On The Run

Take 3: Training For Addo Ultra-Trail!

Doesn’t it feel like I’m always training for Addo?! Let me share some background for those who may have forgotten my Addo Story. In July 2019, I attended the Gauteng Trail Clinic in South Africa where I entered a draw to win an entry to the Addo Elephant Trail Run. This event was the first triple ultra-distance trail running event in South Africa, offering a choice of 100 Mile, 76km or 44km runs. The entry was for the 44km distance which takes place on a section of the 100 Mile course with slightly less elevation. The courses take runners through the remote wilderness of the Addo Elephant National Park, places that are difficult to access otherwise.

I didn’t win but a few days later, Rebecca (the lady who won the entry) very generously offered it to me when she realised she wouldn’t be able to participate due to a scheduling conflict. I started training but a couple of months down the line, I realised I wouldn’t be able to make the dates either. I went back to Rebecca but she was very happy for me to keep the entry and defer it to 2021. So, in November 2020, I started training for Addo again. It was a tough training cycle and when the race was postponed because of a spike in the Covid-19 numbers, the organisers offered a deferment to 2022 which I grabbed. My friend and blogger Catrina and her husband chose to run it on the new date in 2021 and both had an epic adventure!

So towards the end of November 2021, I started training for Addo AGAIN. Will it be third time lucky? LOL! I spent most of November trying to re-gain some of the fitness I had lost after my big toenails were removed. After about 3 weeks, I started following the Marathon Handbook 16-week Training Plan which has four runs and one strength training session per week. I’m taking a more relaxed approach to training this time – focusing on consistency but not losing sight of enjoying the journey which has happened to me in previous training cycles.

Addo Training Update: Weeks 1 – 3

Week 1: 29 Nov – 5 Dec: I was happy to get three runs done this week bringing my total for the week to: 23.6 km. Something that stood out for me this week wasn’t so much the quality of my running but more my determination to get the runs done. For example, my 7 km run was on a hot and humid evening after a long day at the office. But I really wanted to mark World AIDS Day with a run. So Ditiro dropped me off at the National AIDS and Health Promotion Agency and I ran back home, winding through Block 3 as part of my #RunEveryStreet Project.

The training plan called for a 13 km run on Sunday but I felt I wasn’t ready for that yet. So I committed to 10 km. Ditiro and the kids were doing a bike ride in the Mokolodi Nature Reserve and while they were in the park, I ran on the A1 Road which has quite a bit of undulation. When I got to 10 km, I decided to stretch myself and finished with 11 km in the books. It wasn’t 13 km but I was really proud of myself. I couldn’t resist a photo op with Alice the Zebra to celebrate!

Week 2: 6 – 12 Dec: I managed another three runs, a total of 19.46 km. My first was 5.4 km on a very cloudy day which made it so much easier to run and was a big boost to my confidence.

My second run was 7 km on Wednesday evening and as it was quite dark I ran with Ditiro. My third was another 7 km run on Friday afternoon and I got a huge hug from Zucchini at the end.

On Saturday morning, I climbed up Kgale Hill which is such good cross-training and I’m committed to doing it at least fortnightly for that added strength I need for Addo. It took us about 2:15 hours which is very slow for us but I was on blog duty so had to take a few photos!

Sunday was a disaster – I was meant to do a 16 km long run, but Ditiro forgot his race number for his MTB race. So I had to drive (in my PJs) to give him his race number. After that, I hopped into bed and completely dismissed any notion of a run! But good news… Ditiro got a FIRST PLACE finish at the Botswana Cycling Association MTB XCO Championships in his Division. So I’d say it was well worth the missed run, right?!

Week 3: 13 – 19 Dec: As I missed my long run, I started the week with a 16 km run before work on Monday! It was tough BUT I got it done and then went on to have quite a successful day at work, although admittedly I did have a couple of slow moments.

I followed this up with an 8 km run on Thursday, another 8 km run on Saturday for the She Runs Cardiff Christmas Relay and an 8 km trail run in Mokolodi on Sunday. So this was my strongest week yet – I managed four runs for a total of 40 km – my highest weekly mileage in a while!

I have so much more work to do but I feel good about the start I’ve had. I’m no where near my best but I’m getting stronger and moving forward, and so far, I’m enjoying the process.

What are you training for? How many races have you signed up for in 2022? Do you sometimes lose enjoyment for running when training?

Iโ€™m joining Kooky Runner and Zenaida on their link up, Tuesday Topics. Iโ€™m also joining the Runnerโ€™s Roundup with Mile By MileCoach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerRuns with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running! Be sure to read their blogs and catch up with other runners from around the world.

28 thoughts on “Take 3: Training For Addo Ultra-Trail!

  1. I have to say I’ve never seen a zebra on one of my runs, lol!!! I’d love it if I did, tho. Nice job on your training! I’ve signed up AGAIN for the Ice Age Trail race. It will take place in May. I considered the 50k, but I’m going to do the half marathon this year. I don’t want to push it…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes! The third time you will definitely be lucky Shathiso! ๐Ÿ™‚ You are doing great! Keep us updated.

    Thanks for the link to the Marathon Handbook, I will have a look at it because I love following training plans. I feel a lot more committed that way. Right now I’m using Garmin’s virtual coach for a 10k (they don’t have marathon plans, unfortunately).

    I have entered the lottery for the Berlin Marathon in September. And I’m also trying to get into Cape Town’s “Two Ocean’s” but it’s going to be difficult to get in.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. as they say Third Time’s a Charm.

    You got this and it will be even more meaningful this year when you complete it. I know you will!!

    No surprise that I’ve already signed up for 13 races in 2022.

    Of course, long runs are NOT fun but I know that I have to do them if I want to run a big race. It helps if I have company but it’s not always possible…those are exceptionally hard.

    My goal is a half at 2:27 or faster and it would help if it were one of my NYC races (those are the hillier ones though).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha!! You are a lady after my own heart Darlene – signing up for all the races! Cannot wait to see you crush 2022 and take even more podium finishes. Long runs are so tough to do alone. I find that having company for even half the long run distance really helps.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your Addo story parallels my Air Force Marathon saga quite a bit. Now that I have officially gotten my last refund (from the original 26.2 registration, which was for the 2020 event), I’m terribly (shamefully, LOL) tempted to go for it again and register for the 2022 marathon. It’s not until mid-September, so things could be a lot better (or worse, #WhompWhomp), so I’m on the fence. Congrats on your great start for your training!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think enjoying the process is awesome! Love your photo opps with Zucchini & Alice.

    Congrats to Ditiro! What a great wife you are sacrificing your run to help him out. I bet third time will be the charm for you!


  6. Well done to Ditiro and I will always remember that Jo Pavey’s book, “This Mum Runs”, starts with her forgetting her club vest when going to a race and having to scramble around to source one! Sounds like you’ve got your training off to a good start and yes, it’s vital to enjoy the training. I knew I wanted to do another marathon when I really enjoyed the training as well as the race for my first one.

    No races booked for me for 2022. I want to do the Reykjavik Marathon in 2023 but for the time being, I need to build my strength and resilience after breaking my hand in my race fall and then having a terrible cold (or was it? We’ll never know… ) for 2 weeks just afterwards.


  7. Great job on your training! Kudos for running 16k before work. I’ve done 6.5 and luckily made it in time. But my coach told me that I would be doing 10 miles too. When is your race?


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