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Me and my health: Triathlete Melissa Eccles on her lifestyle

By Helen Carson

The 25-year-old triathlete and personal trainer, from Holywood, is one of the organisers of this year's Belfast Telegraph Runher Coastal Challenge.

Q: Do you take regular exercise - and if so what?

A: As a triathlete I have an intensive training regime which involves three swims, four cycles, four runs and two gym sessions every week. I have one day off a week and the length of each session depends on which discipline it is and how near I am to a competition. My next event will be in Londonderry on June 19.

Q: What's been the worse illness you have had?

A: While I haven't suffered a lot from illness, the worst injury I've had was a fracture to the my shin bone in 2013. I couldn't run for three months. The injury was a result of over-training and my body just wasn't strong enough. I'm at my best when I mix the disciplines rather then focusing too much on one, as my body just cannot handle too much running.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: My diet is healthy 75% of the time, with a good balance, though I don't like to put too much emphasis on a strict regime as you can spend too much time worrying about what you are eating. For me, breakfast is a banana or porridge and toast with either a baked potato and tuna for lunch, soup or a sandwich. Dinner is whatever my mum is cooking.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: I do like my chocolate and I try not to think about it as a bad habit - I just don't go overboard and focus on the good foods that I eat, too. My favourite is Cadbury's Dairy Milk all the way.

Q: Do you drink and/or smoke - and if so how much?

A: My tipple of choice is a glass of Prosecco although I am not a big drinker. I enjoy a drink when I'm out for a night with friends, but just a few. And I don't smoke.

Q: Do you take any health supplements?

A: Multi-vitamins when I remember. I prefer to eat good food which is rich in nutrients rather than rely on supplements.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: As a triathlete and personal trainer, I am either training myself or someone else, so I don't get a great deal of time away from all of that. But to me training is a way of life rather than work. When I do get some precious time off duty, I love to go out to dinner with my sister Karina or spend time with my nephew, Harry (Karina's son) - he's the main man.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: I would say that I sleep okay. When I have early morning starts for training I find it hard to get into a regular sleeping pattern. If I get an hour in the middle of the day I will grab a quick nap rather than get a deep sleep. I'm not that strict on myself getting eight hours rest every night.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: I do, but it is one of those things, isn't it? When you are younger you want to be older, and when you are older you want to be younger again. When you are older you think things should slow down a bit, yet as a triathlete I see that it is the veterans and the older people who are strongest, they are the masters of cross-country running. While others may fear not being able to compete when they get older, the vets are proof that it can be done.

Q: What is your go-to product/habit that keeps you feeling healthy?

A: My lifestyle is what makes me feel healthy and will keep me healthy. And that affects everything I do, from what I eat to my attitude. I am always working on my approach to things because I think it is not a situation which will get the better of me, but how I deal with it. This applies to any area of life from work to personal relationships.

  • Belfast Telegraph Runher Coastal Challenge 5K and 10K, will take place on Friday, May 20. Entry fee is £22, visit for more details

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