Soweto Marathon 2017

It’s 10 months since my last post (so much for the “I will write more” resolution), and the theme is the same: I ran another marathon (with another one coming up in just over a month).  Yes, I’m the subject of the joke that goes “How do you know whether somebody has run a marathon?” answered by “They’ll tell you about it.”  However, if one person reads the post and thinks “I’ll try that” then it’s worth it.

60% of Knott In Botswana on a balcony.

Thanks to convenient school mid-term holiday Gwyneth was able to join us this time.

The Preparation

Fresh from my relative success at the Diacore Gaborone Marathon I decided to follow a similar training plan mixing up rowing, running, and cycle commuting.

Training record for the months leading up Soweto Marathon 2017.

Both events happened early in the month (May and November, respectively), so the main training load can be seen in the preceding three months.

Diacore        all in km
  Run Ride Row  
Feb-17 160 113 108  
Mar-17 102 110 149  
Apr-17 187 118 54  
 Total 449 341 311 1101
  Run Ride Row  
Aug-17 199 117 119  
Sep-17 145 153 141  
Oct-17 115 217 94  
 Total 459 487 354 1300

I managed to put in an extra 200km of effort: only 10km running, but 140km cycling and 40km rowing.  The difference in rowing is just because of when I completed the rowing plan: for Diacore I started about one week earlier.  Cycling I just managed to put in more commuting distance.  Due to a change in work I missed out most evening bus runs in October, and also got hammered two weeks before the event with an attack of shingles.

The Event

Race gear for Soweto Marathon 2017.

The run itself was good. Lots of hills, which I like, and lots of people to chase down when churning a steady pace up and down hill.  Provision of refreshments was a significant step up from Diacore with well stocked refreshment tables.

My refreshment strategy was a cup of coke and water sachet at pretty much every table: coke for the sugar rush, and water to alternately wash it down or spray over myself for cooling.

It was a pretty good effort overall: I felt comfortable throughout and in hindsight could maybe have pushed harder. I had decided to start gently, not knowing how bad the hills would be.  Certainly the last half was mainly uphill but I felt like I had plenty in reserve: even passing some Gaborone Striders‘ veterans.

Running through the historic parts of Soweto was great, and the crowds supportive throughout.  Definitely one to repeat.

Supporting Acts

We decided to make a long weekend of it, I was on an induction with my new employer during Thursday and Friday, so Prisca and Gwyneth joined me on Friday.

We rented an apartment high up in a Sandton apartment block, with its own private elevator (shame we didn’t have a private car…), and spent the non-running time shopping.

Forging An Iron Croptop (1 hour workout)

Just discovered a cracking combination from that can be done in about an hour (assuming a certain basic level of fitness/competency).

  1. Crop Top Workout (2:30-3:00 per set and 2:00 rest – 15 minutes or so to complete)
  2. Upperbody Forge (as long as it takes, use kettlebells in unbalanced positions for extra credit)
  3. Iron Maiden (5:30-7:00 per set and 2:00 rest – 27 minutes or so for 3 sets)

Mine looked something like this:

Heart rate during Darebee circuits comprising Croptop Workout, Upperbody Forge and Iron Maiden.
Heart rate during Darebee circuits comprising Croptop Workout, Upperbody Forge and Iron Maiden.

The Iron Maiden is tough, try visualising any problems in your life while doing the punches and knee to the groin movements…


Tabata Bodyweight and Kettlebell Circuits

10kg KettlebellsI’m not a fan of weight-lifting or hanging out in gyms, and also don’t want to have to lug a heap of equipment round with me (we’ll ignore the mountain bikes and rowing machine, for now) when I move to new projects.

Intervals have featured in my running and rowing sessions, and also form part of the hundredpushups / twohundredsitups / twohundredsquats / onefiftydips / twentyfivepullups programmes that I have toyed with at various points in the last few years.

When I then discovered kettlebells and Tabata, what better thing than to combine them? Continue reading “Tabata Bodyweight and Kettlebell Circuits”