Team Hour 7 runner Samantha Amend is a unique athlete in the ultra distance space, with multiple race and British records to her name. 

Natalie White asked the GB&NI international, who is preparing for the World 24hr Championships in December, a series of questions on training, mindset and… lucky pants.

Typical training weeks?

When asked about her typical training week, Sam shared, “I’ve recently incorporated a day off from running, typically on Thursdays. My training regimen varies depending on upcoming races and goals. On average, I have two challenging sessions – one focused on speed and the other on tempo.

Sundays are reserved for long runs, with the rest of the week filled with easier runs. As I’ve grown older, my body can’t handle 100-mile+ weeks anymore. Additionally, daily gym work, including either spinning classes or strength training, is an integral part of my routine.”

Sam explains how her pre-race rituals have changed over the years, “as I’ve aged, the importance of ‘lucky pants’ and ‘lucky tops’ has diminished. Now, it’s more about managing nerves to avoid impacting my digestion.

Sleep and nutrition are crucial, with a preference for plain white carbs and no fibre – a runner’s dream. Beyond that, training and having a reliable crew for longer events are key factors. Years of experience have taught me to minimise unnecessary stress.”

Photo: Dave MacFarlane

Running goals and staying motivated?

When it comes to setting and pursuing running goals, Sam emphasised, “I consider myself fortunate to continue running this year despite facing fatigue early on. My main goals include the World 24hr Champs at the end of the year and a series of smaller races.

Respecting my body and being realistic about race participation is essential. I collaborate with my coach and Team Hour 7 management to tailor a plan that aligns with my current fitness level and desired goals.”

Sam highlighted that maintaining motivation during extended training blocks and setbacks can be difficult. “Consistency is crucial. I also balance my running with a full-time job and family commitments, treating myself to small rewards and nurturing non-running interests.

Setbacks are a part of the journey, often due to injuries or illness. Immediate physiotherapy and refocusing on strength work help me recover. As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned to be kinder to myself, allowing my body the time it needs to heal and recuperate.”

Photo: Geoff Lowes

The best memories?

Reflecting on her most memorable race, Sam finds it difficult to choose. “There have been many memorable races for different reasons. Comrades stands out for its breathtaking scenery, even though I raced with a back fracture. The Thames Path 100 was special as my first 100-mile event, and I later broke the course record in 2016.

The Centurion Track 100 holds a special place as well, where I shattered multiple records. Despite being flat and repetitive, it challenges the mind in unique ways.”

Photo: Steve Ashworth / Centurion Running

“It’s a choice, not a chore. Running is my sanctuary, contributing to my mental well-being. I set goals to stay on track and live by the motto ‘don’t ask, just do.’ Even in the face of setbacks, I cross-train and find inspiration during runs with friends or solo outings.”

For aspiring runners, Sam offered sage advice, saying, “Prioritise consistency and hard work, setting small, achievable goals. Embrace both victories and defeats, as they make you stronger and hungrier for success. Run for yourself, not to meet others’ expectations. While coaching and support networks are invaluable, your motivation must come from within.”