Ava ran 2.35.33 hours in Houston, Texas, last January and, thanks in some measure to Hains' pace-making, she ran the fastest time of any Irish woman this year to guarantee London Olympic selection.
Now it is Hains' turn and he said: "My long-term plan is to do some of the big-city marathons. When I was in the United States at university, I was only a three-hour drive from Chicago and went there with my house-mate to see their marathon.
"I loved it and my aim in the next four or five years is to run one or two marathons like that a year - New York, Chicago, Boston, London, Berlin - those sort."
Hains combines the hours on the road with a job in Loughborough as an Employment Engagement Officer for the Amateur Swimming Association.
Going to Glasgow in 2014 for the Commonwealths is very much on the agenda. He added: "I need to run good marathon times and then you give yourself a chance."
The next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro is not beyond the realms of possibility either. He said: "My good friend Scott Overall made it in London and I would never say never to that. From where I am at the moment where I am out of shape, it seems like a long shot.
"But if I can progress to two hours 15 minutes, then I am looking at competing for an Olympics place."
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