Kirstin Bull, 33, of St Kilda, Victoria, was the first female to cross the finish line at the 2014 Great Ocean Road Marathon (03:07:48)
What does your normal training week consist of?
I run six out of seven days. It involves a speed session, a midweek long run, a tempo run, an easy run and a weekend long run. An example of my speed session is 6 x 1km with 60 seconds rest, with a warm-up and cooldown. At the moment my midweek long run is 20-22km. For my tempo sessions, I’m increasing them each week by 2km. (I’ll start at 6km and work up to 16 -18km.) I also do some cross training: Bikram yoga, normal yoga and one gym session.
How do you stay motivated during training?
I’m lucky. I have a lot of self-motivation to train. When I train, it makes me feel really good. It makes me feel alive. It’s good for getting rid of daily stresses, like work and other things in my life. Also I train with a group called the Crosbie Crew, and people in the group motivate me. On our Sunday long runs, anywhere between 30 to 50 people turn up, so I always have someone to run with.
Can you tell us about your diet during and after training for a big race?
Getting enough carbs and protein is my biggest challenge leading into races. Especially when I’m doing big Ks. The week before a marathon I carb-load, using the Australian Institute of Sport carb-loading program. In general training, I don’t follow a strict diet, I just eat healthily and make sure I’m getting enough fruit and veg, and meat to keep my iron levels up. The morning of a race, I eat two pieces of toast; one with jam and one with vegemite. I drink coffee and a sports drink. After the race, I have a protein Masashi protein recovery drink and a banana. Within two hours I eat a carbohydrate-rich meal for recovery – pasta or a sandwich.
In competition, what do you consider to be your strengths and weaknesses?
My strength is even pacing. In a marathon, that means choosing a pace and sticking with it. I’m also good at pushing the pain away – using my mind to keep myself going when my body’s telling me to slow down. Weaknesses: Believing that my competitors are going to go out really hard and thinking that I should go out hard with them. I have to tell myself not to follow them and just let the race pan out how it does.