I’ve been running since I was about 15. It started out as a fitness thing, but quickly became an addiction! It gave me some rare time where I was on my own with my thoughts. As I got older, someone planted the seed of doing the half marathon. I thought, why not?! I’ll never forget that satisfaction and the endorphins of my first race, I just loved it.
Since then, I’ve done heaps of half marathons, and two full marathons: Melbourne, and New York, which was an incredible experience. I didn’t have my best race, I was a bit unwell, but nonetheless I finished it.
I had a bit of a hiatus from running towards the end of last year. I was in America covering the US election and the pandemic. It was an incredibly busy time as a foreign correspondent, so I took a bit of a break. This year, I moved home to Australia and got married. There was so much going on, I decided I really needed to do something for myself.
Now I’m back training for the Nike Melbourne Marathon Festival half marathon this December. The minute they announced it was happening, I had to do it. I think it’s going to be unlike any other atmosphere we’ve seen at the Melbourne Marathon just because of what this city has been through.
The important cause I’m running for
The focus of my fundraising has been to support police officers suffering from PTSD — prompted by the time I was the crime reporter in Melbourne. The Bourke Street story really rattled me; I was sent to that story when it was breaking. I remember the first image when I got out of my crew car with my camera man, was seeing a pram tipped on its side.
That was an image that has never left my mind, and I still feel sick thinking about that day.
I really struggled with that afterwards.
Because I have dealt with so many cops in my line of work, I remember thinking imagine being a police officer dealing with this. I thought if I’m going to keep doing all this running, I should do it for something that means a lot to me, and supporting police with PTSD was the cause I chose to support. In the end, I raised around $13,000 with all my running.
How I train for a half marathon
When I’m training for a full marathon, I’m training by the book. I used the Nike Run Club app for the full Melbourne Marathon and that worked a treat. I basically just followed it and I could not believe it. I thought the day would be a real struggle. I didn’t get a spectacular time but, the program worked.
Because I’ve done so many half marathons now, I don’t really stick to a strict program. Generally, I will just do one long run on the weekend, where I’ll increase my distance incrementally, usually by 2kms. Then, in the middle of the week I’ll do perhaps one run, which is just 7k-ish, and that’s it, two runs a week. Once my weekend run gets to 19km-20kms, I’ll then start to taper.
How I eat when I’m prepping for a half marathon
I have done half marathons having woken up from a 21st the night before, with not much sleep. I think the champagne may have helped my performance, because of all the sugar. Nutritionally, I’m a pretty healthy person. I don’t believe carb loading is as necessary as people say. I have found for me that one of the best fuels the night before a long run is steak and vegetables. Sometimes I’ll do the carb loading after the run as a reward — like a beautiful bowl of pasta. I also think you don’t need to overdo the gels during the race. Depending on how you’re feeling and if you’re low on energy then they’re great. But if you don’t need it, I find it’s better to ease up because it can make you feel heavier in the race.
My tips for runners
It’s a bucket list thing to tick off. There is no better feeling than running into the MCG when you’re from Melbourne and you know this city so well. I would encourage anyone who enjoys running to put it on their list of goals.
In terms of tips, just enjoy it! On race day, you have to think of your energy as a tank of petrol. Make sure you’ve got enough petrol in the tank at the 20km mark to keep you going and get you to the finish line. And finally, don’t get over excited by the atmosphere on the day. Just run your own race. Soak it up and enjoy it!
My personal goal
I’d like to get sub-2 hours. When I was a bit younger, I was doing a half marathons at 1 hour 45 and 1 hour 50. I’m not that fast anymore, now if I get bang on 2 or just under I’d be stoked!
Want to get involved?
The Nike Melbourne Marathon Festival will take place December 11 and 12. There’s still time to support people running for great causes, like CPEC, Beyond Blue and The Heart Foundation. Help every step make a difference!
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