Author: stellaathletics

“Twinkle, twinkle Stella Star, please be visible from afar!”

By Sandy Mullins

Road running is great fun, and especially when we run as a club, at training runs, races or even alone, there is a running law to adhere to for one’s safety. There have been too many incidences of late, and for new runners as well as experienced runners, it’s good to be reminded of running etiquette.

  • Always run into oncoming traffic, so that you and drivers are aware of each other. The only time it is advisable to run with the traffic is if there is a foot path on that side only. We don’t need to play dodgem cars and chicken!
  • You need to be able to hear what is going on around you. Avoid running with earpieces in your ears and music blaring in your brains. If you really have to, turn it down and only wear one ear piece, so that you can be aware of your surroundings. Most races do not allow it.
  • “Light and bright at night”! Especially during winter, you need to be visible! MIB’s (Men in Black) might be cool, but you are not visible! These days you get really great running tops that are reflective, and just plain white T’s is also advisable.
  • If you intend changing direction, cross a road, or come to an intersection make sure you signal clearly where you intend going. Often drivers are looking right to cross into a road you are in, they do not see you coming and many a runner has met a car by accident. Rather run around vehicles than presume that you have been seen.
  • Early birds and late runners need to be very aware of drivers who could be fatigued or under the influence. Some drivers have no respect for runners, and they own the road rather than share it. We too need to realise that we don’t have exclusive rights to the road either and have to either run in the verge or preferably on the pavement.  Rather assume that all drivers are bad and have not seen you. Be safe not sorry!
  • Be courteous and acknowledge drivers who have made an effort to give way to your athletic efforts. Swearing and cursing drivers is a no no! We also have to honour our club – we want to draw people not chase them away!
  • If you are not well or intend to cut short, please let someone know so that runners don’t wait for a no show. We have had an incident where a new runner collapsed and it could have been serious if it were not for a guardian angel who came to her rescue. Run responsibly!
  • Sadly, these days, running alone is not always an option. There have been numerous accounts of runners being accosted, and some not so nice experiences. If you have no alternative, make sure you run in daylight and on roads that are popular to avoid unwanted company. Ideally join us at Stella or run with a mate, and make sure your route is known to the special people in your life.
  • With the challenges of Covid, be responsible and look after yourself and your running mates. Its not compulsory to wear a mask while training, but afterwards – be safe, not sorry!

These few simple points can make your running experience a lot more pleasurable. Let’s arrive alive and in one piece, and come back for more tar therapy because we can!!

Walkers and time trial league 2020 letter

By Mike Mostert

Well a long 2020 has come to an end…   As we all know been an tough one without any further mention

Now the Positives for 2020 for us walkers were as follows …. 

  1. No more Black and broken nails  
  2. Less aching muscles, especially the Gluteus Maximus region
  3. Less perspiration and rashes in all regions of our anatomy (no need for me to elaborate)
  4. No early mornings and hunting for parking close to the start line (you know who you all are)
  5. No pre-race nerves and butterflies
  6. No heat stroke and vest tans 

Now that I have added some ray of sunshine to my report, let me continue.

The Bi-weekly Stella walks once restrictions lifted and protocols were in place, and the Virtual Larson Mixed time trial league which the walkers Stella Stars team took part in, you can look at it from both sides positively and negatively. Not racing in the league and doing it remotely took the pressure of racing others athletes on the dark streets off, and on the other hand religiously partaking in the league remotely during Lockdown was tough on your own and to motivate yourself to get out there before month end and do your time. That did not stop walkers doing a personal best during the November time trial.

Thank you to the loyal walkers for continuing to do your times each month and submitting it to event-timing, Once lockdown restrictions lifted, at the October time trial we were able to do it as a group, followed by celebratory drink upstairs and November league along the promenade was followed by breakfast and the high-light was been joined by our esteemed Chairman and his better half.

The virtual Results as follows,

Stella A came 2nd in the league with 3 points separating The Stella ‘A’ Stars with 1st place club, and 8 points Ahead of 3rd place club,

Stella ’B’ Stars came in 4th position which is an amazing achievement  considering we had average of 5 walkers per month due to work commitments, working late, Injuries /operations -super job.

