Running is a team sport

When I'm out on the trails or when I look through my running photos it's sometimes easy to think that I'm out there on my own trying to be my best and trying to be a great runner. However, that couldn't be further from the truth. Firstly, Vanessa is always there for me to support me in my training, my racing and in the choices we've made together. Secondly, my coach Ian guides me on my approach and mindset for every run and race I do. Thirdly, I have a great team of sponsors who believe in me and provide me with the tools I need to chase my dreams and goals.

Escaping through the Aubonne city wall onto the spring trails.

At the moment, I'm working with four fantastic sponsors. There are links to their websites on the right of this page and also a dedicated blog page explaining my relationship with each of them. Together, this "team" provides me with nutrition (32Gi; nutrition post), clothing (UVU Racing; jacket review), socks and compression gear (Zero Point), and backpacks (Paagoworks).

Along with receiving products and support from my sponsors I'm fortunate that I can provide feedback and suggestions that will bring even better products to the market in the future. I'm constantly learning and thinking about how best to meet the demands of ultra-marathon races and training and having the opportunity to provide that input for product development is something I love!

I wish I looked this fast in every running photo!

Naturally, I recommend all of the products I use. Nonetheless, if you have any questions or need to find something specific that works for you, I'm always happy to talk about gear and to discuss the finer details. Please feel free to ask in the comments.

Month in review: January

I've been a little slow in updating my blog with a weekly review so here's an overview of January as a whole. It's like a super-duper bonus four-weeks-in-one review!

Long runs
I completed a series of long runs including a couple of back-to-back sessions:

  • 03/1: 46km; 242m vertical (a flat run in Johannesburg)
  • 12/1: 53km; 1,929m vertical (Mont Tendre)
  • 13/1: 29km; 3,076m vertical (3 x 1,000m vertical)
  • 19/1: 31km; 1,225m vertical
  • 20/1: 29km; 908m vertical

By far the highlight was finding my way up Mont Tendre which is the highest peak in the canton of Vaud.

Quality training sessions
Each week I completed two quality sessions:

Hill intervals: 2 x [200m D+, 2min recovery, 200m D-, 2min recovery]

I've been improving at this session and now I feel much more comfortable running the two repeats consistently and at a measured effort. I started doing this session way too hard and often struggled with the second repeat. I'd like to increase the number of repeats, but I wasn't stronger enough to do this in January.

Intervals: 6-8 x [5min hard, 2 min recovery]

This session is one that I find useful and a cornerstone of my weekly training. I managed to improve from 6 to 8 repeats and now I run each repeat consistently and strongly. A fun training session and hard work over rolling terrain.

I have been working on my TRX routine twice a week. I like the strength work and I believe that it helps in my long runs and with downhill running. I started with two sets of each exercise in my routine and by the end of the month I had increased this to 4 sets which was solid progress.

I also have my bicycle and started to include active recovery days cycling (I bought it back home after it had been in my brother's garage for a few years!). Unfortunately all the snow means that I've only done one ride outside and all the rest have been inside on the trainer. Nonetheless I like the no-impact training and diversity this brings to my training.

32Gi (Endure, Foodbar, Gels and Recover), UVU clothing, Zero Point Compression (intense socks and ankle socks), Paagoworks Rush 7 pack, Asics Gt-2000 shoes, Nike Pegasus 30+ shoes, Adidas Riot 6 shoes, Garmin Fenix2, Black Diamond Ultra Z-pole.

Garmin statistics
133bpm (average heart rate)

A great month with lots of training and lots of consistency throughout that training. I'm pleased with my progression and looking forward to racing in a month's time.

Starting the year in the sunshine in South Africa.

An icy and snowy return to my local trails.

Mont Tendre: the highest point in Vaud.

A little tired and cold during 1,000m hill repeats in the Alps.

The amount of snow we had in the last week of January was spectacular!

Home sweet home: Aubonne.