The ups and downs of juggling life and Ultra training
With this year's Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon a month away (yikes - a MONTH?!?), I thought I'd give you a quick update on my training and share some of the challenges I have had.
Runners have a special bond in that most of us have to juggle a career and family responsibilities with running, so it is important to share these experiences and learn from one another.
Well, I got through January 's training feeling pretty good! All new and exciting! Those were all steps into the unknown world of ULTRA marathoning!
Preparing for the unknown has always been very exciting for me .
So I could pretty much tick off the first month - YES! But then February came, which was a little more challenging: Not only did I still have to diarise my qualifying marathon, but we had both my father and father-in-law's birthdays coming up.
With the birthday celebrations being a non-negotiable, I knew that Peninsula would not be my qualifying race! And, in addition, I really wanted to keep the Two Oceans Ultra route as virgin territory until Race Day.
We therefore decided to travel all the way to Oudtshoorn to officially qualify, and what a great decision it was!
It was a lovely crisp morning - simply perfect for distance running. Plus, I've always loved running in nature, so this was the perfect event to earn my qualifying time and to bank some extra miles.
I had the perfect company with Jacques running the first 30km with me, and I ultimately really chuffed to finish in a comfy 3:24.
But then it got hectic at work, and my worn-down Achilles tendon started complaining - not smooth sailing at all. But I have committed to running 56km in support of young, talented athletes and I have never expected this journey to be an easy one.
Needless to say, I am committed as ever to train for and run my first Ultra, so those long runs will stay.
Nutrition has become quite the conversation piece lately, with many people becoming quite passionate about the latest trends.
However, I have not made any changes to my diet and have always had a simple philosophy of eating a variety of foods to make sure I cover all grounds.
I think the most important tip I would like to share with you on the topic is: Do not make any big changes to your diet in the weeks leading up to the event!
Stick to the food / diet / lifestyle that currently works for you. Train and race with what you are used to. Race with the same food, drinks and gels you trainined with. Don't get caught up in the hype and try something new on Race Day - it may be the gateway to a bad day on the road.
Which brings me to my Top Tips for Race Day:
- Keep calm and remember to breathe (remember, proper breathing makes all the difference when you run).
- Fuel your body with what you are used to - stick to the things you know!
- No racing car starts with a cold engine - warm up properly.
- Have a plan for the day & stick to that plan.
- Enjoy the experience, you are creating memories that will last a LONG time