Two bananas - that was all it took to knock Eric Aubry out of his stride.
But as he struggled with a stitch with a quarter of the 8km route to go, he found an extra gear thanks to the encouragement of those around him.
"That's the good thing about training in a group," the bank manager, 41, later said. "If I had been alone, I probably wouldn't have been able to push myself."
The French native was one of 60 participants in the first of three running clinics organised for those who have signed up for the half- marathon at The Straits Times Run at the Hub on Sept 28.
Leading the way at Bedok Reservoir yesterday were Singapore's top female marathoner Anne Qi Hui and national head coach for distance running Ghana Segaran.
Over the course of the 90-minute session, the pair shared tips on pre-race preparation, warming up and staying motivated.
"We're not here to teach them how to run but, rather, help them improve on their 21km time," Ghana said of the session.
For maritime executive Lee Hwee Ching, it was the perfect tonic ahead of her first attempt at 21km.
The 24-year-old particularly enjoyed a 25-minute warm-up session led by Qi before the training run. "It was very professional," she said.
"Usually, I just do a few stretches and go but, this time, I didn't feel my muscles aching at the start.
"I'll definitely remember some of the exercises she showed us and start doing them on my own." That will have pleased Qi, who spoke of her hope that yesterday's participants would learn the importance of warming up properly before a run.
"The stretches I taught them can be done anywhere and by anyone," the 33-year-old said.
"Beginners can take it a bit easy at the start but all runners will find them useful."
And Ghana confirmed that he intends to be there to encourage more runners to outdo themselves.
"These clinics will boost their confidence because they have someone to keep pace with," he said.
"It's all about people who enjoy the same activity, coming together and doing it as a group."
This article was published on Aug 3 in The Straits Times.
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