Suncorp Bank – Tracy O’Brien

Ashmore Sales & Service Consultant Tracy O’Brien who is running the 10km event at this year’s Gold Coast Airport Marathon on 4 July, shares her running story as well as her top running tips.

Tracy started running five years ago to lose weight following the birth of her third child, and soon found she enjoyed challenging herself and improving her distance and time.

“While taking my son for a walk in the pram, I would pick a landmark and jog to it, then recover with a walk. Running to the light pole or next tree (which may have only been 100m away) was hard. I didn’t enjoy it – but I wanted to get better at it!

“With lots of determination, I slowly increased the distance I could run without stopping and the feeling I got from achieving an extra km and gaining pace was rewarding,” she said.

Tracy’s first “fun run” was the Mother’s Day Classic 8km event in 2013, and soon she was hooked, entering every local event she could find over the next year, including a trip to Sydney for the City 2 Surf, a half marathon, and her first marathon.

“I’m so glad to have ticked the marathon off my bucket list. It took me 3 hours, 43 minutes and as I pounded the pavement I recall constantly telling myself ‘just keep running’ The race day atmosphere, adrenaline and excitement was awesome!”

Tracy has also raised money for various charities during her running career, including Cancer Council, Youngcare and Legacy through the Everyday Hero fundraising platform.

“Everyday Hero is fantastic, as it allows you to reach out to friends and family without pressure and it sure beats doorknocking,” she said.

As for Suncorp Bank’s support for running as part of our commitment to community health and wellbeing?

“I love that Suncorp Bank sponsors the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Bridge to Brisbane and parkrun Australia, and I hope to see more and more staff get on board. Let me know if you want to join me for a run in future!” Tracy said.

Tracy’s top five tips:

1. Walk, run, walk
I’d encourage those looking to increase distance and speed to start out like I did in the beginning… walk, pick a landmark and run to it then walk again. Gradually make the running part longer as your fitness increases.

2. Speed up with sprints
Once you have the distance down pat, start to increase your speed by incorporating some interval running sessions on a treadmill or outside. Sprint as fast as you can for 30 seconds to one minute then walk for the same amount of time before you start another fast-paced sprint. Do this for 10 to 30 minutes per session and you’ll improve your cardiovascular fitness, which in turn benefits your longer runs.

3. Over the hill
Throw some hill runs into the mix to get the heart rate up!

4. Cross train
I enjoy two “cardio fit” classes per week where we do interval training, as well as quite a bit of boxing and plyometric exercise to keep fit, along with weights about three times per week to stay strong.

5. Buddy up
Find a training buddy of a similar fitness level so you can motivate each other and make those longer runs more enjoyable! These days I do one long run a week on a Saturday morning with a group of friends. We start at 5:15am which is challenging in itself (especially on a dark cold winter morning) but the endorphins, sunrise over the sea, and post run coffee with the group make the early start worthwhile.