On a weekly basis, few walkers were even dogs are more than welcome have been doing 10-11km walk meeting at ‘Dave’s Prostitute corner’ at 06h30, and ending at The coffee Tree for well-deserved large double cappuccino, practically 2km before the end you can see Mike pick up the pace as he smells the coffee beans tickling his nose and chases off like a panting lion in hot pursuit of a  petrified impala!

Before you all fall off for nap reading my report …   I would like to make few special mentions and also name drop, sorry ladies:

Firstly a special thanks to Therese Hurley who dutifully took part in each of the time trials along with the walkers during lockdown and represented Stella in the 4km masters category and overall Stella A was placed 10th out of 20 teams, well-done T!

Secondly to Dot O’Leary who took the Stella walkers under her wing until lockdown, unfortunately kept Dot away and therefore had to train on her own in the morning. trust the New Year will see our special lady take over the helm once again.

Thirdly, and finally special thank you to Jocelyn Goodwin who assisted Dot in overseeing the group with dedication and poise and bringing the group together, rain did not keep Jocelyn away as she dutifully kept the diehard’s going, Thank you Jocelyn!

You are all an inspiration to me and I would like to mention you all personally, you all know who you special ladies are, a big thank you on behalf of myself and Stella club community.

I would like to wish you a safe an wonderful Christmas and may 2021 bring you good health and many personal bests and re-acquainted friendships.

Maniac Mike

SANI STAGGER TRAIL 21KM

By Stuart Riddle

About 10 years ago, after supporting some of her work colleagues, my wife Sheldene decided that she would one day enter the Sani Stagger half marathon.

At the time, neither of us were doing any running. In the latter half of the 1980’s I had competed in standard distance triathlons and had run the Elangeni half marathon.

Having not run for many years I started running again in 2017, when Sheldene had started to run. This resulted in us each losing about 20kgs, and the two of us joining Stella in November last year.

2020 was to be The Year

At the beginning of this year it was decided this was to be the year, So at 08.45 on 4th of March 2020, I sat in front of my laptop, nervously awaiting the 9 o’clock opening of entries for the Sani Stagger. I had been threatened with my life, that entries for the Sani Stagger 21km, usually filled within 15 minutes of opening. To make matters worse, being on my ROAG profile I had to do my trail entry first. (I was never going to attempt to run downhill for 21k’s). 09.10: I was entered for the 21 km trail and my wife and son, Keaton, for the Sani Stagger half marathon.

Later that month I very comfortably completed the Deloittes half marathon. Feeling I was on schedule for Sani in November.

Having survived lock down, shin splints and Glencairn trail run (nursing achillies injury), I felt ready for Sani.

Unfortunately, due to Covid restrictions and border closures the Sani Stagger Half Marathon was changed to the Sani Stumble (Sani Pass hotel 10km up to the SA border and back). Sheldene and Keaton opted to hold their entries over to next year. Sheldene was a supporter once again.

21 November 2020 Race Survival day

My hydration pack was feeling very heavy with the compulsory items. Reminiscent of army route march.

  1. space blanket
  2. 1,5l water (I only had 1l)
  3. Charged cell phone
  4. Whistle (I forgot)
  5. Emergency rations – 2x Energy bars must be produced at finish unless used in emergency ???
  6. Silicone cup – I used this at every stream crossed.

Friends had warned me that this is a VERY tough run. I wish they had been more specific. The start was very well organised. 20 idiots at a time entering the start shoot, lining up in 4 rows of 5, leaving on the sound of the cow bell as the start tunnel cleared. Timing was from mat to mat.

(My Garmin time matched my results within a few seconds) but that was much later.

Route started gently along the road with a small muddy stream after 300m, which everyone crossed slowly avoiding getting our shoes wet, which was very useful because around the next bend was the first of 2 knee deep river crossings.

Weather was perfect, cool but dry with very low oxygen levels. After 1 km we started to climb, this was a relatively steep climb which lasted for only 7 kms. The first hour seemed to fly by, unfortunately the kms didn’t.  After 1 hour I had only done 5 kms.

