Updated 18 February 2015

My 8 week journey to the 21km Two Oceans Marathon – Week '0'

Join me in my two-month journey with the Sports Science Institute as they get me inspired and running fit for the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon.

When, where I work as a content producer, was contacted by the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) to join them as media partner for the 2015 Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon, my eyes lit up. I have always wanted to run the Old Mutual Two Oceans, and maybe there was a chance I could get involved via this joint venture.

I shouldn't have worried. Soon after the partnership was sealed, SSISA, who had caught wind of my secret wish, offered to put me through their half marathon (21.1 km) OptiFit programme – not only to give me the chance to run in the "World's Most Beautiful Race", but also to show other starter-runners how they can optimise their bodies (and minds) with the right training, shoes, mindset and diet.

Aptly called #OMTOMINSPIRATION (the official hashtag for this campaign), it is my inspiration to face this enormous challenge – as one of the lucky ones with SSISA holding my hand all the way. 

Starting today, I am going to share my ups, downs, lessons and inspiration with you every week as I prepare for the run.

Image: Yentl doing a fitness test-run at the SSISA Fitness centre in Newlands

yentl running

How it all started – for me

Although I work at Health24, I’m not exactly the world’s healthiest or fittest person. I’m definitely carrying a few extra kilos and my eating habits aren’t what they should be. I am also not a "fitness freak" and doubt if I will ever be.

So, when the SSISA offered me a place in this year’s Old Mutual Two Oceans half marathon, I was nervous. Excited, yes, but mainly nervous. I hadn’t even run half that distance before, and 8 weeks didn’t seem nearly long enough to turn myself from a 20-something party girl into an actual runner . . .

. . . But I said yes anyway.

SSISA also generously offered three Facebook fans the opportunity to join me on the half-marathon OptiFit programme. Welcome Deirdre Vrede, Martin Janse van Rensburg and Bronwyn Maree! Nobody said it was going to be easy, but it is going to be fun!

On joining the OptiFit programme, runners undergo a basic health assessment; attend a workshop; receive a starter-pack; get discounts on gear; select an extra, free assessment (either with a podiatrist or dietitian); and get guest passes to train at the gorgeous SSISA’s Wellness and Fitness Centre in Newlands, Cape Town. Click here to see what OptiFit encompasses

Video: Yentl's introduction to OptiFit

I saw the podiatrist (who advised me on the right running shoes), a dietitian and a sports psychologist. We will be bringing you info on how they assess and advise runners, so that we can highlight just how important all these aspects are when training for a race.

I also had to undergo a dreaded DEXA scan (duel-energy X-ray absorptiometry facilitated by the University of Cape Town's Exercise Science and Sports Medicine (ESSM) Unit) that registers bone density, and fat and lean mass distribution throughout my body. More about that in a later post.  

All these exciting tests, checks, forms, scans and questions made me take a long, hard look at my health and lifestyle, and the science behind "fixing" it. In the next couple of weeks SSISA and I will be bringing you more details about all the programmes and tests, why they are done, and how they can help you perform at your best.

You will also see me out running – sometimes on the Old Mutual Two Oceans half-marathon route and oftentimes uphill – so watch out for tips on this too!

I will also write about my training races, and the ongoing support I receive from SSISA's specialists. Mark this spot!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Yentl_Barros, as well as my team mates Martin - @Martinbeta1 and Bronwyn - @BronskiBean

Read: Week 1 of my OptiFit training

Be inspired during the 2015 Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon

#OMTOMInspiration is a joint venture between the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon, the Sports Science Institute of SA (SSISA), Runner's World and

Follow all OMTOM updates and remember to add the hashtag #OMTOMInspiration!

On Twitter @Health24com@2OceansMarathon, Runners World and @Sportscience_sa 

RW omtom inspiration runners world




Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Lifestyle »

E-cigarettes: Here are five things to know

E-cigarettes have become hugely popular in the past decade, but a rash of vaping-linked deaths and illnesses in the US is feeding caution about a product that's already banned in some places.

Allergy »

Ditch the itch: Researchers find new drug to fight hives

A new drug works by targeting an immune system antibody called immunoglobulin E, which is responsible for the allergic reaction that causes hives.