With what is probably unwarranted optimism, we are now entering our 10th week of training for the big run across Madagascar. Progress so far has been pretty steady, and we are racking up between 70-80 km a week along the dusty tracks of Londolozi.
With advice from friends, ex-rangers and previous competitors, our basic training outline is as follows:
Monday: Core workout and stabilization
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: Medium distance. 12-20 km run + core workout.
Friday: Rest day. We REALLY look forward to Friday!
Weekends: While weekends don’t really exist out here in the bush, we try and structure our training as if they do. We will either do a long-ish run on both Saturday and Sunday, or rest Saturday and do a really long one on Sunday.
Those distances are what we are doing at the moment, but they will be increasing as the weeks progress.
Given that both Pete and I were far from being in peak phyiscal fitness when we started training about two months ago, we’re quite excited to be churning out some good distances consistently, with our packs on our back. The tough thing to simulate is the actual race conditions, as we have no idea what the course itself is going to be like. Luckily the roads out here on Londolozi range from sandy to grass-covered to rocky and most things in between, so it’s probably as close to real single-track trail running that we can get without doing the real thing. Also, given that in the mornings and evenings we are out on game drive, our training has to be in the middle of the day, when the sun is at its zenith.
We have logged over 35 encounters with members of the Big Five so far, with buffalo and elephant being the most consistently seen. Rhino we have bumped into twice, leopards twice and lions once. Believe me, we are doing our best NOT to bump into potentially dangerous game, but the reserve abounds with them, and when covering so much ground on foot, it is inevitable that we will come close a number of times.
Pete and I do not have the luxury of zoning out with music blaring through our iPods while we slog through another long run. We have to be mentally sharp the whole time so as not to suddenly startle anything that could harm us.
Taking everything into consideration, things are looking very positive. The training is going well, fundraising is going well (about R90000 out of our R300000 goal has been earned) and apart from a few aches and pains in the legs, we are feeling pretty confident.
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Written by James Tyrrell