At 6km you reach the highest point of the course 2000m, this was after 1h9mins. The view was breath-taking, as was the whole race. Pun intended. We then descended for the next 4kms, the terrain varying from moderate to very technical, but at least downhill taking us from 2000m to 1600m, until joining the infamous San pass road for a short steep 1.5 kilometres uphill.

On to the single track again for a gentle 5 km climb, gaining 250m elevation. Finally, the 2km descent to the beautiful Gxalingenwa river, which we followed and crossed several times for the next 3kms.

Many people taking the opportunity for a swim in the clear and cold water. I however opted not to swim as my legs felt that the next false step would result in serious cramp. The last km across the lush thick grass of the golf and the very welcome finish.

Here I discovered two things, if I sit down my legs cramp very painfully and that craft beer makes a great recovery drink.

Conclusion

A great weekend with great company, thanks to Sheldene and Maureen for supporting, and Sam, Sharon and Mike for joining the experience.

I will be back next year, and hopefully improve on my time.

What a year 2020!

By Ian Tait

So, with great dreams and hopes, 2020 was going to be a year to be remembered with all the goals I wanted to achieve. Trying to top 2019 was going to be a tough ask, but hey, if your dreams don’t scare you, you’re not living…

2020 will always be known for Covid19 and the year the world nearly shut down. To Runners it will always be remembered as the year Garmin was down for 3 days 😊

So, my first challenge for the year was to do a Triathlon, and going to visit my wife in Qatar seemed like the perfect place to do one, nobody to see me thrash, splash and panic swim my way in the ocean, then get onto a bike “Gasp” runners don’t free wheel… and then run how hard could it be. Well, don’t believe anybody when they say the desert does not get cold, I happened to visit during the coldest winter in 20 years. I should have realised there was an omen on the brew…

Race day arrives, I’m ready to race and my hire bike is nowhere to be found. Panic! 20 minutes before the start it arrives with a flat tyre. More Panic! No problem for another bike hire company, they see this and take the wheel of my hire bike and replace it with one of theirs, such awesome customer service. I now go off to the pens and am stressing only for this awesome lady to come to me and says, “Ahh Stella, are you from Durban?” I was wearing my new Stella Club T-Shirt. Relief knows no bounds, she said she’s from Toti but lives in Doha now and will sort my stuff out and took my bike my kit bag and chased me off to start the swim. (2 minutes before the start)

In brief, I get to the doc, and jump into the water, and just about died, 17c. I should have worn the wetsuit. Anyways 850m later, on the 750m swim I get the end and drag my sorry frozen self out of the water. The life savers seemed relieved as I thought they were going to jump in after me a few times… My angel from Toti is waiting for me, to direct me to my bike. I dry off get changed and remembered to put the helmet on, NB don’t forget the helmet, or your race is done. With Meganne cheering on from the side line it was on your bike for 20km.

So, I go as fast as I can, when I say Doha is flat, there is literally no hills, unless it is manmade. I’m in top gear and passing cyclists even some of those on TT Bikes and thinking this is easy. The bike section is done in no time and I think imagine if I could run this fast… I rack the bike, take off the helmet and I hit the road, 5km in the bag! Well, let me tell you a little story, that none of the Triathletes I spoke to for advice told me about. You need to rest your legs before the end of the bike, or they turn to jelly. For the first 3km, someone else’s legs were running for me, don’t know who, but thank you anyway. I was so fast, in those other persons legs, Meganne did not even see me finish.

