Preparing to Run Your Best at The Melbourne Marathon Festival

With SAP as the innovation partner for the upcoming Melbourne Marathon Festival, I spoke in a recent podcast with a running coach and two SAP team members competing in this year’s event to discuss the training tips and data insights powering participants.

Following his years of marathon running experience, Zac Newman established an online coaching service for runners called Run2PB – sharing his knowledge while improving the sense of community amongst marathon runners.

“I’ve been competing in running for over 20 years now and it has gotten me around the world, competing in London, Chicago, and Japan,” Zac explained. “Melbourne Marathon means a lot to me because I did my first marathon there. It’s just a great location for all types of runners. What’s also great about the Melbourne Marathon is that it’s so accessible to runners of all abilities.”

Entering his second Melbourne Marathon is Presales Consultant for SAP SuccessFactors, Andrew Lindsay, who first took an interest in running after being diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s disease in 2016.

“We’re raising both awareness and funds for Parkinson’s Victoria, who are a fantastic source of support for not only people living with the disease, but the carers and providers in that space as well,” Andrew said.

“Last year we raised around $10,000 with participants from SAP as well as family and friends, so we’ve opened that up again with the Everyday Heroes site. Unfortunately, there’s no cure and there’s no modifying treatment, so it’s about raising awareness about the importance of health and wellbeing in living with the disease.”

SAP Chief Operating Officer for Asia Pacific Japan, Rachel Barger is running her first Melbourne Marathon and is excited about the opportunity to demonstrate data’s usage in more personalised and human applications.

“There is a real importance right now around taking data that we have, gaining insights from it, and using it to improve our lives, make our lives easier, and add efficiency to our lives,” Rachel stated. “However, it’s not just about the pure data; when we take data and merge it with the experience people are having, that’s when we really gain true insights.

According to Rachel, this year is the first time SAP is sponsoring the Fan Zone, working with its Qualtrics solution to gather experience data from runners before and during the marathon.

“We’ll be able to match up how people are feeling at different stages of the run,” she added, “with the operational/tactical data like split times and heart rates. This puts together a full story about the complete experience as we merge those two elements together.”

Rachel urges all participants of the Melbourne Marathon Festival to visit the Fan Zone as there are prizes up for grabs and the chance to engage with the high-performance manager of Melbourne City FC.

In preparation for the big event, each of my guests offered some key advice for runners.

Zac: “It’s really important your training program is structured – it needs to have a mix of easy runs, recovery runs, tempo and threshold workouts, which are when you’re working at a faster pace for a shorter distance. These are designed to help your mind and body push through the fatigue that you’re going to face in the race.

Andrew: “Last year, I got a great tip from one of my colleagues, which was take it easy at the start and don’t get caught up in the momentum. Also walk through the drink station when you’re having a drink just to give yourself a bit of relief, especially towards the end of the run.”

Rachel: “Just be a part of it – there are very few things, no matter what time you finish with, that are as fulfilling and exciting as finishing a racing event.”

To hear learn more about the training preparation and motivation behind these three runners, listen to the complete Best Run Podcast episode here.

This article was orginally published on Linkedin