Speakers & Contributors to the OTTER Training Camp in Pretoria (5 May) and Cape Town (22 April)
Sports Nutrition & Supplements
- Train on the nutrition you will be using during your race.
- Train your body to cope with fuelling during strenuous exercise and racing.
- Train with your full pack that you will be racing with; simulate what you will be carrying on race day.
- Experiment during training on which combination of GELs, solid food and drinks work best for you.
- Remember you need to drink constantly to ensure proper hydration, but this needs to be supplemented with the correct amount of carbohydrates and electrolytes, use different combinations in training to see what combo your stomach copes best with.
- Always prepare for worst case scenario; rather carry to much nutrition than run the risk of running out of fuel.
FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH , MOBILITY & INJURY PREVENTION
Amie Stewart – Registered Physiotherapist.
Amie explains the cause of most of the running injuries you see and what mistake most people make. During the Otter trail Training Camp in Pretoria she went through the some of the most common injuries and the cause, prevention and recovery. Here Amie gives key strength exercises for injury prevention.
Mike Watson - Sports Trainer
“Strength training does not necessarily make you run faster, what it does is make you run injury free which allows you to run more and thus get faster and better”
Mike Watson gave a short session on functional strength, mobility and injury prevention in the lead up to an event. Please watch In this short clip the warm up and strength routines that he presented on the CTWN Otter Trail Training Camp. Filmed & edited by Kevin Sawyer.
EXPERIENCES & ADVICE FROM THE ATHLETES
Salomon ambassadors Kane Reilly, Megan Mackenzie & Ryno Griesel gave solid advice on how to prepare for OTTER.
- The race statistics do not paint a full picture of what you should expect on race day: Marathon distance and 2500m odd of climbing. The race is very different to others of a similar distance and you should train accordingly.
- Focus on strength and mobility. The nature of the Otter trail route requires the right strength and conditioning. Getting your body strong and “anti-fragile” will go a long way in preparing you for the constant up, downs and unique challenges of the Otter trail.
- Train wisely. The Otter Trail is most likely the biggest, if not one of the biggest races on your calendar. The reputation and “epic’ness” of the race often leads people to over train, in an attempt to be the best they can be on race-day. I’ve seen far more people bonk on the day because they have done too much (misdirected) training, than those who go in "undercooked".
- Listen to your body and most importantly realise that one’s body can only handle a certain load of stress. If you are not a professional athlete who eats, sleeps and trains. You probably have other stresses affecting you on a daily bases. Whether it be from work, family or even a girlfriend/boyfriend. Be responsive to how you are feeling and adjust your training accordingly!
- Training as hard and as much as you can will not lead to success. Training properly needs to take into account your overall health and recovery.
- On race day, start taking in nutrition early and be consistent throughout. The ever challenging nature of the route means that you need a constant supply of calories.
Having done the Otter 3 times, and 3 times so differently, my first piece of advice is to train to the course. Running fast is not enough for Otter, you need to be a strong climber and more importantly, a good descender too!
The first year I did Otter, I was a wide eyed newbie with no experience or knowledge of how the race would be. The second time, I started too hard and blew towards the last 10km. The 3rd time, I didn't want to repeat the blow up so I started far too cautiously and I couldn't make up enough time towards the end. The point I'm trying to make, is that Otter is a very difficult race to pin down and get right! So, start conservatively and go for it in the second half if you can.
- Train course specific. If you're from Cape Town, plan your long runs around Rooikat in Cecelia Forest, Kloof Corner steps or the 400 steps in Newlands forest.
- Train for technical. Be specific about getting better at boulder hopping, running over rocks and roots and windy forest sections.
- Make sure strength training is part of your program. Running training for Otter is not enough; you need to be really strong too. You need strong glutes, hammies and a good core to get you through the race successfully.
Otter is such an alluring race, with the same amount of climbing as a mountain run, but made up of relatively short ups and downs, it proves difficult to get right. You'll find you might have to come back and do it multiple times if you want to improve!
It’s an incredibly special race, one that I never want to stop doing, and you can count yourself very privileged to be part of the journey, so enjoy it, cherish it and give it all you have!
What makes Otter Different?
- Fast moving over ever-changing technical terrain – relentless – no let up
- Must balance high leg cadence with super technicality
- Pounding on your legs – steep up and down – agility & ability to adapt quickly
- No climb is steep enough to have an excuse to walk… but we all do J
- Full body work-out
- Although short – high effort – (trail factor 2) still need to pace well
How to prepare?
- Train Terrain Specific – stairs, rock hopping - Magaliesberg
- Strength training - Functional strength, Core work
- Agility & Explosiveness – Agility ladders, Plyometric
- Speed – Track work
- Train with full race gear & nutrition for all expected weather levels (in your pack and wearing) Train terrain specific -> with full race gear & nutrition for all expected weather levels (in your pack and wearing)
- Don’t try anything new on race day – including nutrition in goodie bag
- Keep your food and drink accessible – consume on the move (pack must have accessible pouches, bottles, bladder etc.)
- Have a nutrition plan – eat and drink before you hungry and thirsty
OTTER TRAIL RUN COMPULSORY GEAR
Stephen Greef – Salomon Sales Director
Ryno Griesel – Salomon Ambassador
- You do not pack compulsory gear to use while are running, but for the case that you are forced to stop.
- Proper gear = confidence -> extra gear weighs less than the fear of a weather change
- Biggest risk = exposure to cold and wet
- You can handle cold when dry, but wet + wind chill while stationary = trouble
- Waterproof all your kit – for river crossings and rain
- Running footwear:
- The best shoe for Otter should have:
- Good lateral stability
- Good grip when wet & sandy
- Dries/ drains quickly
- Snug fit – no movement of foot in shoe, although enough space in front of toe for descends & technical rock-hopping
- Back Pack/ Hip Belt:
- Must have ability to carry all compulsory and needed equipment
- When in doubt – go larger capacity, or take more than one option, weather alert level 2&3 requires a lot more space.
- Must have pouches/ ability to keep food and drink readily available
- Must be comfortable and move naturally with your body in high paced, technical running
- Must not inhibit movement or breathing
- Waterproof jacket must have hood , a way to check that it is waterproof is to check that the seams are sealed.
- If taking gloves for weather alert level 2 and upwards – consider waterproof
(If hands numb – can’t eat, change clothes etc. = panic)
- Fleece – consider without zip – folds smaller
- Beware Zip-Locks can pop on impact (jumping into Bloukrans) would recommend Dry Bag.
- Thermal base layer must be long sleeve ( NO COTTON)
Detailed compulsory gear link: http://otter.run/the-kit/
Thank you to photographers:
Terence Vrugtman & Kevin Sawyer
Photos of the Training Camp can be found on the OTTER Facebook page.