After the adventure in Qatar, it was back home, to run Loskop and Tour D’ Durban a week later, all carefully coordinated by Craig George, ensuring I’m resting, training following the coach’s orders. Then we heard those dreaded words, “My Fellow South Africans”

Level 5 and the start of garden running, well thank the Lord for Trail Running as this is exactly what it was, round and around and around you would go. 5km is 45 minutes, like what on earth. Anyway this continues, Loskop is cancelled, then Oceans and we stay locked up. So, Debbie Wessels gets a bright idea and challenges me to run 42,2km around my house for her Cape Town Spending money, to donate to a charity of my choice. Mmmm, Ok, let raise some funds for those that are really struggling through these extraordinary times. The big day arrives and I start out and I run, and run, change direction and run, my dog Captain starts running with me but decides after about 5 minutes, this is crazy. I messaged Debbie about three hours into the run just on 20km to say this is madness and she calmly replies, you got this! Seven hours and fifty odd minutes later 479 laps around the house I finish with a swan dive into the pool. Note for future races in 2025, a pool to finish in is a great idea. Total raised for charity R10k!

Eventually Level 4 and Level 3 came to be, and we could venture out the yards and into the streets. Well who know there were so many dog walkers and runners in Glenwood. It was fantastic to see people and the some of those new faces are still at it.

Comrades was still up in the air and then boom cancelled and many a roadie’s heart was broken. That Comrades Dream, gone! Fear not along came Virtual Races and Comrades had a great idea, run, just not the race and run it from anywhere, just stay safe. I must admit, that although it will never compete with the vibe of Comrades, the trot up Botha’s Hill to The Wall and back with all the other runners on the road, was special. 21.1km Comrades, might be a great idea for the future.

I decided it was time to run an international event and what a better race than that of The Hawaii Marathon. So training started in earnest, with the help of the Stella Morning Group, known as the “Early Birds” keeping Stella out of any liabilities with the you know who. Nobody else was going to run, so I mapped out a route, Surf Riders to Umhlanga and back would be along the coast and give a semi feel of the tropical island of Hawaii. Then Alistair Green offered to come and run with Petra as our support on 27km. This was going to be a race with no water tables, time starts and only stops at the end. The day started off overcast and things were looking up, first 10km in an hour, and we work our way to The Pier, a quick photo shot as one does and we turn for home.

By this time Durban decides to show off and the sun comes out blazing. Alistair kept say, on the way back, Petra will be at Caltex in Forest Drive with refreshments, and we could not wait to get there fast enough. A well-deserved 10-minute break change of shirt, food and cold drinks, and it was 15km to go, home stretch. As we all know too well that promenade can be brutal, the last 8km was no hell, but know there was a huge Chocolate Milkshake at the end was the reward. Hawaii Completed 4:42 and change, two very happy Stella runners.

Running it a great fun and running with friends makes it so much more fun. Always find a friend that will be willing to deal with your whinging, has a sense of humour and will encourage you to keeping going.

 Then a friend of mine in Pretoria messaged me to say why don’t we do a trail run in the mountains, seeing that these races are open. We looked and found one in December enough time to trail, only 40km and 1600m of elevation. Pat Freeman told me about Norther Drakensberg Trail last year, that she ran and loved it. #DNT2020 it was going to be.

On Saturday the 5th of December my good friend Jenny Cairns from Irene Running Club started the daunting task of #DNT2020. Knowing that this was an Andrew Booth race, KZN Trail Running, it would be spectacular but tough. Stella was well represented with Shantelle and Brett Walters, Pat Freeman and Margie all taking on the 20km event as well.

The day started off cold, wet and misty, a blessing is disguise as we never really saw what lay ahead of us. Sometimes the mist was so thick, we had to search for the markers to proceed forward. Jenny and I started off nicely, evenly paced, and we banked on 8kph, we should have more than enough in the bag for the 11H30 (6 Hour Cut Off on 25km) Boy were we wrong! We climbed, climbed some more and then climbed again, trying not to walk off the ridge to certain pain and death! Roadies, I’m being dramatic, trail running is the best running to improve your road running, I promise, take it from a runner that could barely break 7 minute a kilometre two years back.

We got to the 25km mark with 30 minutes to spare, time for a break, food at the aid station before taking on Vultures Pass. (460m long, 179m high and 24 minutes of climbing at 38% gradient)

By this time, it was bucketing down with rain but eventually we get to the top and start working our way back to the start. The mist slowly started to lift and the sun game out to reveal the Sterkfontein Dam in all its glory on our left and The Royal Natal Park on our right. The beauty can’t be described in words, not by me anyway.

