Updated 17 March 2015

My 8 week journey to the 21km Two Oceans Marathon - week 4

Another week, another win: this week I learnt that runners aren't exempt from strength training - long distance runners don't only have endurance they actually have strong muscles too.

One month in and I'm more confident running long distances. This week I ran past the 12 kilometer mark before I managed to slog my way around 15 more on the weekend.

Yes, I made it through 15km of running this week. I also made it up Southern Cross Drive in Constantia and, anyone that's even tried walking up Southern Cross Drive knows that it's an absolute punishment trying to trod up that long winding hill.

I could've cried. In fact, if it wasn't for one of my blog readers, who, just as I reached breaking point, recognised me and gave me some encouragement, I probably would've just lay down and wept! The fact that this is part of the route on race day is pretty scary, but as they say, better the devil you know.

During my suffering I realised something: running is not for the faint footed.

Serious runners don't simply have a strong heart and lungs, they actually have leg, chest and core strength. They don't climb hills effortlessly because they can endure pain for longer periods than us normal folk, the secret for them lies in their body's strength.

The Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) obviously discovered this long before I did and that's why they introduced our running group to Greg Hyson, a biokinesticist from SSISA who offers a course called Strong2Run.

I thought that runners get to look good without having to lift weights. This might be somewhat true, but not entirely. The SSISA actually recommends that strength training forms an integral part of any running programme as it helps to increase the strength of your legs, muscles, tendons, bones and ligaments. The stronger you are, the faster and further you will be able to run and the less likely you will be to incur injury.

The first few exercises of the Strong2Run course felt a bit like 'Die2Run'. The course consists of Greg instructing us to do various exercises which take place at 45 second intervals and focus on different body parts. Some of these exercises are fun and interactive while others are painful and feel as if they last far longer than 45 seconds. But, there is something refreshing about the pain. It's different to the pain one feels when running and the benefits are amazing!

Read: Are you strong enough to run?

More on strength training and our Strong2Run session in this week's OMTOMInspiration episode:

One of the highlights this week was the comradery that took place during the long run, especially meeting and chatting to a fellow runner the top of Southern Cross. It was good to know that there are other runners out there experiencing the same mixture of runners' emotion: sometimes joy, sometimes struggle. Please share your experiences with me, it will keep me going! Use the hashtag #OMTOMInspiration on Twitter and Tweet at me.

You can follow me on Twitter @Yentl_Barros, as well as my team mates Martin - @Martinbeta1, Neil - @NeilCarrick and Bronwyn - @BronskiBean.

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

Yentl's journey this far:

My 8 week journey to the 21km Two Oceans Marathon - week 3

My 8 week journey to the 21km Two Oceans Marathon - Week 2

My 8 week journey to the 21km Two Oceans Marathon - Week 1

My 8 week journey to the 21k Two Oceans Marathon - Week 0




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