Hilda Stoney grew up in Sydney, Australia, but ironically though, despite the sports culture in Australia, she had not really been into running at the time.
Said Hilda, 37 – who is a full time mum with three children who are aged 21 months, six years and nine years old respectively, “At my school, the teachers were nuns and they did not really do much sport.”
Started running in 2008
Instead, she had only started running in 2008, when she was living in Bermuda. Explained Hilda, “There was not much to do and I saw a lot of runners in the community there. So I then thought I would give it a go and join in, and soon after that, I then learnt to love the sport.”
She added, “These days I find that running helps me to relieve the stress I have during the day. I have three kids and it’s sometimes stressful, so it’s nice to get out there and also get some fresh air when I run.”
In fact Hilda loves running so much that she continued running and racing when she was pregnant with her third child. She said “It felt great to be able to continue running and not lose too much speed and feel great at the same time.”
Her running has taken her to the podium
Today her running has taken her to the podium of several recent running races in Singapore, where Hilda is now based.
These include second place in the Women’s Open of the following races: the Marina Run Half Marathon 2017, the Star War Run 2017 (10km) and the Meiji Run 2017 (10km). She also came third in the Women’s Open of the Puma Night Run 2017 (12km).
How Hilda Trains
To train for her running races, Hilda runs about four to five days a week. Her average distance per day is a minimum of 10km and she runs about 45 miles (72km) per week.
And to improve her running speed, Hilda strongly believes in speed work. She said “To run fast, you need to include speed work at least once a week. I do intervals around the track ranging from 400m to 20 mins of threshold intensity. The number of reps generally depends on how long your intervals are.”
Besides intervals, she also does tempo runs and recovery runs, and she makes sure that she runs on hilly terrain. Added Hilda, “I also do strength training to mix it up and to relieve the stress off from my feet. And I do cycling and swimming as well.”
She continued “I guess that doing these gives the body a break because if you are running every day, you are using the same muscles depending on the workout. So it is nice to give those run muscles a break and use the muscles around it as well.”
Do not run hard at every training session
Hilda also stressed, though, that runners should not train hard at every session.
She explained, “I used to train daily at a hard pace. But I have since realised that it is good to have maybe two to three sessions a week of medium to hard training and the other days, do easy runs to shake out the legs a bit. If you are really hard on the body, you will be prone to injuries. So ease back on the intensity and take a break once in a while.”
Continued Hilda, “During races too, I also notice that a lot of runners register for every race and they push themselves to the limit at these races. This will cause them to run out of steam in the back half of the race; I went through that myself too and I had to step back a bit. Now I only choose to do races every now and then, t o see where my fitness levels are.”
Save the speed for the end of the race
Hilda suggests that when running races, focus on saving the speed for the end and not the beginning of the race. She said, “Runners definitely go out too fast. Instead what you should do is to visualise the race; know what parts of the route are hard and only go out at those bits, and save more speed to sprint at the end.”
She is not getting any younger
In terms of her own running, Hilda realises that as she is not getting any younger, it may become harder to break her personal best timings. So she has her goals set on other aspects of running and fitness.
She said, “I am getting older and won’t be much quicker, so I am looking at new sports and trying to focus my energy on those. After the end of the year, I may spend more time in triathlon because I have been off it for a good two years. I may also have a go at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon in December, though.”