We found a straggler from Durban Old Boys, and he tagged along for the last 14km that felt like an eternity, we were convinced that we would be stone last, but it was not about where you finished, but finishing the challenge that counts. When the results came out, we were only 5th from last, to a good result none the less 😊 Race Result: 40,5km in a time of 09:36:12 and 1970m of Elevation!

As the year draws to an end, and the uncertainty that the future holds with regards to races next year, I would like to thank all my running friends and supporters for being there for me this year. To all my fellow Stella friends and running friends from elsewhere, my advice is pick something that scares you, set the goal, enter, train and always wear sun screen!

Here’s to 2021.

Road Captain Rants

To say we will never forget 2020 is an understatement! Who would have thought that when the clock struck 00:00 2020, that we would have experienced such a dramatic, upside down passage of time. I do not think anyone can say they were unaffected by “Rona”! To see the whole world literally come to a standstill was eerie and totally surreal.

There were many negative aspects, illness, loss of life, loss of income, morale, and depression to name the obvious. But I think there were a few positives to be taken from it. We all had to dig deep and re-evaluate what our priorities were. To really see that things are not as important as relationships and where our time is spent is important. As a community we had to reach out and help where possible, which is humbling.

Running was altered to the backyard and athletes had to learn to be creative with the minimal space they had. I am not a short distance runner, but suddenly clocking up 5k’s a day was like running a marathon, just to stay sane! The day we were allowed “out of camp” to run between 06.00 and 09.00 was such a social occasion.  To see our running mates again was a stop every few hundred metres just to catch up, recognising everyone under the disguise of a buff/mask and realising how important friendships are. 

Some of the accomplishments people achieved in the virtual world was amazing. Treadmills were abused, and paths created from repetitive laps to achieve half marathons, marathons, Two Oceans and Comrades distances was mind boggling.

Many more folk donned on running kit that perhaps would never have started exercising but because it was now limited, it ignited a spark to keep fit and healthy. Virtual runs allowed us to compete in races that we would never be able to participate in.

We were finally able to open the club in the latter part of the year, and to see the response of dedicated athletes was amazing. Our first time trial and braai was really special. We have seen many folk coming back to the club. Not to be put off by the faster runners, a new group sprung up with the “easy paced” run/walk group starting  15 minutes earlier, following the same planned route in order to not be left behind, has been extremely successful. And to see the progress of many athlete is encouraging.

So a year that stopped in March and started again in October is almost up.

From Walker to Runner: A Tribute to Dave Beatie

By: Ronnie Groenewald

2 years ago I phoned Stella and asked if I could join in some sessions as I tried running in the park but ended up with more injuries than gains. Pat Freeman suggested that I start with the walkers. I met Dave there as he had been walking instead of running due to an injury. I told him one day I would really would like to run.

After some basic training sessions Dave suggested I do a club time trial. I came stone dead last with a time close to 50 minutes in pouring rain but he told me these words which probably changed my life: “We going to make an athlete out of You”. Why these words meant so much to me at the time was because I’m 1,89 meters tall and at that time weighed over 125 kg. I was built more like a tractor than a athlete.

This started my running and weight loss journey from 125 kg+ all the way down to 105 kg doing Durban Runner 21 km. All these milestone but I still didn’t complete my biggest: I wanted to run. All the races we did we always walk/run and Dave never cared once about his own time but rather encouraged and helped and almost dragging me over the finish line when I wanted to give up, he never gave up and always pushed me. We did a Saturday Stella Gillies once and we walked from the club all the way to the top at Maris Stella and told me: “one day You will run up this hill” I thought he was full of nonsense as I was out of breath just walking it.

When we were in Level 5 Lockdown I was fortunate to have a treadmill and didn’t have to run around my garden. I decided I am going to a do a couch to 5 km program so that I can run for  5 km. I finally accomplished this goal in June 2020 on the road. It was a small personal accomplishment but I was over the moon. I decided to step it up and start another 17 week beginners program.

