Posted by: Nicole | 2007/11/30

Training for Argus & Two Oceans


I have signed up to do the Argus and then the Two Oceans and am wanting to know what sort of training to do, as to not (1) burn out and (2) be too fatigued after the Argus to enjoy the Two Oceans. I am relatively fit at the moment as I have been training for Die Burger, but I am more of a social athelete than a competive one, so my training regime can always be stepped up a notch. Also this will be my first Argus and Two Oceans. I have completed only 1 half marathon - The Knysna 1/2 this year, and Die Burger will be my first long cycle. At the moment I am doing 3 - 4 spinning classes a week, one 40 - 50k cycle a week and 1 run a week. In leading up to the Argus/Two Oceans I plan to do 3 runs a week 5k, 8k, 10k to start and then build up, keeping the 5 k my active rest day, and 3 cycle days - 2 spinning and 1 longer road cycle. Would this be a good place to start? Also what should I be doing nutrition wise?

Thanks so much!!

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Our expert says:
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Hi Nicole

Next year's race is going to be a tricky one, because of the relatively close proximity of the two races.

I actually got involved in a discussion on this very subject the other day. You can find the thread of discussion here:

And then my reply to this particular person is below (sent in a private email). You should be able to piece together the vital facts and get some good ideas from this. It seems you're in a similar position to this person - you're coming from a place where you are probably fine for the cycling, and it's the running that will be more difficult to cope with. However, this particular person was quite a serious cyclist and a more experienced runner, so you'll have to be a little careful about overdoing it. One thing I'm not 100% sure of is whether you're planning the Two Oceans or the Two Oceans HALF marathon? if it's the full one you want to do, then you need to look at possibly increasing your running distances. So my advice is aim for the half marathon for now, if you were not planning that already!

My reply to the thread:

The transition between the Argus and the Two Oceans in 2008 will be trickier than most, because the gap between them is so short - only two weeks between 9 March and 22 March. Normally, there are about 4 weeks, sometimes even more, and that makes quite a difference to the preparation, because the running-specific 'quality' training can be done without the distraction of the bike.

In otherwords, you can do your long runs and your cycling training in the months leading up to the Cycle Tour, and then as soon as it is out the way, you shift to the higher intensity Two Oceans training - the time-trials, tempo runs, some speed work etc. Not that you neglect these in February, mind you, but they have a lesser importance.

However, that's a luxury you won't have in 2008, so the question, more than ever, becomes one of goals.

I believe that the transition is easier if you go from running to cycling than the other way around. I think that the biggest challenge faced by a cyclist who tries to run is handling the eccentric loading and impact. This applies to being able to do the event, and not necessarily to performance.

Of course, PERFORMANCE is another story altogether - running to cycling, cycling to running, if you're looking to be at the peak for either, it's a major challenge. So I think you need to choose one that is your big, big focus, and make the other one supplementary.

If it was up to me, I would make the focus running and then make the Cycle Tour part of the running training. Then, the months of January and February are all about building the mileage for Two Oceans, and doing perhaps two or three longish, decent rides a week in preparation for your Cycle Tour.

The thing about cycling is that you'll recover much faster from cycling than running. For that reason, you can probably do one long ride a week - aiming for at least 120 km by the time the race rolls around. The second ride a week is medium length, between 2 and 3 hours, perhaps, and the third ride must be a quality session - hills, sprints, tempo ride, something like that.

You can afford to do this, because you'll recover fast from the cycling, provided you've developed a decent level of fitness. If you do this, and cycle only three times a week, then you can probably run four times a week, and still get a rest day in - you would simply do a very short jog on the same day as your easiest cycle.

So maybe something like:

M Rest
T Medium length cycle + very easy run session
W Run session - possibly your harder run, maybe a club TT at a later stage
Th Cycling session - high intensity, working on hills, tempo riding, strength
F Easy running day
Sa Long run day
Su Long cycle day

Obviously, this is idealised a little bit - you'd need to plan carefully, because you can't just repeat a week like this 16 times between now and March and be in good shape - there will be weeks where you might not do any high intensity running, but focus on building a nice and easy base. Similarly, you might want to do a week of more cycling focus - four or five rides, at the expense of the running.

But generally, my advice is to plan the running first, and then when you do cycle, make the time count - use it for long rides, and quality rides, but don't spend the time doing "junk" miles that just erode your ability to run without injury.

Hope that makes sense - feel free to post it on the forum if you want to get some inputs on it.

Good luck

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Our users say:
Posted by: Nicole | 2007/12/04

Thanks so much! Definitely the 1/2 marathon. Your response was what I was thinking, so great to get confirmation.

Reply to Nicole

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