Lloyd is an ambitious professional athlete who turned his passion into his work. He founded Team Project Run, a community-driven coaching global business. Llyod tells us about his experience as a runner and business owner, his nutrition and fitness routine and shares some tips for self-care and sports recovery as well as for keeping motivated through difficult times.
Please say a few words about yourself. How did you start running?
I’m 25 years old, a 5000m athlete and full time coach residing in South-West London where I’ve been for the past three years.
My running journey started in primary school when I went to watch my sister compete. Naturally as competitive siblings, I wanted to better my big sister so I joined the local athletics team and got stuck in from there. From my first race as an 8 year-old ,I had quite a lot of success and rarely lost a race so I quickly got into the habit of pushing myself in training to continue that pathway of trying to win.
As I’ve grown older I come to appreciate how competitive the sport is at the top end and small wins means so much more now than they used to back at the start.
I’m very lucky that over the past 17 years I’ve been able to compete against and train with some of the best runners out there learning so much about this sport along the way.
How did you come to create Team Project Run?
When living in Sydney in 2017, I realised that in Australia run crews and commercial run clubs were growing more popular by the day and less and less runners were following the normal pathway of club-based athletics. For me, this was something unknown so I researched it and found that the main reasons that so many runners were drawn to this new and improved way of competing and running was because you were doing it whilst being part of a community. When you’re not only getting the best from yourself but you’re doing it with the support of other people, that’s a pretty powerful thing to have in your life.
I quickly realised that if I was ever going to show runners what I’d benefitted from the sport, I’d have to bring them together somehow and that’s where Team Project Run was born.
How have you adapted to the COVID situation? How was it like for you and for your professional projects?
I won’t lie, it’s been tough. As an athlete there are many days I just can’t be bothered to put myself through it but then you have to ask yourself the question of why am I trying to be a competitive athlete if I’m not willing to put the work in when the going gets tough?
As a coach and a business owner, this has also been tougher, much tougher than the above. All of the general business worries that thousands of people will be going through right now, and diluting it down to how it’s affected my athletes. It’s been a big mountain to climb. Trying to get across to people that races may not happen at all this year but wanting them to trust you enough to stick with the training to build a foundation bigger and better than ever before is harder than it sounds. But, as long as your athletes trust in you ,then there shouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, as I’ve been affected myself as an athlete, Covid can have a negative impact on your motivation levels and will to achieve, but with the right support network around you and the tools you need, you can do anything you want to.
Do you think running competitions are going to resume soon? It’s hard to keep motivated without a challenge… What advice do you have for runners who’ve seen all the raced they signed up to cancelled?
I wouldn’t plan on competing as a runner in the UK until at least October.
Well I can only be honest and be true to my personality and that’s the reality now. If your race is cancelled, what can you do about it right now? You can either think of a solution and create a plan of action to become a better runner long term for when you can race or you can become down about it, lose motivation and ultimately suffer physically and mentally through doing this. I’d go with the first option!
What is your key advice to keep both a strong body and mind on a day to day basis?
For your mind, remember what you did previously when something worked and the mindset you had then.
For your physical health, there’s so many ways of training these days and so many extrinsic motivational factors that affect our judgement when it comes to training but simply, find your process that works for you and stick to it. If you change it for someone else’s benefit or to please someone else, ask yourself who are you doing this for in the first place?
Can you describe your typical routine?
It depends on the training day, but I run twice a day most days per week, then strength sessions happen two to three times a week. I try to wake as early as possible, some days that’ll be 8am, some days it’ll be 5am, the earlier I can wake up the more I can do during the day and the harder I can work not just for my training but business endeavours too. I fuel pretty well these days so I make sure I eat before every run, nothing too much but enough to get me through then after my first run of the day I’ll have a big breakfast.
I then work from mid-morning until early afternoon before having lunch, then more work until mid afternoon where I’ll prepare for my second run. Post second run will either be time for the gym or I’ll go straight ahead to dinner. After dinner I tend to leave work for the evening, I think it’s important to have time to yourself to recharge the batteries.
When I say work, I mean sitting at my laptop. I’m actually always working, as long as my phone is in my hand I’m always either replying to messages, planning social media content or replying to emails.
Aches and pains are part of a regular and intense running practice. How do you prevent them and how do you care for yourself when you are in pain or feel some discomfort?
I do a lot of pre run activation and mobility, I think for me personally my pre run routine is more beneficial than my post run routine.
I’m very fortunate to live in an area where I have some of the best physios, chiropractors and massage therapists that athletics have to offer in the UK on my doorstep so when we’re not in lockdown. I have a massage weekly and I see my physio every two weeks.
What is your diet like?
Very relaxed because I’ve always eaten pretty clean. I eat what I need to eat and I eat what I want to eat. If that’s 5 beers on a Saturday because I feel like it then I’ll probably have 6!
What are your favourite self-care products?
My R8 Roll Recovery is unreal, they’re not cheap but worth every penny.
Therabands help me a lot with pre run exercises.
The WholyMe Relief Balm I’ve been using for a few weeks and that’s great if you got any aches or pains post training or a niggle you’re worried could become more serious.
Given the current lockdown, what do you miss most?
Racing and the pub.
How do you keep positive and productive?
I think about what I could have been doing or what my life could have been like if I’d never started Team Project Run. That’s enough to get me out of bed in the morning.
If you’d like more information on how TPR can show you the physical, mental and social potential for you and your running, head over to their website www.teamprojectrun.com
Instagram @teamprojectrun @lloydkempson
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