COFFEE AND ELITE SPORT - WHEN SAM MET TISH
Tish Jones is a Team GB marathon runner with a personal best of 2hrs 31mins, set at the 2019 Virgin London Marathon. She is supported by Adidas and trains with Belgrave Harriers. Living and training near our roastery in the Surrey Hills, Tish is an ambassador for Chimney Fire Coffee.
Last month we sent our Relationship Manager (and resident endurance sports nut) Sam out for a jog with Tish, where they discussed what makes her tick, the highs and lows of elite sport, and why coffee is such an important part of her life.
SP: Your journey to earning Team GB colours has not been a traditional one. What are some of the challenges you have faced on the way?
TJ: The main challenge that most runners face is injury. It’s really been my main challenge far more times that I care to think of! I love to be outside and to be pushing my body, but it comes at a price from time to time.
SP: Do you prefer training or racing?
TJ: Racing is what I enjoy the most, and I actually
trained myself in the early days by racing at the weekends when I could, and working full time during the week. It’s what really drives me, the competition. In that situation I run harder without even thinking, and it’s the feeling afterwards amongst the participants, and the cool post race vibe where everyone’s on a bit of a high and the coffee tastes better than ever! Haha.
SP: And the post-race beer, of course! What do you think has been the highlight of your career as a runner so far?
TJ: I think the overall common highlight for me in my career to date is meeting so many amazing people through running, and cycling as a method of training also. It really makes memories, and creates the experiences I will treasure for a very long time.
SP: For sure. I know you lived and trained in South Africa for a time with its epic trails around Table Mountain, and you’ve competed in races all over the world - where has been your favourite place to run?
TJ: This is genuinely a hard question to answer, and I would be lying if I said there was one place. So basically there isn’t one but I have multiple ‘favourites’ and, having not finished yet, that list will continue to grow.
SP: Speaking of lists, you've got some amazing tattoos on your arm. What's the story behind those?
TJ: Well, it’s pretty much something I started doing on my travels - kind of a collection of travel souvenirs! The tattoos are traditionally done in the local dialect of where I am at the time. They all have the same meaning: “to travel around the world”. I still have space to continue, although I might have to spill over onto the left side!
SP: Your travels round the world seem to have had a big impact on your outlook on life. Have you had any interesting coffee-related experiences on your adventures abroad?
TJ: I think I learned how much I love coffee whilst travelling, especially in South Africa. There are so many wonderful small independent roasters, and the taste of good coffee was really something I got used to. I began to recognise flavours and quality, not to mention the social element of sharing good coffee, company and conversation!
SP: It's common knowledge that coffee and endurance sports go hand in hand. Do you integrate coffee into your training and racing routines, and if so how?
TJ: Making my first coffee in the morning is an important ritual, which doesn’t change whether racing or training. I don’t specifically train or race with caffeinated products, as I do have my fair share of caffeine (in the form of coffee) throughout the day! To a certain degree, I believe that if I began to integrate caffeine for performance, I would have to restrict my intake through the day in order for it to have an optimal effect.
SP: True, who would want to swap a great flat white for a gross caffeine gel! What was your first experience of drinking coffee?
TJ: If I can remember that far back! I do remember trying a traditional Vietnamese coffee whilst I was on one of my first long adventures, and it was amazing!
SP: How do you brew at home?
TJ: Aeropress all the way for me! Game changer. I was using a small french press for such a long time, I really should have got the aero much sooner. I have recently got the v60, but I think I need to learn how best to use it, to get the most from this particular method.
SP: You should check out our online brew guides - they’ll give you a good place to start with your experimenting. How about if you could only drink one of our coffees for the rest of your life, which would it be?
TJ: Hmmm that’s a tough one, and I genuinely don’t think I’ve tried them all yet! I did fall in love with the Colombian, but the May Discovery from East Timor was crazy good - so tasty. That’s my sort of coffee!
SP: Glad you liked it, we did too! I’ve got a bonus question from our Ops Manager Row: If you had to go a year without running or a year without coffee, which would you choose?
TJ: I would only do one of those things if there were no other way! Both bring me genuine happiness and joy. I associate each with things that enhance my daily life. It isn’t just the sole act of drinking coffee that I love, nor is it the duration of one run.
Thanks so much to Tish for taking time out of her busy training schedule to hang out with us for the afternoon. You can follow her on Instagram at @tishysplishy. She is currently training to reach the World Championship qualifying standard in early 2022, so if you see her out and about give her a big cheer!