James Carberry

Friday, June 15, 2018

Q. Who are you and what you do for a living?

My Name is James Carberry and I am in my final year of medical school at the University of Birmingham, UK

Q. How do you balance your exercise regime and your professional life?

I am not a morning person at all and so for me running before I go to hospital is completely out of the question! 

I love to run in the evening as it’s the perfect way to unwind after long days studying/in hospital on placement. Being able to just step out of my house and begin running means it’s really easy to fit in runs around all the work I have to do. 

I will usually get back from placement and make my dinner, then once I’ve eaten I will get on with whatever I have to do that evening (whether it’s work or just Netflix!) until I have given enough time for my food to digest, then I will go out on my run.

After running for a number of months/years you eventually get into the habit of being able to fit in runs based on whatever you have going on that day. I think that is what is initially discouraging for a lot of people who feel they do not have the time to exercise every day, but if you stick at it it definitely gets easier to balance work with running and everything else

Q. When and why did you start running?

I used to do a lot of sport in my teens (football, rugby, athletics) but got out of the habit and I wasn’t very active at all when I started University.

It was 3 years ago when I saw a picture of myself and I was horrified to see how out of shape I looked, I was also pretty overweight.

It was then that I decided I had to do something about it, and so I decided to take up running.

At first I could not even manage 1 mile without feeling like I was going to die! But it wasn’t long before my fitness improved and I just felt like a completely different person now I was enjoying going out and being active every day. 

Running really has made me a happier person, I feel a lot less stressed and a lot more confident in myself now I am so active, I couldn’t imagine a life without running now!

Q. What motivates you to go out there, when you do not feel like it?

Having targets and events to train for is by far the biggest motivator for me. I always have an event booked and a target time in mind which I work towards in the months beforehand. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing how much you have improved from when you started training to the final few weeks before an event, even if you don’t achieve the final time you would have liked.

Q. What is the longest distance you have ran? 

I have ran 3 marathons so far, in training for each of them I got up to a maximum of 22 miles. I would love to step up to do some ultra marathons in the future but I’m absolutely loving marathon training at the moment and would like to see just how quick I can go with a prolonged period of training, so maybe I’ll step up the distances a few years down the line from now!

Q. What gives you the confidence to run in the streets?

Personally I hate running on treadmills! I get bored after about 10 minutes. I live in a big city and at first it can seem like there are not a lot of places you can go running. However I have discovered so many new, beautiful areas of Birmingham through running that I would not have otherwise known about, and that means every run is interesting. It’s a fantastic way to get to know your local area really well

I think just knowing that you are one of few people in the country who is being regularly active should give anyone confidence to run in the streets. Whenever I see anyone running in the streets, no matter how fast they are running, I think they look awesome and respect to them for getting out there and getting moving. I’m sure the vast majority of people in the country think the same!

I also enjoy running in the cold and the rain, which definitely helps in the UK!

Q. What do you think about the lack of exercise?

As someone who used to be very inactive and unfit, I can totally understand why so many people do not exercise. Life is often hectic and many will not see how they can fit in exercise. However once you get into the habit of taking part in a sport you enjoy, you realise how simple it can be to fit in some active time throughout a busy day, and how good you feel in yourself when you are regularly active. The mental health benefits are just as important as the physical health benefits in my opinion, it certainly has been for me.

I really hope that when I become a doctor next year I can use my own experience to encourage all of my patients to exercise regularly and to enjoy it, as it really has changed my life for the better

Q. What was your best running experience?

Being the first person under 30 years old to cross the finish line at the Laguna Phuket Marathon last week! The conditions were absolutely brutal (it reached a ‘feels like’ temperature of 38 degrees Celsius) and so to do so well when I have only been running marathons for under a year was an incredible feeling. Reflecting on how far I have come since starting running as a pretty overweight and unfit 20 year old to where I am now makes me so proud of myself every day. I’m by no means a naturally talented sportsperson but that is the beauty of the sport, you are only competing against yourself, and if after every day/week/month you are slightly fitter/faster than you were previously, you are a winner and should be immensely proud of yourself.

Q. What was your worst running experience?

I got injured 4 weeks before the Manchester marathon this year and I could not run or walk without pain until the actual day of the marathon. It was so heartbreaking that you train for so long for one event and things don’t go to plan right at the end. However I decided to still take part and managed to finish in under 3 hours which I was delighted with!

I think an amazing aspect of running is what you learn about yourself and the sport when you hit these low points. For me I learnt that you really can’t do too little in the final few weeks before a marathon (it’s what you do before the taper that counts), and to always trust that if you worked hard enough for something, then little setbacks should not get in the way of a result you can be proud of. 

Learning what types of pain you can run through, and which types you should rest and let heal is also something I have found very interesting and I think it will be a few more years before I feel more confident in distinguishing between the two

Q. How do you push through the pain?

Always remember how amazing it will feel when you reach the finish line! When the going gets tough I always think to myself how far I have come in the relatively short time I have been running, and just one more push is all that stands between myself and the finish line.

Plus during any big events I could not bring myself to give up with all the people cheering your name along the course!

Q. What advice can you give somebody who wants to start running?

Do it! Like I said earlier when I started running 3 years ago I couldn’t run a mile. I didn’t even have any proper running shoes, just some 5 year-old trainers. All you have to do is step out of the door and start moving. You never know what amazing things you can achieve if you put your mind to it - I would never have thought 3 years ago that I’d end up running a marathon alongside the most beautiful beaches in Thailand!

I feel that as a society we are beginning to realise just how inactive we are, and so no matter who you are, how fast you are running, kudos to you for getting out there and doing what not enough of us are doing and being active!

Q. Which Social media sites are you on and how can one follow you?

Instagram - I post about any events I’ve ran or how training is going amongst lots of other things: james_carberry


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