I was introduced to long distance running while I was at primary school. I loved playing sport and had quite an active childhood, jumping at any opportunity to represent my school at any sport. My teacher suggested I try out for the cross country team and in that first year I went all the way through to the state championships where unfortunately, I didn’t end up competing because of an asthma attack. The following year I made it to the national championships and won a bronze medal.
Outside of school I played baseball, Australian rules football, I did umpiring and I was in to skateboarding. At around the age of thirteen or fourteen and after making a couple of state cross country teams (after no training!), I decided to seek out a coach and see how much better I could be. I joined my local athletics club and was fortunate enough to have one of the best running coaches in Australia, Gregor Gojrzewski, training less than two kilometres away from my house. I joined Gregor’s squad and fairly soon after gave up my footy so I could focus on running. Throughout my teenage years I slowly gave up my other sporting commitments to dedicate more and more time to running training and competing.
I knew at a young age that I was more suited to the longer distances. As I got older, the distance of the races would increase, which was something I always looked forward to as I felt that it was playing towards my strengths. I had some of the parents from my training squad tell me that they could see me in the future running fast marathons for Australia.
I first represented Australia in the World Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships where I finished 19th. I competed in the age group above mine at nationals just so I could make the team. Since making my debut in that Open category Australian Cross Country team two years later, I have represented Australia at every world Cross Country Championships with my best result being a 23rd at the 2012 championships in Poland.
Over the last few years I made the step up to marathon running. My first marathon was the Melbourne Marathon in 2013, where I was the first Australian to cross the line and finished with a time that secured a spot in the Australian Commonwealth Games team. The following year I represented Australia at the Commonwealth games in Glasgow and finished 7th.
Running at Rio will definitely be the biggest highlight of my running career as I’ve always dreamt of making the Australian team. The last few weeks of my preparation has included 185km-210km per week! The marathon is very demanding both physically and mentally. The first half of the race should hopefully be controlled but the last half of the race will be absolutely brutal and you have to be mentally switched on to be able to convince yourself to push harder through the pain. I find that the best way to prepare myself both physically and mentally is to simulate aspects of the marathon. If you can work on the different aspects then your confidence will build with the training you do. The more confidence you gain the more you look forward to the challenge of pushing yourself to the limits.
I keep myself motivated with the strong belief that you get out what you put in. If you train well then you will race well. If there is purpose in your training then it’s very easy to get motivated but if you don’t have any particular races or goals then it can be much harder. I enjoy hard training and pushing myself but you can’t always do that, you need recovery runs to help training adaptations. The easy runs can be quite tough to get motivated for so I generally use a range of things to help keep me motivated on my easy runs like running with friends, using music and running in different locations to take in different sceneries.
You’ve got to enjoy the sport you do but also enjoy the hard work that comes with being your best. If you aren’t enjoying yourself then it’s fairly hard to apply yourself and get the very best out of your efforts. As Gregor used to say to me ‘train hard but train smart and listen to your body’, which is reinforced to this day by my current coach Ken. I believe my strongest attributes are my work ethic and my ability to read my body and know when to back it off. This has kept me injury free and has made me the runner that I am today. Bring on race day, Rio.
Liam Adams, born on 4th September 1986, is a long distance runner based in Victoria, Australia. Coached by Ken Hall, Liam strives to be ‘the best he can be’. His goal has always been to represent Australia at the Olympics, which will be achieved on 21st August 2016 when he represents Australia at the Rio 2016 Olympics Marathon. In 2015, Liam was the Australian World Cross Country team captain and in 2014 he represented Australia at the Commonwealth games in Glasgow, finishing 7th. Liam studied a Bachelor of Exercise Science at Victoria University and his favourite football team is Carlton Australian Rules Football club.