If there is one thing Wandi loves to do more than anything, it is running. However, he knows and understands the balance needed to run long, hard and consistently. Get some great tips from this inspirational runner, who recently ran 9 marathons in 9 days, from London to Paris, and then tackled the Paris Marathon to boot.
Welcome onto the 32Gi Sports Nutrition podcast with myself, Mr Active, David Katz, and one thing we love to do on this podcast, other than enlightening you about everything that is great when it comes to nutrition and specifically sports nutrition, is introduce you to motivational athletes.
Athletes that inspire us to go out there and be more active and eat right around the way we’re exercising. A man who has been with us before a couple of years ago, I’ll put a link up if you want to read through that podcast, but back on the show Wandi, thanks for joining us. The one thing that’s for sure is that you haven’t stopped running.
Wandisile Nongodlwana: Thank you so much David, yes, since we last spoke I’ve had a couple of runs and I’m still at it. I enjoy the sport, it’s been amazing and it has provided me so many opportunities thus far. I’m grateful that I don’t have major injuries so far.
How to try avoid injuries
DK: Wandi, talk to me about that, you talk about not having injuries but a lot of people, of course you run a lot, then you taper, you have recovery in between; but you’re a man who tends to run quite often and you tend to run quite far. What is your technique for avoiding those injuries and how have you managed to keep your body going?
WN: Look, I think one of the major things that I’ve been doing is a lot of cross training, not just running. A lot of times when we run we just use one muscle group and muscle part, but when we involve cross-training and strength training as well, I find that it works for me.
Also basically trying to make sure that you recover, get time to have rest in between and not just run all the time and that is tough as well. Also making sure you take the right nutrition for recovery as well. I think that has really, really helped me in the past couple of years until now, and is something that has worked for me.
Why cross training is NB for runners!
DK: Let me first look at the cross training aspect because for a lot of people, especially for runners, they think, I need to run as much as possible, your running cross training, maybe speed work or intervals. But what you’re saying is you need the additional cross training as well, that isn’t running focused. Would you concentrate on doing those sessions as opposed to sneaking in the extra run?
WN: Exactly, you know what, that is what I’ve found for me, is that because it’s so easy to go and lace up your shoes and go to the road and run for hours and hours. But it does require an extra effort when I have to go to the gym or even at home, to do simple lunges, to do simple squats. Those things that are so ‘hard’ to do, form part of making sure that you’ve got enough to do the long runs. For me the cross training, at first it was such an effort to do but it has become part of my training routine.
Wandi’s tried & tested nutritional tips
DK: You were talking about the importance of nutrition, how do you structure that? What are you doing in your diet, we talk about eating clean and keeping the crap out, is this something that you utilise and do?
WN: You know what, I think I’ve been fortunate enough to be very, very close to my friend, I’ve become very close with Mark Wolff, he’s co-owner of 32Gi. I’ve been using 32Gi Recover for most of my running, the pea protein that came out of that.
In my recent Epic Adventure that I just did now and Two Oceans, I was taking Race Pro. So it is very important to make sure that you take enough and good nutrition for your body. It must be enough carbs, it must be enough protein for recovery, and good fat as well and that’s helped me quite a bit. It is a choice that one has to make and it might not be as easy at the beginning, but the results are quite good.
London to Paris & then the Marathon
DK: You talked about your recent adventure; recently you ran nine marathons in nine days and then from London to Paris and then ran the Paris Marathon - that must have been quite an achievement. What was that all for?
WN: Well, okay, I’m still part of the Asics family; I’m one of the Asics Frontrunners. I’ve been with them for the past three years now and earlier in the year Asics; they wanted ten athletes from ten different countries, with ten different stories and backgrounds to run those ten marathons within ten days.
The goal and the aim of that was to make sure that we finish those ten marathons in ten days as one team. It was basically, we ran from London to Paris covering a total distance of just over 420km, so ten marathons in ten days and it was actually mentally and physically challenging.
It’s been such an amazing adventure, but I think for me it was mostly, I’ve got to the team so that I can be able to motivate and inspire other people to saying, this is possible, this is doable, we can run and support each other regardless of the age, gender, culture and even sporting levels for that matter.
How to fuel & recover for multi-day events
DK: Wandi, you’re a man that runs a lot but even for you, ten marathons in ten days is a lot and the biggest thing there is recovery. How did you find your body handled, both from a physical and a nutritional aspect, handle that recovery from day-to-day?
WN: Look, from the physical part of it, I had to make sure that I used my Rapid Recover, make sure that I rest in between the days and whenever we finish our runs, using the Rapid Recover portable machine. The nutrition; one of the things with our runs, we run from morning until we finish the day. We’re sleeping at different places every night.
You will never know what you’re going to eat, either the breakfast or the evening, but what was important for me before I left, I made sure that I’ve got my 32Gi Recover, I had my 32Gi Race Pro, which really, really assisted me a lot. I think the reason to even come back and do Two Oceans after that.
32Gi Race Pro – a winning combination
DK: That was incredible as well, I know you didn’t dip under four hours but nonetheless, going just over shows what an incredible runner you are Wandi. You talked about recently trying, there’s a new product to the 32Gi range available in South Africa and it’s going to spread to other markets soon called Race Pro. How have you found that as an ultra distance runner? It’s designed for ultra distance athletes in mind.
WN: For me the Race Pro, the London to Paris was a good test for me because one, it was not just a once-off ultra whereby, almost like Two Oceans, you take, let’s say before you start, in the middle of the run and then at the finish. I had to take it successively day after day and see how my body responds to it, number one.
Number two, is it doing what it said it’s supposed to do, which means assisting with my recovery, but also assisting me to go longer and further. Also, absorption rate to my body, I found that it works quite well. I didn’t have to take it like three hours or two hours before, I could take it as I started running and the effect was just immediate.
It’s really, really the brand, it’s that magic, I would say, for ultra distance runners. That’s one thing about the Race Pro, it’s not just 10km, it makes sure that you can go longer and still be able to maintain the intensity of your run.
Wandi’s ultimate ultra racing tips
DK: Wandi before I let you go, that one little bit of advice for people that want to do the ultra distance but they find they keep getting, they hit the stumbling block, maybe they’re lacking motivation, maybe they can’t get their body to push through it. As someone who does training events all the time, you’re doing a lot of running, a lot of distance, what would be your one bit of advice to someone to keep them motivated to push through those barriers?
WN: One, I would say listen to your body, give your body enough time to rest and recover. Number two, make sure that you do the cross training and most importantly, make sure that you fuel your body properly for the race that you’re preparing for. A lot of times what we take into our bodies is not directly related to the sport that we want to do or the distance we want to do.
If, for example, I want to go for a longer distance, let me make sure that I take 32Gi Endure, for example, or in this case, Race Pro, which is my saviour at the moment because it works very well. It’s basically a combination of that and just making sure that even the motivation around the people that can help you, to inspire and motivate you, I think that will work very well.