Pas­sion Still Sets the Pace

SLOW Magazine - - Contents -

From barely be­ing able to run around her block to win­ning the Com­rades Marathon in 2015, Caro­line Wöst­mann draws the same mo­ti­va­tion now as she did in the year of her Com­rades tri­umph. “It should be fun,” says the elite ath­lete and multi-dis­tance run­ner. “Just take it one day at a time. When I first started run­ning I couldn’t even run 800 me­tres with­out hav­ing to walk. But the con­sis­tency of do­ing that ev­ery day and building on that slowly got me to the point where even­tu­ally I was able to do Com­rades.

“Once I could run around the block once, I tried it twice, and then three times. Then I got a lit­tle more ad­ven­tur­ous and when I could run 5 km with­out need­ing a walk break, I started to look at do­ing races,” she adds.

Wöst­mann also thrived on keep­ing her pro­gres­sion simple. “The first race I en­tered was the Dis-chem Half-marathon. I missed the start be­cause I had no clue about get­ting there early be­cause of traf­fic. I started with the fun run and found my way on route, and fin­ished in about three hours. I didn’t even own a proper run­ning watch. So it wasn’t a case of this mas­sive tal­ent com­ing onto the run­ning scene. Run­ning is some­thing I found that was fun and I dis­cov­ered this whole so­cial community.”

Wöst­mann be­lieves too many run­ners at­tempt­ing the Com­rades take it far too se­ri­ously from the be­gin­ning. “A lot of peo­ple take it too se­ri­ously from day one. They want to start fol­low­ing a run­ning pro­gramme, but you can get a lot of info from just speak­ing to the peo­ple at your club,” she says.

“I wasn’t fol­low­ing any sort of pro­gramme for my first Com­rades. I’d go out and Mon­day to Thurs­day, do 10 km each morn­ing, and on the week­end a bit of a longer run with the club or a race.”

The key to any race is keep­ing calm and know­ing your lim­i­ta­tions, two things that Wöst­mann has mas­tered.

The pro­gres­sion from be­ing a new run­ner to a more ex­pe­ri­enced and in­formed ath­lete can see many in­di­vid­u­als lose the balance in their lives to sport. “It needs to be at the level of what is mo­ti­vat­ing you. As I started get­ting bet­ter, hav­ing a run­ning watch to time my­self be­came a mo­ti­vat­ing fac­tor for me. But it shouldn’t be a daunt­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. It should be fun.

“Run­ning is very simple. You don’t need much to run. What you do need is the in­spi­ra­tion and mo­ti­va­tion to get out of bed in the morn­ing when it’s cold and dark out there, and be­fore work or when the fam­ily wakes up and you need to get kids ready for school. Some peo­ple need a set pro­gramme to fol­low for that mo­ti­va­tion. For oth­ers it just takes the en­joy­ment away from it. “Per­son­ally, I pre­ferred just know­ing I’m go­ing to run around my block and chal­lenge my­self to do it twice. Then I found a lit­tle route and I would drive it and mea­sure out 5 km, and then run it just to fin­ish, not in a time. That was keep­ing me go­ing at that point.”

Clearly her fo­cus and chal­lenge has changed as an elite in her sport. But the mo­ti­va­tion re­mains the same. “Part of my en­joy­ment is con­stantly set­ting that boundary a lit­tle higher and see­ing if I can achieve that. I’d also say you need to make your run­ning more of a so­cial ex­pe­ri­ence. It’s fine to have your four times a week where you have to run on your own, but on the week­ends we shouldn’t be train­ing alone. We should be run­ning with other peo­ple and en­joy­ing the races out there, and mak­ing it a whole so­cial in­ter­ac­tion as op­posed to just fit­ness.”

And for those lin­ing up in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg this year about to run their first Com­rades, the great­est piece of ad­vice that Wöst­mann can give is sur­pris­ingly simple. “I can re­mem­ber start­ing my first Com­rades and sit­ting on the ground, not want­ing to waste en­ergy be­cause I was so ner­vous. I just kept think­ing how on earth was I go­ing to run that far?

“A while be­fore I was doubt­ing my­self af­ter a 50 km club train­ing run, think­ing I couldn’t take another step af­ter that, so how was I go­ing to run Com­rades? One of the run­ners told me it’s all rel­a­tive. Your body will fig­ure it out. But you have to keep mov­ing for­ward. Run or walk, but don’t sit down on the side of the road. Keep mov­ing for­ward. Even­tu­ally that fin­ish line will come.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.