Today, 15 August 2020 I went out to do a 13 km (as per my program). I ran past Musgrave Centre and usually I need to start walking there but I felt good so just kept on plodding along (remember tractor size not Superbike). Before I knew it I was right next to entrance of Maris Stella and realised I just conquered a hill Dave told me one day I will be able to run. I realised all I achieved in these last 2 years thanks to his encouraging words and support and guidance. I ended up running through hilly Morningside all the way home, 13.5 km without a walk conquering every hill and every step.

Thank you Dave Beattiie for being there for the beginner runners. Today I honestly felt like I achieved that athlete status you spoke about 2 years ago.

Making it happen!

The lockdown due to the epidemic has caused worldwide havoc triggering everything to come to a grinding halt. Who would have thought a few month’s ago that there would be silence – no working, no socialising, and no sport. Almost like a sci-fi movie, which is quite scary. For sports lovers it was crazy not to watch any live coverage or participate in sport, as event after event was cancelled. Comrades was no exception, and it was heart breaking especially for novices who would have experienced the “Ultimate Human Race” for the first time on the 14th June. Having the virtual Comrades was a good initiative allowing thousands to experience the sensation of being a part of the brand. The shorter options were popular, especially having limited training. But there were those that went the full hog, even though it will not be officially recognised, but “in for a penny, in for a pound”. One such Stella athlete who would have lined up as a novice, did the 90k journey and deserves kudos for a brilliant effort.

Greg Conti, along with his mate Richard Jenkin ran from Glenwood through Berea, Morningside down to the beachfront, and along the promenade and back again, four times over! The journey was completed in under eleven hours to family and friends cheering them home. To do this on your own in a sense, with not experiencing the vibe of spectators lining the route throughout, no Big Five but the same training route four times is quite impressive.

Hats off Greg, this is an amazing achievement and gutsy, you “Dared to Dream” and you did it! Next year you will fly down to Durban and into the stadium with thousands welcoming you home! We salute you.

Lockdown Diaries – Debbie Wessels

Debbie

 

If I had been told three months ago that I would be running around my garden for fun, I would have laughed… but here we are! To say that the lockdown has taught me new things about running and digging deep is an understatement.

Where do I start? Well, I guess that I realise that nothing will stop me from running. I know you Stella Stars feel the same! But running in small confined spaces takes some getting used to (now I know how hamsters feel) and has unique challenges, but also privileges.

If you have the privilege of a garden to do your hamster thing in, you will know the challenges that can come with it: slower times, which is always a disturbing fact for us runners – especially when we (okay, I mean me) were slow to start off with; sore ankles and knees from turning so often; and having your spouse keep coming out to see if you’re okay. Old boy, be grateful I didn’t trade your car in for a treadmill!

Some of our Stella Stars have completely lost it and have run marathons and ultra-marathons in their gardens (I look forward to reading your stories). I really admire you guys and girls, but I think that’s a special kind of crazy… oops, I mean commitment! I’m sure you’re still dizzy from going around and around and around!

However, there are definitely benefits of garden running. Firstly, it’s close to the loo! YAY! This is a biggie for us girls! Running around my garden also made me realise that the run is about more than just the exercise and the speed and keeping the kilos under lockdown. It’s about the experience and literally stopping to smell the roses. I had time to appreciate all the butterflies that were visiting my garden, the dragon flies that suddenly appeared, and a slug which I’m glad to say was slower than me!!! When last did you see a friendly slug in your garden? I say friendly because he didn’t seem to mind me chatting to him every time I passed him. I’m sure he was getting irritated but he didn’t seem to be going anywhere in a hurry either! Speaking of cute animal companions, my little old sausage dogs have been my biggest support team during my garden runs. They’re always ready with a bark to spur me on!

Lastly, running around my garden has made me realise how much I appreciate and enjoy running with all of you Stella Stars, and I really look forward to being able to do that again in the hopefully not too distant future.

In the meantime, I pray that our Lord will keep you and your families safe as we go through these challenging times together!

P.S. My new running theme song is Queen’s “I’m Going Slightly Mad” and there you have it!

