Interview with a runner – Melissa Ensink

 

Melissa Ensink is a runner from Melbourne, Australia and a six time marathon finisher. Melissa is also an accomplished yoga teacher and vegan. Melissa recently ran the Canberra marathon in April and is currently training for her home marathon in Melbourne in October.

Melissa has personal best times at the following distances;

Marathon PB – 3:54:58

30km PB – 2:33:30

Half marathon PB – 1:45:08

10km PB – 48:24

5km PB – 23:45

 

How long have you been running, and how did you start?

I was always a runner back in school, from as early as grade 3 I was competitive in athletics and cross country. My events were 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m relay. I also did cross country and although ‘long distance’ running wasn’t a natural gift, I did okay and was a part of a pretty successful cross country team in secondary school. This was mainly due to two of the runners in our team being very competitive at state and national levels. For a few of my teenage years, back in my home town, I was also a boundary umpire for the local football leagues. At the time, I loved footy and thought it was the best thing to get paid to run and watch footy – even if it was raining. After school I didn’t continue any formal training and just ran to keep fit and healthy and also for the positive mental health effects.

I decided I wanted to run a half marathon back in 2012 but after I injured my knee playing netball, I didn’t get around to this until August 2013 – Sandy Point Half Marathon. My training consisted of running one or two of the same loops near my house, and timing it with a fake purple Casio watch I got in Thailand for $3. After that I got more focused on my running, bought my first Garmin watch, completed a proper training plan and ran my first marathon.

What running achievement are you most proud of?

Finishing the Honolulu Marathon is my favourite running memory to date and I was proud to just finish. My training went really well but a few weeks out I injured my hip and was barely able to walk! With the right rest and guidance, I was able to run again and complete the marathon. It wasn’t fast and certainly not pain free but totally worth it.

What is your biggest tip to becoming a successful runner?

For me it is being organised and having a structured plan. If I haven’t set out what I will do for the week, I probably won’t do it. I like to know in advance what mileage I am shooting for and what workouts I will do.

If I am not training for a particular race, things are less structured but I still have a general idea of what I would like to do that week or phase. Mixing up training and events to keep things interesting is also important.

What is your favourite training session?

At the moment I am enjoying kilometre repeats. for example: 2km warm up, 4x1km @10km or HM pace (depending on the day) with 0.5km easy in between. 2km cool down. Distance and pace might vary depending on the day or where I am in the training cycle.

How do you stay motivated when you don’t want to run?

Instead of relying on motivation, I am clear on my ‘why’, make the commitment to my goals and my training and stay disciplined in this pursuit. In an ordinary week, I would say half the time I am super motivated and pumped to run, and the rest of the time I would rather do other things. But I know that the work has to be done to get closer to my goals. I also tell myself when I can’t be bothered running that I will feel so much better afterwards which always ends up being true!

What are your favourite running shoes?

I used to love the Mizuno Sayonara but they’ve stopped making them. So I am on the lookout for a new favourite. This year I am testing the Asics Cumulus and Nike Lunarglide.

What are your goals for the future?

My overall goal is to be running for as long as I can, hopefully into old age. Right now my main goal is to run the Boston Marathon, so I am trying to get a qualifying time in the next 6-8 months. I would also like to run a marathon in every state in Australia and on every continent of the world.

Thanks for taking the time out of your schedule for this interview Melissa. If you wish to keep up to date with Melissa on her running journey you can follow her at pranarunning or on instagram also at pranarunning. Thanks again Melissa and good luck in the future.

 


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Interview with a runner – Alasdair McGill

Alasdair McGill is a runner from Inchture, Scotland in the United Kingdom. Alisdair is an accomplished Professional Accountant and public speaker and is a relative late bloomer in the running world. In a short period of time he has completed a number of impressive races culminating in his first marathon at last years Loch Ness Marathon in Scotland.
Alasdair’s personal bests are;
10K- 46:09
Half- 1:45:42
Marathon- 4:01:59
How long have you been running, and how did you start?
I raced a bike for 10 years, towards the end I was racing cyclocross over the winter, and in cross you do a bit of running as part of your training. At the end of the 2014 season I decided to keep running and entered the Edinburgh half marathon. I’d never run before, so it was a big challenge, but I loved it and eventually did several races in 2015 including 2 half marathons.
However there was still a part of me that missed the bike, so in 2016 I spent more time riding & racing than running, but I got it out of my system. Since the Spring of 2017 I’ve been focused on running and hardly touched the bike!
What running achievement are you most proud of?
I ran my first marathon at the end of 2017, it was the hardest sporting thing I’ve ever done. My target time was 3:45, and I was on track until around mile 18 when the wheels came off. I limped round in 4:01. But I loved training for it, the anticipation and then the experience on the day. I’m looking forward to going sub-4 in 2019 when I’ll do my next one.
What is your biggest tip to becoming a successful runner?
It has to be consistency. As Des Linden says, keep showing up. Make running part of your daily routine, then it becomes something you just do. As well as making you a better runner, it will also make you a better human – it will keep you fit and is good for your mental health.
What is your favourite training session?
I do like a good tempo session. At the moment we’ve moved up to 3 x 10 minutes, after doing 4 x 8 minutes the past couple of weeks. These are good sessions that build endurance and get you used to harder efforts. I’d best describe them as sessions where you’re comfortably uncomfortable…..
How do you stay motivated when you don’t want to run?
It’s really not something I have a problem with. I rarely have mornings (I do most of my training at 6am), where I don’t want to get up, but when that does happen all I have to do is think about the goals I’ve set myself an that will get me up. I think goals are important in life, and certainly in sport. I’ve competed most of my life (it was golf until I started cycling), so I know that if I want to get better I have to put the work in.
What are your favourite running shoes?
I’ve always run in Brooks shoes. Bought my first pair from Run4It, the local running store and I’ve just stuck with them. I started our in Glycerins, had several pairs of those, had a pair of Ghosts, but they wore out too quickly. At the end of 2017 I bought a pair of Launch 4s, really liked them, so I’m now onto my 4th pair. I also have a pair of Brooks Hyperion racing flats that I use for 5k & 10k races.
What are your goals for the future?
I’m still a novice at this running lark, so it’s all about steady improvement. I’ll be 50 next year, and doing my second marathon, so I want to go sub 4 hours. Ideally 3:45. Beyond that, I simply want to stay injury-free and enjoy my running.

Ali documents his running and professional life in his blog at alasdairmcgill.com and his instagram @ali_mcgill. You can also follow his training on strava at Alasdair McGill.
Thanks for your time Alasdair and good luck with your future running goals.