Voet van Afrika
It’s ONE MONTH to go
before the Voet van Afrika
Are you prepared for the toughest race with the warmest heart?
Whether you’re confident and feeling fit for this race; or whether you’re still a little unsure of yourself – here are 5 tips to prepare yourself with 4 weeks to go.
#1: Remember: This is NOT your normal road race
Because runners of the 42.2km marathon run over a mountain, you can’t simply train like you would for a normal race.
According to Dr Caroline D’Alton, Clinical Lecturer at the University of Cape Town in the Department of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, hill training is a really good idea to help you prepare for this race.
“It’s important to keep doing your hill training in the next 3 weeks. Remember, you’re not only running over a mountain, but the road between Bredasdorp and Napier is also undulating, and you could be affected by a headwind on that road. So strength is key.”
Also, keep up those distance training runs over the next 2 weeks. “In week 3, do some distance runs, but definitely less than the prior 2 weeks. And in the 10 days to a week before the marathon, temper your hill training and distance training, and rather rest your legs.”
Tanith Maxwell, who has represented South Africa at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, suggests not changing your programme too much with a month to go. “I would emphasize the last long run 3 weeks out from race day,” she says.
Dr Caroline D’Alton
#2: Check your footwear
The Voet van Afrika marathon is part road run, part trail run. In fact, the road up to the top of the mountain, and into the town of Napier is gravel, with a couple of technical patches.
Dr D’Alton says, “Be prepared for the terrain. Make sure your shoes are adequate, and that they’ve got a reasonable grip.”
#3: What about hydration and refueling?
This depends on the weather. October in the Overberg can be extremely hot, rather chilly, or very windy.
There are waterpoints every 3km on the route. “But if you get thirsty quickly, carry water with you. And if it’s a hot day, be sure to hydrate properly. But beware of over-hydration. The rule is to rather drink according to thirst.”
Dr D’Alton also advises training in different weather conditions, to help your body to acclimatize for the weather on the day.
Maxwell adds: “Try to simulate the race course profile to some extent and pay special attention to pacing as well as practice fueling with carb drinks and energy gels that the runner would be using on race day.”
#4: What’s your mental state for this race?
The race offers some of the best views, most beautiful natural environments, and warm, welcoming crowds. But it’s still crucial that you’re mentally prepared for what lies ahead.
“Make sure you’re psychologically ready for the race,” Dr D’Alton says. “Be prepared for a headwind on the race, or other unknowns. If you’re mentally in shape, it will make this race even more enjoyable.”
#5: Rest just before the race
With 1 week to go, Dr D’Alton believes rest is the best option. “Taper your distances, and rather just keep your muscles active. The idea is to allow your glycogen stores to build up and your legs to be rested come race day.”
According to Maxwell, resting prior to the race is vital. “The taper is important and it is better to stand on the start line slightly undertrained than with heavy, tired over-trained legs!”
But she adds, “In saying that, don’t stop running altogether in the final week leading up to the race. Light jogs are important and prevent lethargy and that ‘flat’ feeling!”
We look forward to welcoming you to the Voet van Afrika marathon!
Resources for Runners
What an amazing race. Will definitely return. Thank you Bredasdorp for your hospitality.
– Tracey van Niekerk