Chairman’s Chirp

By Dave Beattie

Hello fellow Stars

It’s hard to believe that we are already in mid-March, dusting ourselves down after having successfully hosted the Stella AC leg of the Time Trial League in February and our Marshalls World of Sport Stella Royal in early March. Both events were massively successful and certainly reinforced the club’s position as one of the premier athletic clubs in KZN. Neither of these events would have been possible without the fantastic team that we have. To Kevin and his core team, thank you for your dedication to the club. To anyone who helped in any way, thank you for your valuable time and effort. The Marshalls World of Sport Stella Royal would also not have been possible without our core sponsor Marshalls World of Sport and the involvement of Discovery Vitality. Thank you to them and all our sponsors for supporting us in very difficult economic times. We are not letting grass grow under our feet and are already planning to make the 2021 race even better.

We are entering a very important training period for all those athletes who are running Comrades this year. The training will be ramped up and there will be a wide variety of long runs available to our members. Sandy will keep you all informed of all the weekly training options available. The Weekend Warriors will not be neglected during this time though. We will be putting on shorter routes for the runners not doing Comrades, but training for shorter races.

Last month at the Hillcrest 42 / 21 kilometre race there was an outcry on social media about the littering during the race.  As runners, we are blessed to run races in the most beautiful parts of our country, and it is therefore totally unacceptable that our environment is abused in that way. KZNA has vowed to clamp down on littering by disqualifying the perpetrators. As Stella AC we need to take the lead in this regard and ensure that we are not a contributor to the littering problem. I would be very upset if I were to be notified of any Stella athlete who had been seen littering during a race. I believe that we all have a responsibility to call out fellow Stella athletes who litter. This is the only way that we are going to stop this unacceptable practice. The committee will not hesitate to take the appropriate action against any athlete who brings our club into disrepute by being caught littering. Please feel free to report any such sightings to anyone on the committee and we will take the appropriate action.

We are all aware of the impact that social media has on the speed at which information travels. Within minutes thousands of people could see a post. Whilst this has its advantages it is the disadvantages that I would like to focus on. Posting something without forethought or in anger can have serious consequences. Bringing this concept back to club level I urge all members to refrain from posting opinions or comments that could bring the club into disrepute. If any member has a grievance or concern about any club or running matter, they are requested to approach a committee member about the issue.  The matter will be investigated, and prompt feedback given. As with the littering situation, any inappropriate social media posts could result in the member being brought before the committee to explain their actions.  As a committee, we would like to avoid any such unpleasantness.

For those members who do not come to the club on a regular basis, I am excited to announce the opening of our new Den. A lot of time and effort was put in by all concerned to get the project completed and Den opened before our race. The project is not finished yet and small improvements will continue to be made over the coming months. Members are welcome to send the committee any ideas that they feel would further add to the look or functionality of the Den. We will shortly be launching a competition in which members will be asked to come up with a name for our Den.

To finish on a positive note, it is fantastic to see all the new members who are running at our club nights. New faces are vital for keeping a club on an upward trajectory. Welcome to all those new members and we look forward to seeing you on the road.

Happy running.

How to avoid training burnout when training for a race

By Dr. Grant Matkovich 

The start of every new year gives a chance at a new beginning and even a ‘restart’. As runners the new year allows us to set new running goals, whether its new races, longer distances, going for PB’s or refocusing after an injury.

An important part of being able to reach your goal is to take the time out now to plan your training. Divide the months and weeks leading up to your event into phases. With each phase focusing on different parts of your conditioning to get you to race day in peak condition. This will help prevent overtraining. The symptoms of overtraining may include tired and heavy legs, slower running times or even injuries start creeping in.

Here is a basic guideline to help focus your training, so that you can avoid overtraining with the unwanted fatigue and injuries.

Phase one: Preparation Phase

This phase is aimed at easing back into training for 4-12 weeks, this should include easy aerobic conditioning and even a bit of cross training.

Goal of the phase:

To slowly improve your general fitness and being able to run at your comfortable pace.

