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Thousands of runners will descend on Cape Town for the annual Sanlam Cape Town Marathon on September 18. Source: IOL

CAPE TOWN – With thousands of individuals preparing to tackle the challenge of the classic 42.2km distance at the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon on September 18, many of them for the first time, numerous experts have extended some valuable advice to make the task a little easier.

“Marathons are always tough, regardless of how many you have run or what goals you have set yourself, but they can be an enjoyable experience if approached correctly,”
says race ambassador Elana Meyer, who holds the fastest time by a South African woman (2:25:15 in Boston in 1994) over the Olympic distance.

“The Cape Town Marathon, as an IAAF Silver Label race, offers a flat, fast course which provides participants with an opportunity to set personal bests on home soil while joining the festivities of one of Africa’s most iconic road races.”

Mauritz Jansen van Rensburg, the head coach at Soul Running, also gave valuable insight into what runners should be doing as part of their final build-up to the event.

He says if you have fallen behind on your training programme, do not try and catch up in the last few weeks. Rather do regular runs to keep the momentum going. He advises against long training runs in the three weeks leading up to the race, allowing enough time for recovery.

Health and nutrition are equally important for optimal performance, as explained by Vital Health Foods nutrition expert Andrea du Plessis, who offers key tips on how to prepare your body to go the distance. She said beetroot to build fatigue resistance: Take 110 ml of beetroot juice 2-3 hours before exercise.

Talking about muscle repair after long distance training, she suggests taking two heaped tablespoons of a whey protein supplement with more than 70% protein, mixed into water or cold milk, within 30 minutes after exercise.

Dr Jann Killops, representing Mediclinic, offers advice on the best approach to the race from a medical perspective.

“To treat and prevent cramps runners should pace themselves on race day, and if they feel cramp, they should stop at one of the Mediclinic points along the route and let one of the physiotherapists assist you. Stretching exercises can also help.”

– African News Agency