Meredith only begun running at 31 years old, in an effort to combat her quickly slowing metabolism
She is now ranked as high as 5th in 24 hour Ultra marathon in the world
In 2011 she won the Bronze medal in the Commonwealth Championships 24 hour ultra Marathon
In 2014 she came 3rd in the 24 hour Mountain Biking Nation Championships
In 2014 she became joint record holder with Jess Baker for the Gruelling 240km Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory
Question: What is an Ultra Marathon?
Meredith Quinla: An ultra-marathon is a race that is longer than 42.2km marathon. The most common race lengths are 100km and 100 miler, then the track races have 12 hours, 24 hours and 48 hours where you attempt to cover as much kms as possible in the allotted time.
Question: What originally inspired you to get involved in Ultra Marathons?
Meredith Quinla: I read Deane Karnazes' book 'Ultra marathon man" which inspired me to give it a try. I had by that stage done a few marathons so was ready for a new challenge.
Question: How do you get through 24 hours of an Ultra marathon?
Meredith Quinla: I break it up into 3 sections mentally then down into half hour lots. I concentrate on what is immediately ahead of me time wise rather than trying to grasp the race as a whole. I eat and drink throughout the event and then at 12 hours in start listening to music to drown out my body starting to complain!
Question: Can you tell us about Mountain Biking?
Meredith Quinla: Due to the inevitable injury that one gets from a lot of training I took up mountain biking. I was used to spending all of Saturday each week in the bush training so this was another way to continue doing what I loved. It's a really interesting sport as you are always improving and there is so much to learn in terms of technique. The fitness I had from running meant that there was one less thing to take on in learning the ropes.
Question: What is involved in a regular Mountain Biking session?
Meredith Quinla: During the week a regular session will be riding as much off road as I can get on the way to work. I live 27km north west of the Sydney CBD so there is a lot to choose from either via Parramatta, Pennant Hills park, Lane cove national park or Wahroongah, st Ives and Seaforth. On the weekend a typical session involves riding up at Wisemans ferry. I have a few loops up there that involve technical track, fire trails and gravel roads. It's a beautiful part of the world to be in.
Question: Can you talk us through a typical weeks training?
Meredith Quinla: If I am training for a Mountain Bike race I will generally cut back on the running and ride as much as I can. Ideally I run 2-3 times a week and bike from 600-800km a week both road ond off road. I simply increase the length of my commute to achieve the extra kms and then top if off with a 200-300kkm ride on the weekend.
If I am training for a running race I will cut back on the biking and commute the minimum distance about 3 times a week with some of those days containing a back-up run after the ride in. The other days I will run to work either via the bush or just up the roads and then do a long run on the weekend of 60-90km length, generally in in the bush.
Question: How many kilometres would you say you cover, in a week?
Meredith Quinla: If training for a Mountain Bike race then 600-800km, if for a running race then up to 200km per week. When I am not training for anything then generally about 400km riding with maybe 70km running.
Question: Which of the USANA Health Sciences products do you use regularly?
Meredith Quinla: I regularly take the USANA chewable Calcium tablets which are fantastic if you are not into taking pills. I take the USANA vitamin D to ensure I absorb the calcium well and then the USANA Procosamine which is their version of Glucosamine, a must for keeping your joints up to the rigours of heavy training.
Question: Do you have a favourite USANA Health Sciences product, why?
Meredith Quinla: I really like the REV3 energy drink during long races as they are a natural way of getting energy and a bit of a lift to get you through the early dark hours of the morning. I am also pretty keen on their Fudge Delite bars as an easy energy source that is also full of protein and packed conveniently into the right size for an hour's running or two hours cycling.
Question: How important is your diet in the lead up to an event?
Meredith Quinla: Really important. I usually try to cut weight for a race so you have to be really careful not to get carried away with the hunger that ensues from all the training, I tend to stay away from unhealthy food as a result. I also need to concentrate on getting the right fuel for training at optimum levels so that means eating the right things at the right time. When you invest so much time and energy into training it's no good to have less than adequate training sessions simply because you have not been eating properly – this is particularly evident with running. Cycling you can get away with a lot more due to the low impact nature of the activity.
Interview by Brooke Hunter