What can be included:

  1. Easy club runs should be the focus during this period.
  2. Cross training may include cycling or swimming

Phase two: Base Training Phase

This phase is aimed at building a solid fitness base over 8 to 12 weeks. The focus is on slowly increasing your training intensity to develop a decent fitness level and to avoid injuries.

Goal of the phase:

To increase the endurance capacity of your fitness. Meaning that by the end of this phase you should be able to run longer distances at your comfortable pace.

What can be included:

  1. Increase the duration of your runs from your preparation phase, these should still be at a comfortable pace (60 -75% effort)
  2. Consider adding in one additional run per week into your schedule
  3. Occasional hill running, however this should be done at a lower effort to avoid injuries
  4. If you have any technique issues (running up/down hill; stride etc) this is the time to address them

Phase three: Building Phase

For the next 4-8 weeks the focus is on building on your base by increasing intensity and race specific training

Goal of the phase:

To increase your fitness and conditioning to be able to run at your desired race pace, but without the risk of constantly running at your highest levels.

At the peak of this phase you should be at your physiological peak. This is when you will be at maximum intensity of training. Shorter distance runners may be able to hold this peak for longer, however longer distance runners will not be able to. The peak of maximum intensity training should last 2 weeks.

What can be included:

  1. Add some tempo runs, runs which are at a slightly faster pace than your comfortable pace
  2. Fartleks and longer interval runs
  3. Runs on terrain like what you will be racing on
  4. Run that is close to or over your race distance, but at a lower intensity (slower than your race pace)

Phase four: Taper

The aim of the next 1-2 weeks is to allow the body to recover after the intense training whilst still maintaining fitness levels.

Goal of the phase:

To allow the body to recover after training so that you are in optimal condition on race day

What can be included:

Rest! This is a difficult phase as you feel strong and want to run, however you need to fight urges of wanting to train or doubts of feeling undertrained, trust your plan!

Shorter runs at a VERY comfortable pace are important.

Phase Five: Race

Phase Six: Recover

Remember to allow sufficient time to recover after your race. Runners are often back on the road way to soon after a race. Take time off and recover properly.

 

Other tips to avoid burnout when training:

1. Choose one race and make that race your priority

Choose ONE race as your goal and design your training schedule to that race. It is difficult to race many races without facing burnout and fatigue. When training for long distance and Ultra races it is hard to maintain your physiological peak for long periods of time due to the strain training places on your body. Choose one race that is your goal race, and make sure your training ‘peaks’ for that race.

 

2. Know your paces:

This might sound a bit obvious but is so often over-looked by runners. Know your comfortable pace, your tempo pace (Slightly faster) and your race pace (faster).

Likewise, realistically the pace of your club run, 10km, 21km and 42km pace can’t all be the same. Get to know what your comfortable pace is for each distance. When training allocate paces to your runs, irrespective of the distance you are running.

Race paces should be done very infrequently (Time trials etc). Tempo paces can be done more frequently. Allocate comfortable pace runs often, to allow your legs to recover especially a run after a hard run or hill session.

If you run every run at your fastest pace you will pick up injuries, varying your pace (to slower paces) allows your body to recover whilst still running!

 

3. Training runs are training runs:

Take training runs easy. Stop for water, chat, regroup. Its about time on your legs. Often runners use road races as training runs, which they plan to run slower. This is difficult as it is easy to get caught up in the atmosphere of the race. The other runners next to you pull you along often faster than you intended. The water table stop you from stopping for water. The crowd support on the side of the road can make you run a bit faster.

This often causes runners to run their ‘race’ on a ‘training’ run, because the legs have not recovered from the training run which was faster than planned.

 

4. Listen to your body

During training the body will get tired and feel heavy. There will be days when you will not want to get out of bed. That is normal during the Base training and Building phase of training. With the correct Taper phase, the body will recover. However, if your body is in pain and you have injuries or persistent niggles that are getting worse, you need to listen to your body. That is often a sign of over-training and fatigue. Often backing off on the intensity, modifying your training or a couple of rest days will do the trick in getting you back on track. Not listening to your body, however, might cause you to stop completely!