For athletes that train like champions…

or everyday champions like you and me

As I write this, Mac Mac Ulta 100 miler is ten weeks away…

March has been a time of serious ramp-up in the training and started and finished with a bang of block weekends of 80km and 100km of running split over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, both of the weekends had around 3000m of elevation over the three days.

This month I ran in Northern Drakensberg, the flats of Sun City, the south of Johannesburg, even in a purple speedo around the Parktown suburb of Johannesburg in support of testicular and prostate cancer at the Hollard Daredevil run, ending the month with our annual charity social run, the Wolfpack Hell Run on the Magalies Mountains near Harties.

The build-up has been good this month, with all of the injuries of 2018 something of the past, hopefully.

In terms of total training time, this month has been semi rough. I’ve spent nearly 70-hour training in March, with 54 of those hours spent running, working on endurance, speed and climbing and descending.

That works out to about 470 odd kilometres with almost 14 000m of elevation gain over the month of March. Definitely not big numbers at all, if you look and compare to some other statistics on Strava®.

During March I started tracking my HRV* or Heart Rate Variability again, as I start crunching the numbers. For those not familiar with these terms, let me explain briefly. HRV or Heart Rate Variability is literally the changes in the time, or variations, between successive, heartbeats over time. Applying the right HRV calculations at the tight times gives you an insight into your Autonomic Nervous System. Think of it as tapping into your body’s control system. As part of the autonomic nervous system, the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems work involuntarily. Sympathetic is responsible for the response commonly referred to as “fight or flight,” while parasympathetic is referred to as “rest and digest.”

Heart Rate Variability is used the world over by Olympic athletes and health professionals interested in:

  • Tweaking training plans to obtain the optimal stimulus;
  • Controlling mental and physical levels of fatigue;
  • Stress management and health improvement.

Heart Rate Variability can be affected by changes in circadian rhythm, hormonal shifts, and acute stressors throughout the day.

 It is recommended taking HRV readings first thing in the morning after waking up, within 30 minutes of waking is best and its referred to as morning readiness readings. The readings are broken up in green, yellow and red zones, both in Sympathetic and Parasympathetic side of the measurement scale. Morning readiness is measured in a scale of 1 to 10 on either Sympathetic and Parasympathetic parts of the scale. So, enough with the science and back to me.

My readings have been generally stable in the green zones (with the odd post big training days in the yellow zones) which means my body isn’t under too much stress, I’m at minimal risk of injuries which translates into me smiling into a tough training April.

And with that, I bid you all adieu, until April.

My words of wisdom. Persistent consistency, gets the job done”


* If you would like to know more about Heart Rate Variability has some great pieces that would explain the science in more detail.