If ever there was someone to look to for the ultimate in exercise motivation, Bec Wilcock is it. The Nike trainer has run in the Barkley 100 - what's that, you ask? Just a three-day ultra-marathon across the US, no biggie - and has more maras under her belt than most people have ever run in their lives.
It takes more than weekly pilates and the odd pump class to undertake the Barkley, so naturally we wanted to know more. Like, how exactly does Wilcock train? And what does she eat? And what does she think we should do if we're serious about attempting a half-mara? If you're as curious as we were, read on - and if you're feeling inspired, you can join Wilcock in Sydney's first ever Nike+ Women's Half Marathon on July 3.
How many times a week (or day?!) do you exercise, and for how long?
In my current program I train seven times a week with two doubled up days.
Can you talk us through your exercise regimen?
I currently do three runs per week (a speed, a tempo and a long run), two weights sessions, a yoga session and a "play" session (this could be a surf or a beach session).
What kind of workout do you find gives you the best results?
It depends what I'm training for. For ultra-marathons my long runs (10-20 hours) in the mountains give me the best results.
Do you have rest days?
Yes! Rest and recovery is a critical component for any successful training program.
How do you prepare for an event like an ultra-marathon?
The most important component when training for an ultra is "time on your feet" and learning about your body. For me, I've been running and training for triathlons since I was 12 years old so I've banked some kilometres in my legs! These years were my foundation to build into first a full marathon then onto ultra-marathons.
My tip for anyone wanting to do an ultra is to assess where you're at - have you run a full marathon? Then tailor your training program according to you! No matter where your starting point is, you can achieve it, it's just about putting the time and dedication in.
And how do you prepare for a half-marathon?
For half marathons, you have three important elements to your training: speed/intervals, tempo and long runs. I make sure I block these elements into my training with progression. Most programs will involve 3x four week blocks that build in volume (reaching up to 18-20km in your long runs) and make your kilometre pace faster with speed/intervals/tempo.
How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by keeping myself entertained, changing up my goals and make sure I'm always challenging ME!
What's your preferred post-workout snack/meal?
At the moment I'm loving my protein pancakes from Proteini cafe after gym in the morning... so yum!
Do you follow a particular diet?
I listen to my body and stick to a well-balanced diet.
Is there anything you won't eat?
Saturated fat and fast foods are out!
What exactly would you eat on an average day?
Hot water and lemon
Eggs and avocado
Blueberries and a green smoothie
Salmon and greens
What gear should all runners have, especially coming into winter?
A good pair of long tights! I'm loving the Nike Power Speed Tight at the moment.
What are your top tips for someone who wants to start running?
- Be patient with yourself.
- Have a running session with a professional so you learn proper technique.
- Make sure you're running at least twice a week so you don't lose your running fitness.
- Track your progress. The Nike+ Running app is an excellent way to see how you're progressing, which helps immensely with motivation.