John’s Training Advice

John Collins – ran the OTTER – African Trail Run in a time of 4h:56min:43sec

“Being a father of a 2 & 4 year old & having a wife who also enjoy s trail running curbs my training time substantially. My situation is not unique, in fact, it’s far better than most of the participants who have entered the Otter. Thus this is insight to my training and guidance to people in a similar situation. Unfortunately for all participants, The Otter African Trail Run will require training to complete.

Firstly, differentiate between exercise and training. Exercise is the running I love doing. I can do it every day without fatigue religiously. Training however takes the fun out of exercise. It’s an uncomfortable speed, distance and heart rate.
With having this in mind, my training for the Otter African Trail Run is no more than 4 weeks. Every exercise session I do before hand is preparation for my 4 week training. A sudden increase in distance, hills and intensity will result in injury!

Knowing that we are all different, I’ve left out the actual distance and time I do in training preparation so it is more flexible for anyone taking this advice. My ‘longish’ runs are no more than 21km and my ‘hill’ session is no more than 30min.
My exercise weeks leading up to my 4 week training will consist of 1 * ‘Longish anchor’ run and 1 * hills + 1 to 3 ‘normal’ runs. The weeks are totally flexible.
My training will start with a ‘build up’ week, ‘long distance’ week, ‘hill week’, ‘prep week’ week, race.
Build up week 2* ‘longish runs’ 2* hills 1 easy / Exercise sessions
Long Distance week 3*’longish runs’ 1* hills 1 easy / Exercise session
Hill week 3-4 hills 1* ‘Longish run’
Prep Week 1-2*Hills 1-2 easy/ Exercise sessions

We’ll cover the following questions over the next few weeks. What to expect, how to run the Otter, what to wear, what to eat and compulsory equipment.
John Collins”