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Paula Radcliffe on Mental Preparation

Inspirational figures get personal and share a passion with us in AnOther Thing I Wanted to Tell You

The Nike Flyknit One Trainer
The Nike Flyknit One Trainer Courtesy of Nike

Over a two day energy event in Berlin, Nike unveiled a series new products dedicated to women, inviting prominent female athletes such as Paula Radcliffe and Allyson Felix to introduce pioneering new technology in interactive events...

"I think there is definitely a process behind it. I know it sounds strange, but I have always had the mentality that when I am running, that is all I think about. I have always been very good at trying to hold that focus. At the same time, you do learn tricks and the big thing that we are taught is to stay in the moment. Not to think about the ten miles you have left. I use any technique, even if it is just counting each time my foot hits the floor. What I usually do is count to one hundred, three times and that usually equates to one mile. When I was thirteen, I remember going on a national squad training day and being taught visualisation and centralisation techniques, but I also think it is about instinct. It is just me out there on that run. You have to be careful not to override it. Sometimes I can remember what was going through my head during a race, but other times it is just a blur.

When you are standing at the start line of a race, the one thing I don't need to worry about is my equipment. Especially when you put so much work into training and preparing for a run. With Nike, I have no doubts about it and they have been supporting me for over a decade. They are a cool company to work for, because they really listen. They will give me the prototype of a new product and tell me to go for a run in it, then I go back to them and tell them how to improve it. You get the first look at new technology coming through, like the Flyknit One trainers, that were launched today. The process behind it is fascinating, because it is made up of just one thread. I have been trying it out all summer. In 2004, I was really lucky and was able to work with them on a marathon shoe. It was amazing because I basically got to build my dream shoe and it became part of the Nike range. What is really great is that so many people in the Nike team are runners at heart."

"I have always had the mentality that when I am running, that is all I think about. I have always been very good at trying to hold that focus."

Over a two day energy event in Berlin, Nike unveiled a series of new products dedicated to women, inviting prominent female athletes such as marathon runner Paula Radcliffe and triple gold medalist Allyson Felix to introduce pioneering new technology through interactive events. This began with a 3km evening run through a neon lit Tiergarten park, where Nike's new Flyknit One trainer was revealed inside a former 16th century tea house. Made up of just one thread, the Flyknit One is a key example of Nike's dedication to performance and to the environment – rejecting the need for the use of glue or other fabrics. The following day, Nike Master trainer Buket Akkus held a yoga session, where the new Studio Wrap shoe was unveiled: a product that resulted after a two year journey where its designers observed yoga classes around the world, stressing the need to "innovate for performance." After another training session, the Nike event ended in a warehouse in Berlin, where their spring/summer 13 collection was projected onto a series of screens and their new Air Max 2013 styles were displayed in neon installations. With innovation in mind, AnOther spoke to Paula Radcliffe about getting in the zone and her ongoing relationship with Nike.

Text by Isabella Burley

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