running sprint track athlete

Tiago is a Portuguese athlete who has competed as a guide for Paralympic athletes as well as competing himself. He talks to Sundried about training and motivation. 

What made you decide to enter the world of sport?

I only learned how to swim properly last year and now I'm comfortable swimming all four major strokes. I am now looking to compete in open water swimming competitions and aquathlon races (swimming and running). 

What’s been your favourite race to date and why?

I have a lot of favourite races. I finished in the top 100 of the Lisbon half marathon. I have also represented Portugal in the European and World Championships of Paralympic athletics as a guide for many different athletes. I first competed as a guide in 2002 and in 2003 we broke the 4x100m world record. 

I was also National Champion of 4x100 meters in 2006 and top 20 in National Ranking in 200 meters where Francis Obikwelu Was the N°1.

And your proudest achievement?

I'm proud of all of the above achievements and also being Master National Champion of 200m and 400m and the two relays 4x100m and 4x400m (in the 35-39 age group). I was Regional Champion in Lisbon, Setúbal and Aveiro in 3 different clubs.

Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?

I was running a 25km (15-mile) race and suffered chest pains and had trouble breathing. I continued my strong pace and just tried to control my breathing to make it to the end of the race. 

How do you overcome setbacks?

I keep a strong mindset and focus on my goal. My first half marathon was in 2001 and in training for that I just ran for an hour 4 times a week with no idea of my pace or even how far I had run. I ran the half marathon wearing football boots and shorts but still managed to finish in 1 hour 38 minutes.

The following year I trained properly and managed to finish in 1 hour 17 minutes. It was extremely hot that day and I got bad sunburn on my whole body and face, but I never let that get in my way.

What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?

I wish I had learnt better running technique. I started running seriously in 2001 but with only a football background, I didn't have proper running technique and didn't know the importance of strength and resistance training. 

What are your goals for 2019?

Having learnt how to swim properly, I now want to perfect my technique. I also want to start competing in open water competitions; I've already bought all the kit I need for cold water swimming. My next goal will be to swim 2km and then compete in aquathlons.

I've spent 18 years running competitively, winning medals, and always pushing for more, but I've never had a year like this where I've just consistently trained and improved but not competed or won any medals.

Who do you take your inspiration from?

Usain Bolt, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Michael Phelps. Yes they are genetically gifted, but they work very hard to achieve what they do and they all have a strong mindset and work ethic. 

What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?

I think it's very noble to try and compete in such a competitive market with such a strong ethical ethos. For me, the ethics are more important than buying from global brands like Nike or Adidas.