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Trail to AfricanX: Equipment choice & the importance of recovery

Trail Hub in conjunction with Stillwater Sports will be lacing up their running shoes and placing a team on the start line for South Africa’s premier multiday trail running event, the Cell C AfricanX Trailrun presented by ASICS.

Attached Image: Cell C African X.jpgPhoto Credit: Tobias Ginsberg


Building up to the event on 17 March 2017 Trail Hub will have a monthly feature on the team, the training, the kit and life while training for the 2017 AfricanX. ?This third instalment touches on the equipment you may need for the event and how you should treat your body to recover effectively.


What is AfricanX?

?Born in 2009, the event has become a must-do event for trail enthusiasts. From a modest 120 teams in the inaugural event, the AfricanX Trailrun has grown rapidly and is now capped at 400 teams of two. Based now at the historic Houw Hoek Inn after four years in Kleinmond, the AfricanX Trailrun takes runners on a challenging three-day adventure through some of the most immaculate terrain in the country. The team format adds to the experience, with runners having to carefully approach each day with a sound strategy. It’s not just for hard-core trail bunnies, though, road runners will enjoy some sections of the route that are fast and flat, but remember – a rugged climb is never far off.



Date: 17 – 19 March 2017 ?
Venue: Houw Hoek Inn, Grabouw ?
Distances: ?
Stage 1: 36km ?
Stage 2: 34km ?
Stage 3: 22km ?
Pre-Entries Open: 13 March 2016 ?
Pre-Entries Close: 26 February 2017


Rest and Recovery

?When I mention to my coaching clients that I need to train them to recover I often get quizzical looks and generally the same question - How do you train me to recover? The answer is as simple as rest and eat.


?A loose definition of fitness can be how quickly your body recovers after long periods of exertion, so by virtue of your training you should be half way there, the other important aspect of training is how you treat your body and what you put into your body during training and racing.
Put back in what you take out, your body is best primed to absorb and process nutrients within a 20 to 30 minute period after a run so while many of us cannot even fathom food during this time it is vitally important to take in a recovery drink and food solids to boost recovery.


?Once you’ve gotten that recovery meal and drink out of the way it’s time to clean up and rest up. Sleeping is the body’s natural recovery state (you do it every day to recover) so taking a well-deserved nap will help your body regenerate quicker and more effectively. If you can’t sleep then stay off your feet for a while, read a book or watch television with your legs up.


Compression garments are also highly effective in aiding recovery as they stimulate blood flow through fatigued muscles, in my opinion compression tights should be part of everyone’s recovery kit.??



?Running brands plough millions of dollars into research and development of their products for our benefit, but finding the right fit is going to be a process of trial and error for most of us. For me I have always been a fan of the Salomon brand and their shoes, in particular, have worked well for me; so Salomon SLAB Wings are my first choice on just about any trail.



Attached Image: IMG_1665.JPG

?But your kit choice needs to extend further than just your shoes; you need to consider all of the following: ?Shoes, socks, calf guards, gators, shorts, shirt, hydration pack, running jacket, eyewear, cap.


?Once you have all of the above sorted out you need to take note of the compulsory kit that you will be required to carry with you on race day; at AfricanX the race organisers have random daily checks for the following items, space blanket per person, wind breaker per person, a whistle per team, a cell phone per team and a minimum of 1 litre of water.


All race organisers hope that you will never have to use this equipment, but know that anything can happen out there and these small items can be incredibly important to your safety.


?Oh and don’t forget lubrication, with all this kit bouncing around on you there is bound to be some friction so a generous application of Vaseline to these areas where rub occurs will prevent discomfort during the race.


? “Trail to AfricanX” will continue in January when we delve into Nutrition, Supplements, eating and eating while running. ?For a comprehensive training plan that includes cross training and strength work you can get hold of me on robert @ ftls.co.za.