Friday, October 30, 2009


I'm viewing this trail running thing as cross training. It's good for the leg muscles. After last night's experience, though, I'm thinking of revising that view. We ran from Constantia Nek "up to the reservoirs". I assumed they'd be part of the way up or something, and was assured by the organiser of the run that it was 9 or 9 and a half km.

An hour and a quarter later I was finished. It's a brutal climb straight up, then straight back down the same concrete road, so no real trail running, just plenty of pounding, and some admittedly fabulous views, accompanies by aching knees and a biting cold wind. Feeling sure that I'd worked harder than 9 km or so, I mapped it on Map My Run. It's 11.2km, with a 500m vertical climb. Bloody hell my legs are knackered.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I've been trail running for a few months now. It's a fast growing sport, certainly in South Africa, probably because the combination of beautiful mountains and great weather makes it pretty spectacular. It's also great exercise - lots of hills, and lots of variation. Where running on the road is pretty fixed, on a track you are continually adjusting for the slope, the terrain, rocks and roots. My theory is that the variation in movements is much better for your body, especially the back, which is my concern.

I've joined a regular group that runs on Thursday nights. On a good week, there are about 60 or 70 people in 3 or 4 groups. Tonight was Signal Hill - out & back from Kloof Nek. It was mostly single track, so my legs are whipped from the plants, and knackered from the hills. The mileage doesn't fit in with the schedule at the moment, but I reckon it's good speed training or something. The views from the various bits of Table Mountain that we run on make it all worth the effort.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Training schedules

Faced with the reality of preparing for my first marathon at the age of 40, I looked online for some good advice. There are as many marathon programmes out there as there are running gurus. Since all you need to run is a pair of trainers, there are lots of experts out there, most of them American and specifying their logs in miles. Having been in SA for 11 years, I'm thinking in km.

I dredged from somewhere in my memory that Tim Noakes is the running guru's guru. He's linked to the Sports Science Institute in Newlands, and contributed to Bob Woolmer's cricket book, so he must know a thing or two. In googling his name, I came up with a plan that had 26 weeks of training, based on minutes of running rather than distance. Since it's labelled 'for the non specialist', and it suits almost exactly the time I have to train, I've adopted that one. To start with I'm going to divide the minutes by 5, and run that distance. I may be able to use a smaller number in a couple of months time. Hopefully.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I'm in!

Thanks to the British Red Cross, I have an entry in the 2010 London Marathon. They liked my entry so much that they called me to tell me so, and assured me that I've got one of their places. It's now a couple of weeks of training later, and it still seems a bit unreal. I'm setting up this blog so my sponsors can keep an eye on me, and follow my progress towards the marathon goal.

If you've read this far, then you are probably a sponsor, so many thanks, and keep checking back on your sponsee's progress!