Iain Banks calls himself a triathlete, but this year he’s been a regular on the podium at the XTERRA Atlantic Series Trail Runs. He finished first at XTERRA Seneca Creek and second at both XTERRA Brandywine Creek and XTERRA Lums Pond.
We caught up with Iain to talk about training, trail runs, and how to beat the Metro DC commute.
Q. What brought you to trail running?
A. To be honest, I signed up for the XTERRA Atlantic Trail Run Series as a race pace workout for XTERRA triathlons. But then I began to really enjoy it. The courses are awesome and I can really see the series continuing to grow because the events are put on so well and the field is really competitive.
There is just something about getting out and running the trails that you don’t get from pounding the pavement. Plus, my wife loves to race the trails as well, so it is something we can travel to together and support each other in. Couples that race together, stay together!
Q. How do you fit training into your busy life?
A. I wouldn’t say that anything I do is wildly different from any other amateur athlete. I have a regular job in Washington, D.C. and the commute that goes with it. I am also the co-owner of Parvilla Cycles, which adds to my responsibilities. I train about 12 hours a week and focus more on quality than quantity.
Q. Can you describe an average day?
A. Most of my running is done on a treadmill in the office gym. That gives me a solid and specific workout done during lunch rather than spending half my time stuck at downtown D.C. traffic signals. It’s not as good as having trails outside the door, but given the traffic, it works. I also swim in the mornings and bike once or twice a week with a great riding group in Maryland.
Q. Do you have a coach?
A. I am a qualified USAC and USAT coach, so I train myself. The discipline is all up to me rather than someone else – and believe me – getting up for morning swims is always tough! To a certain extent, the focus comes from wanting to get the best from myself.
My Dad always told me, “you can only do your best,” and that’s what I try to do. I also think that going out to race and not doing my best would be a waste of all the hours I’ve spent training.
Q. You are about to turn 40. What is the secret to your success?
A. I think the secret is moderation. We all do this for fun so the most important thing is to enjoy it and follow the #livemore spirit of XTERRA. Try a variety of races whether they are trail runs, triathlons, or mountain bike races. And have fun doing them. This year, as part of our race schedule, we make sure we visit craft breweries after every race.
Q. Are you both headed to XTERRA Oak Mountain this year?
A. My wife is doing the trail run and I am doing the triathlon and the trail run. We are excited. And we hear Birmingham has some great craft breweries.