1. Don’t worry too much about pace per km or those details. There’s a bit of creativity involved out on the trails and with that comes a very relaxed nature and you really have to go with the flow, although you will still be running hard.
  2. Strong ankles, a strong pivot point, a strong core and strong hips are vital to navigate the trail obstacles and to avoid injury, but also to conserve energy.
  3. Hill repeats is great for building strength before the race. Here is where my Garmin Fenix3 comes in handy, because I can program the distance and number of repeats beforehand, and it also helps to track the ascent, my heartrate on each repeat etc.
  4. Downhills: Use your arms to balance you and aim to look 2-3 metres ahead to identify obstacles. Don’t slam on the breaks, this will just damage the muscles and throw you off balance.
  5. Recovery in the form of proper hydration and fueling, before, during and after training or the actual race is very important. Also try to stretch and roll post runs 2-3 times per week.
  6. Try to find a trail that will simulate the race course and do a long run of about 70-90 minutes with a 30-minute tempo effort to teach your body how to deal with the fatigue of being on a trail and still being able to manoeuvre around that trail. I uploaded the Two Oceans route on my Fenix3 and trained on the actual route. If you don’t live in Cape Town, find the route online and try and train on something similar close to where you live.
  7.  I think one of the hardest things in trail races is that you run an uphill and your legs are smashed, then you hit a downhill hard and your legs are like jelly. Then you do hit another uphill and you’re buggered! You can train to improve on the same kind of terrain. Attempt to work over a hill and down the other side so you’re imitating what’s going to happen in the race. During the race, if you work the uphill, you are more likely to not just give up at the end of the hill, you get into a quick stride over the top of the hill and try to maintain your cadence.
  8. Fuel, nutrition and hydration – Try different options before the race and during training to see what works for you. This is what works for me: For breakfast I will have a Superfoods Oats mixture 2-3 hours before the start and a Hazz coffee an hour before the race. During the race, I take 1 litre of fluids with me, one 500ml Salomon soft flask mixture of Peptosport, and the other 500ml flask with water. In terms of nutrition, I use Superbar, Buttanutt and Crampnot gels, which has worked very well for me.
  9. Gear – Again, try different options before the race and during training. This is what works for me: Shoes: Salomon Sense Softground. Watch: Garmin Fenix3. Hydration Pack: Salomon Sense Vest with two 500ml flasks. Clothing: Light and comfortable running skort & vest & Salomon Lightweight windshell as part of compulsory equipment. Buff around my wrist as sweatband and in case of cold.
  10. Let go of your fears, embrace the trails and use the obstacles it presents to your advantage! Have fun and enjoy the wonderful playground our Creator provided to us.