Strategies for Success
The Murray & Roberts Running Club boasts not only top athletes , but also top administrators , and it is their balanced but driven approach that ensures success both on the run and working behind the scenes .
Star runner Philani Buthelezi has enjoyed a steady rise to world class marathoning over the last three years , and his recent 2:13 in Cape Town makes him the fastest ever marathoner to run in the black & yellow colours . Also , his 62-minute half marathon at the SA Championships in Gqeberha this year was another indication that he is very much on the right track . But is there a magic workout or formula that takes you to the next level ? We asked Philani ’ s coach , Lindsey Parry , and he provided expert insight into the training life of a marathoner who can maintain a pace of just more than three minutes per kilometre for 42 kays .
“ The first and probably most important aspect is consistency , because to be honest , there really aren ’ t any magic workouts ,” says Lindsey . “ Philani and I have a few sessions that we like , but keep in mind that you have to know what these workouts actually try to achieve . In other words , what are they designed to create , and what is the purpose for a marathoner ? Of course , you could do them differently by adjusting them to your fitness , conditions , environment and speed level .”
“ When we are in a training phase , one of the workouts I do that tell me Philani is ready to race is running 40 minutes continuous laps on a grass track : Four laps at 74 seconds , one lap at 72 seconds . That would be a mile ( 1600m ) at one pace , and then the next 400m slightly faster to complete two kilometres . Or we do 20 to 25 reps of 400m in 64-66 seconds , with 45 seconds recovery . For the long run with a race pace finish , we work on 30 minutes at the end of the run , and for the sub-2:10 that we are working on now , we ’ ll extend that . Lastly , please remember that we don ’ t do these week after week , especially the 40-minute laps session and race pace finish long run . I ask Philani to do those only every three to four weeks .”
Serving the Sport
It ’ s not only on the road and track that our black & yellow athletes are making great strides . On the administrative side , Kesa Molotsane was recently elected as the Vice-Chairperson of the ASA Athletes ’ Commission , and the lanky Free State speedster says she is looking forward to the challenge . “ The national federation chooses a new committee each new term , so that is how I got to be elected . It ’ s interesting , because I believe the duties that I will be performing in this space are in alignment with my career at the Free State University . It ’ s a greater opportunity to learn about creating a safe space for athletes so that they can practice and protect their rights .
“ The job will definitely create a stable relationship between athletes and the federation if we all do it right . It will also encourage and support the two parties not just to work together , but to work towards the same common goals . The integral part of the job is to be a mouthpiece for athletes , and to make sure that ASA serves and acts on behalf of the athletes and their best interests at all times . I really believe that the portfolio needs a bold and independent thinker . There are a lot of critics out there , so critical thinking and analytic skills are required . The job needs someone who knows the sport and its challenges . It definitely needs pure love and passion to serve the athletes . The transition phase is a work in progress , so we can only establish the status of the federation as time goes by .”
In terms of her own running , Kesa says the months of lockdown have really affected her . “ On a personal note , I lost my balance and stability during lockdown . I also lost the opportunity to enjoy what has kept me sane and grounded for many years . I feel like I lost touch with my world because of not being able to
train properly , and therefore operate at the best of my abilities and follow a routine that I ’ ve known for years . The fact that I could not work , train , compete , travel and meet people that make my life exciting , is what challenged me during the lockdown . It affected me a lot in my personal space as well .”
“ However , my short-term goals are to get back to a better shape and stay as healthy as possible , and to stay away from injuries . Long term ? All I can say is that I am grateful for the gift of life , and I will be enjoying each day as it comes from now on . COVID-19 has proven that there are no guarantees anymore , and life has changed drastically . The ‘ new normal ’ is restrictive in setting out long-term goals , but we can still aim to live freely , to dream and to plan ” she concludes .
Images : Action Photo & Reg Caldecott
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