Training for the Two Oceans Marathon?

For the past 44 years, runners have flocked to Cape Town for the annual Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon, and with good reason. The event takes place in the magnificent city of Cape Town. It involves 56km of open road, taxing mountain climbs, and allows runners to see the two oceans that wash the peninsula’s shoreline.

So are you thinking of running the Two Oceans? Not just anyone can throw on their takkies and hit the road. You have to qualify and you have to enter to compete, before the deadline closes. Local and international competitors (11,000 runners will take part in this year’s ultra-marathon and 16,000 will take part in the half-marathon) get together to test the limits of their endurance on Easter Saturday, 19 April 2014.

Not an ultra-serious competitor? Fortunately the Two Oceans Marathon’s offshoots accommodate all kinds of runners and experience levels. With 10km and 22km trail runs along the slops of Devil’s Peak and through the forest above UCT, these routes offer a rewarding experience of steep ascents and descents through stunning terrain. There are fun runs (including the International Friendship Run) also happening at the UCT rugby fields and in the city centre for those who want to take part without wearing out their running shoes. These subsidiary runs take place on Good Friday, 18 April 2014.

Getting ready for the Two Oceans Marathon

RunnerEducate yourself about what to expect. There’s no such thing as too much preparation – and just as important as physical preparation is mental preparation. You can get a good idea of what you’re in for by reading others’ accounts of the race. Here’s a great guide of what ultra-marathon first-timers can expect.

Need a more visual picture? Check out some amazing photos of the event.

For physical prep you could check out the training programmes on the official site or look at training guides on Runner’s World and running blogs. There is a lot of good, practical advice out there for you to follow

Also, don’t forget to book your flights and accommodation early on to ensure you get spots and don’t have to pay higher fares than necessary. It would be such a pity to have to forfeit your race entry (and waste all your training and hard work) just because you left booking your plane seat or accommodation too late. Check out our website to see our Two Oceans accommodation special deals. Remember: early birds save big bucks!

Finally, make sure you’re properly kitted out. From shoes, heart-rate monitors to iPod holsters – the right kit can make all the difference.

Advice for the big day

Here’s how to choose the right running shoe and a really cool list of accessories and gadgets for runners ….Try to get in a good night of sleep before race day. This is easier said than done, with pre-race jitters and nerves, but a good dinner (yay carbs!) and a hot bath will help.

Get to the venue/start line early. Make sure you’re clued up on parking, road closures and all those other little niggly housekeeping details. Try to keep things as hassle-free just before you’re due to set off. Get there, warm up, and calm yourself.

It’s a good idea to make sure that you’re well hydrated and well fuelled before you head out. Running on empty is never a good idea! Stick with a low-fibre, low-fat meal or snack one hour before the start. If you can’t stomach anything solid try a protein smoothie instead.

Getting to the finish line

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To prevent GI distress, you need to stay hydrated throughout the race. You’ll need to refuel carbs on the run to keep you energised and a good rule of thumb is to aim for 30-60g of carbs per hour for as long as you’re on the road. Even if you’re not hungry or tired, to prevent a sugar crash start fuelling 20 to 30 minutes into the run and keep refuelling at regular intervals at the refreshment stations.

Official medical advice is that runners should drink about 100 ml of fluid (one sachet) every 15 minutes. You might not need to drink at every station and should be aware that the dangers of over-hydration can be as severe as those of dehydration. Be sensible and modify fluid intake to suit weather conditions on the day and don’t experiment with new drinks on race day.

Lastly, pick your own pace. You might be tempted to try to keep up with others who are fitter and faster than you, but this could cause you to over-exert yourself. Find a pace that you’re comfortable with and stick to it. Slow and steady might not win the race, but it should see you through to the finish line!

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