Posted by Pall Catt in Inspiration on June 13, 2017
Although last week we featured an article on super-runner Christiaan Greyling, Trailrunner.co.za is not just about elite athletes. We like to share perspectives from all angles of the sport, and one often overlooked one is that of the average runner who is not necessarily competing for a podium spot, but may just be there for the enjoyment of the activity, may be tackling some personal goals or competing against their own inner daemons, or could have a host of other reasons for being out on the trails. Not only is this experience more relatable to most of us, but often these are the people who experience the most out there because instead of it all whizzing by at a blistering pace, by default they spend more time on a route, engage with other participants and support crew, pay attention to the detail, and sometimes arguably even endure more perceived exertion (suffering) than the front-runners.
One such self-proclaimed “average runner” who is reasonably new to the sport but has quickly developed a deep fondness for it and set himself some lofty goals, is Reynardt Deminey. He has offered to share his journey with us over the upcoming months as he begins to tackle his ambitions. It’s worth pointing out that every person takes to the sport in their own unique way and so Reynardt’s contributions should be seen as an account of his own experiences but should not be read as generic guide for any newbie’s trying to find their feet. What works for him might not necessarily work for you and you will have to undergo your own journey and learn to understand your own body and its limits.
After taking a two year hiatus from running I decided that March this year would be a good time to start running again. Mind you, I only started running in 2014 and stopped in 2015 so I didn’t run that long in the first place and secondly, I have never actually been good at it.
Knowing that there isn’t much like entering for a race to motivate you to start training I promptly entered for a few races including the Platinum Trail Run, the NumNum Challenge and Magaliesberg Challenge and I plan on doing the Karkloof 50 miler in September. The ultimate goal is to do a 100 miler sometime next year.
Start running…..check. Enter for a few races….check. Now for the difficult part…..the training. Apart from an aborted attempt at running the Loskop Ultra Marathon in 2015 and a few 21km road races, I have never actually run that far in my life. I knew that I would have to approach training methodically and strategically in order to get the most “bang for my buck” and get my ⅛ tonne frame across the finish line in the quickest possible time. There was only one coach that would help me accomplish this mammoth task and that was, wait for it, coach Google.
Initially Coach Google told me to run at least 4 to 5 times a week with a long run over the weekend, slowly building up my mileage in accordance with the “10%” rule. How can that be? At that rate I would only run 30km per week by the end of the year!
Coach Google and I then revised our strategy after I posed the question “how to train for an ultra in 16 weeks?”. Coach Google’s answer to that was simple……just run everyday until you think you are going to die and then, wait for it, run some more. And remember to let go of all carbs so that you become a fat burning machine.
I did that for about 3 days when, on the brink of death, I asked Coach Google “how to train for an ultra in 16 weeks without dying?” Coach Google promptly answered that I should forego all long runs and do High Intensity Intervals instead. Those things will get you fit like a mother …….!
After doing that for about a week I could run well…….over very short distances, but anything over a few K’s would have me crawling home. Obviously this last advice didn’t work and I abandoned Coach Google altogether. He is a fool and his advice didn’t help at all.
In the end I decided to keep it simple. Something you might think is good advice, especially from the internet, might be really bad. The advice on how to end in the top 10 of a particular race is also differs a lot from the advice necessary to finish. Sure we all want to get better, but that takes time. A lot of the time we over plan, over train and over complicated things to our own detriment.
So my new approach is…..run a lot, run long, listen to your body and enjoy the journey. Have faith in the process, the improvement will come.
Stay tuned for Reynardt’s report of his experience at the FNB Platinum Trail Run, coming soon.