Monday, September 16, 2013

14 Lessons from 2013 Ndakaini

There is no failure. There is only the next race. Now that Ndakaini 2013 is in the rear-view mirror. A few lessons I learnt. Lest we forget.

1. Train hard for Ndakaini. Make the hilly route your friend. The more hills, the better. The steeper, the better.
2. Endurance. Be comfortable with 23Km plus runs to ensure your endurance is locked. Have a couple of 70K per week runs under your belt in the weeks leading to Ndakaini for strong legs. You will need all the endurance you have in order to make use of the last 4Km. In addition, practice and train to finish strong.
3. Speed. Do speed runs. Especially learn how to run fast downhill. They will help you capitalize on the first 4k, the 11th Km and the last 4K which have some downhills. Train to surge in the middle of your runs.
4. Have a strategy for the race, especially the hills. Both Uphill and downhill.
5. Master the course and have it locked in your mind. This will keep you mentally prepared. Every hill that was presented before me was presented when I expected it so I was ready for it.

Profile of Ndakaini Half Marathon
6. During the race, find a rabbit after 5K then chase it/her down. A rabbit will keep you motivated and focused. The 5K is a good filter for separating jokers from runners and for grouping runners to their abilities. If they are ahead of you, their fitness level is not very far from yours. If it is, they will leave you behind in a short while.
7. Arrive at the start point early. Seek to be at the venue by 7:30am. Being late can make you end up having to walk 4Kms to the start line.
8. Have a strong core. It will help you hold it together when the hills and downhills swarm you and test your legs and arms.
9. Be ready for any weather. Its normally cool or cold but the sun can decide to come out and bake you. Be ready to use water sponges and sip water and pour it on yourself.
10. Come well-hydrated. You can't rely on the organizers to hydrate you perfectly. Then use the hydration offered by the organizers to rehydrate.
11. Come well fueled and ready to refuel - have food you like waiting for you at the end of the race. It is like a rewarding arrangement after the hard work.
12. Share the experience and come with running partners. It adds an adventurous dimension to the experience.
13. Have fun. Slog the downhills, enjoy the barefooted little kids giggling at you or collecting sponges and scrambling for empty water bottles. Enjoy seeing the villagers in khamisis and funny skirts and shoes. Enjoy the fresh air. And the hills.
14. Come ready to give 100% because this opportunity wont be available for the next 12 months. Then give 100%. You want to walk away knowing you gave all you had. You dont want to ask yourself "What if I gave 100%? What would have happened?" To get my meaning, look a this video from 18:50 to 19:36.

Keep rolling.

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