Mbulelo Thinta...The Awakening!
My experience in the X-Berg taught me so much and I am truly into the 100km+ stuff. One thing for folks training for this race is to prepare your mind before anything else to dig deeper than you ever have before… The abyss at times may feel like it will never end, so preparation for times of physical and mental strain combined must be something all race participants are ready for.
My physical preparation was a mix mixture of running 10kms/day, 6x a week and then you will find one of the programs which I came up with for my training attached which you can pass on to people. The sets run downwards. Try and get an aerobic step as there are a few raised exercises which need you to elevate your feet or push up from an elevated position with your front being higher than your feet. These are quite tough so guys must always hydrate and stretch after the work out. There are 2 more(tougher work outs) if you want them, but this is a great full body work out and quick, for a relatively fit person it’s 45 minutes max. Your core will be power after 4 weeks if you do this 6x a week. If you do not know some of the exercises YOUTUBE is KING!
One thing that is important is to build up you mileage… Start with 4kms a day until you are comfortable with that, then 6km and then 8 and then 10. The road is tough and injuries can occur. My training started in earnest 4 months before the race(10km/day and my workouts in the morning before work, 6x a week). Your GPS and map knowledge is everything… I was as fit as anyone in the field but was let down by my navigation and could have come closer to Andrew had I planned my race. Ask questions to stage runners you may know. Plan your race and make sure you understand what the trailers are for. If you plan your race well, and navigate correctly,you can carry very little weight between check points which over 180kms is helpful on the legs. Try out the trails in the Berg before the race, and get comfortable with your race food. I made the mistake of listening to too many people in the race and had a bit of a setback on one of the days with too much food. I only take nougat for races as I like the sugar, but that may not be for everyone, DO NOT listen to anybody food wise, you must get to know what your body feeds off, nobody knows your body like you do, trust yourself and your trial runs. Take 3 or 4 trips to run 40-50kms/day in the berg to also adjust to time on your feet in the mountains, great for mental preparation. 10 hours on your feet for 3 days in the freezing berg is not a joke… Trust me I slept up there 1 night with no blanket… Not fun! Character building in hindsight but no fun at the time!
You must be very fit physically as this race is grueling, but the mind once again is everything… Having said that this race changed my life, as after this race I knew that truly nothing is impossible. I have no limits and I proved it to myself in this race… Now it’s time for you to Cross the Berg!!!
Mbulelo Khayalethu Thinta