Athlete Interview - Joe Ward

by NW Correspondent 2046 views Lifestyle

Athlete Interview - Joe Ward

Athlete Sport - Running

Titles Won
  • GNW250 course record holder (49 hours and 5 minutes)
  • Brisbane to Sydney course record holder (12 days)
Tell us why you chose the sport you compete in?

I've always been very involved in sport since I was a kid. I've played football, rugby, boxing, kickboxing and every other sport you can possibly imagine. Running was an interesting choice because I don't think I ever thought I would be a runner. I found running quite boring when I was at school. I kind of fell into running after leaving University as a way to help me quick smoking. Over the years I gradually built up from 1km to 5km to 10km, all the way to marathon distance. Then I started to run ultra events from 50km, 100km, 100miles to 1000kms and over several years I found I was good at running very long distances.

What is your motivation to be the best at your sport?

There's a great quote by a Nike runner called Steve Prefontaine. He says, "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." I really believe in giving my best and working hard and I genuinely enjoy pushing myself to my limits. My motivation is to keep giving my best so I improve every year. I'm lucky that I keep improving and my results getting better and better the more I learn. I'm optimistic about my future in the sport because I haven't hit my plateau yet and I keep recording faster times.

What would you consider to be the most important aspect of success in your sport?

Consistency and hard work I think are the most important aspects of running. In a nutshell, it's that simple. Consistency and hard work. But it's much easier to type this than to practice it. You have to keep in mind that running is like any relationship. The more energy you give to it, the more you get back. That's why you really have to love what you do so you can keep working hard when most people would quit. If you love what you do you will always go the extra mile. Luckily, I am completely obsessed with running. Some would say a little too obsessed but my addictive personality has helped provide me with the ability to stay consistent and keep working hard.

What is your training philosophy?

My philosophy in recent years has been "progress not perfection". I really believe that progress can be achieved steadily over a number of years and this should be an athletes primary focus. A lot of athletes focus on being number one or breaking records is that's great if it works well for them but what works for me is to focus on improving a little each year. It's incredibly rewarding to see myself improving and getting closer to my goals. I'll never be a perfect runner but I don't want to be. As long as I can keep moving forward and achieving my dreams I'm more than happy with that.

What is your nutrition philosophy?

I am a plant based vegan athlete so my philosophy is Train Mean, Eat Green! I try to focus on eating lots of beans, legumes, grains, vegetables, nuts and seeds and this has really helped me get the best performance from my body. I don't just eat whole foods 24/7, I often have some treats too but I try to keep processed food to a minimum. I see anything with more than 15 ingredients as more of a chemistry set than a snack! That's part of the reason I love Blue Dinosaur Bars. They are great snacks to eat on the go but with far fewer ingredients than Clif Bars and other energy bars. It's great to have a snack that you can grab out of the box without compromising your nutrition plan.

How do supplements play a role in your recovery and performance?

I supplement with Iron, B12 and CoQ10. These are all important for athletes doing a large amount of training each week and I couldn't complete my weekly training volume without them. I take these supplements religiously every day because I can always tell the difference in my performance when I forget to take them. I seem to recover much quicker than my competitors and I think my supplements play a huge role in this.

If you could only choose 3 supplements to use for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?

Iron, B12 and CoQ10. These are the supplements I currently use and they seem to be working so far. I have had low Iron levels in the past so I would definitely stick with this. Also B12 and CoQ10 because they have had a significant affect on my performance in the last 12 months.

What is one supplement that you noticed had an immediate/significant impact on your success in your chosen sport?

CoQ10 has been amazing. Adding CoQ10 to my daily regimen gave my energy levels a massive boost and really helped me perform at a higher level. I recently came second in the GNW100 miler and recorded the fifth fastest time ever on the course and I really put this down to a couple of tweaks I made to my nutrition in the months leading up to the event. CoQ10 was one of those new changes so I'm convinced it made a big difference to my performance on race day.

Is there anything else you would like to tell our customers or your fans/followers?

Please keep your eyes open for the new Blue Dinosaur Super Bites advertising I'm involved in. I believe the campaign is being launched tomorrow. My short film discusses the benefits of the Blue Dinosaur Espresso Super Bites. Running plus caffeine is awesome!

Would you like to thank any sponsors?

I would like to thank The North Face, Sydney Road Dental Care and Blue Dinosaur Bars for all their support. I am so grateful to have such amazingly supportive sponsors behind me and I couldn't do it without them.

And Finally... Do you have a morning ritual and if so what is it?

My morning ritual is to get up at 4.55am every day and be out the door running by 5.15am. I like to start running before my brain has had time to fully wake up. I can often run 8kms half asleep so that by 6.30am my run is done and it all happened like a dream. I've been following this routine for about 5 years now and it gets easier and easier to get out of bed at this time. We are all creatures of habit so your body gets accustomed to new habits very easily. We just have to make sure we consciously choose habits that are beneficial and enrich our lives instead of bad habits that make our lives more challenging. The morning is a great time to get those healthy daily rituals done so get up, get out and get going!

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