LIAM Highfield is hoping his marathon training will help ease his snooker workload.

The Swindon-born potter edged past China’s Zhang Anda at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena to progress to the second round of the ManBetX Welsh Open - a fixture that took place yesterday.

The world No.60 is running the Liverpool Marathon in May for Crohn’s and Colitis UK, a charity close to his heart given he suffers from the disease.

And with the countdown to the big day intensifying, he says the more time he spends pounding the pavement, the less time he will need to spend on the practice tables.

“Hopefully marathon training will make me practice less,” he joked.

“I’ve just started proper training now we’re 16 weeks out - I’ve got my fingers in a few different pies.

“Snooker is just part of what I do now and it’s not the main focus, and I’ve had a good laugh doing a few things so we’ll see what happens.

“The first six or seven years of my career I just concentrated on snooker and it didn’t really do me that much good mentally and away from the table.

“Now I think it’s about finding the right balance in life, and snooker is just 30 per cent of what I do rather than 100 per cent.”

Ensuring snooker remains just a job and not a way of life is a visible priority for Highfield, who reached the third round at the Scottish Open in December before crashing out in the German Masters qualifying stages.

And he is hoping to continue applying that mantra in the Welsh capital this week.

“I’m up to about 20 miles a week running now - I went on the treadmill yesterday because I thought if I went out in this wind I’d end up in Belfast,” he added.

“It’s a nice distraction being able to run here in Cardiff - I’ve got loads of time, and Cardiff’s a great place that I really like a lot.

“But I’ve not had a tournament since Christmas - I’ve been practising hard.

“My season’s been a bit in and out - I don’t really assess it and I just view it as an ‘on to the next one’ sort of thing to be honest.”

Watch the Welsh Open live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with analysis from Jimmy White and Neal Foulds