Trail Tips For Tackling African X


After three years of team WITC enduring the annual 90km AfricanX Trailrun presented by ASICS, you’d think we would hang up our tekkies… but as part of their 10 year reunion, the 3 day race taking place from 27 April – 29 April has announced a new venue (Boschendal Wine Estate), new theme (Beauty & the Beast) and new race routes, which us overly enthusiastic naive amateur athletes couldn’t miss out on!

When it comes to multiday races, your performance goes far beyond how much mileage you squeezed into training, which is why we chatted to two of our favourite experts to find out how best to fuel the physique and mentally prepare before hitting a multiday race.

WHAT CAN ONE EXPECT FROM A THREE DAY STAGE RACE? Check out our experience taking part in the 2017 AfricanX Trailrun presented by ASICS which used to be held at The Houw Hoek Inn:

WHAT MAKES 2018’S RACE SO UNIQUE? With the new venue being one of SA’s oldest farms, Boschendal promises to offer the most punishingly picturesque mountain terrain of the Cape Winelands whilst putting teamwork and self-endurance to the test, covering an ascent close to 3950m and over 93km’s.

NUTRITIONAL ADVICE from dietician Alex Royal

HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU BE EATING…If you eat too much you may gain body fat, making you heavier and slower during training and on race day. Conversely if you under eat portions you stand the counterproductive risk of losing muscle mass and strength creating a heavier, slower athlete, even if you are training hard. Therefore a well-balanced, portion controlled diet, is imperative for optimum performance. 

CAN YOU EAT MORE JUNK FOOD WHEN ENDURANCE TRAINING? Junk food is laced with processed additives which can be seen as a toxin by the body. These toxins can really slow down and disrupt the bodily functions. It weakens the immunity and causes inflammation which leads to poor recovery during training and increased risk for injury. 

If you see food as medicine, which in my opinion it absolutely is, and if you see your body as a temple, then why would you want put these toxins into your system and lessen your athletic potential? 

HOW TO EAT TO AVOID GETTING SICK PRE-RACE? Eating a highly nutritious diet, one packed with micronutrients and void of toxins, can promote a strong immune system, reduces risk for inflammation and oxidative stress on the system. This is exactly what you want as training can take it out of your body, so you need the nutrients to replenish yourself and provide the muscle with energy. 

Image: Team WITC taking in the city views post morning trail run

HEALHY SNACKING DURING TRAINING AND RACE DAY… here are some of Alex’s top snacks for races which are low in sugar & bad preservatives:

  1. Date balls or homemade protein bars and gus (using chia seeds, honey and blended banana in a smoothie pack)
  2. Nuts
  3. Small amounts of biltong
  4. Dried fruit like mango or banana chips
  5. Bananas
  6. Peanut butter or hummus sandwiches
  7. Salty baby potatoes
  8. Wedges of boiled, salted sweet potato

Instagram: @alex_royal_dietetics | Twitter: @alexroyaldiet | Facebook: Alex Royal Dietetics 

ATTITUDE ADVICE from SA Trail Athlete Meg Mackenzie
(SA trail runner and winner of multiple events including Long Distance Trail Championships in 2015, AfricanX in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 and Ultra Trail Cape Town 65km to name a few.)

 Image: Rocco Tallie and Marisa Logan representing team WITC at the Bay2Bay race, January 2018

There are so many elements to it and no quick fix; preparing mentally for any event takes time and practice…

FIRSTLY, START MEDITATING. Meditation strengthens and quietens the mind. With practice you will start to be able to use this during hard races or when you are feeling physically exhausted. Focusing on your breath, being kind to yourself, staying positive and remembering gratitude.

START VISUALISING THE EVENT. Start right at the beginning and let the ‘movie’ play right to the end. Make sure it’s realistic, deal with the tough moments and potential setbacks as well as the happiness and sense of satisfaction you will feel by overcoming the challenges.

BE KIND TO YOURSELF, CONGRATULATE YOURSELF FOR EVEN GETTING TO THE START LINE. I always like to think of the start line as my finish line – the in between in a celebration of all the hard work I put in to get to the start line. This attitude will help you to let go of any of the things you can’t control during the race, because it doesn’t actually matter.

Image: Team WITC trekking trails in Stanford, Cape Town

ADVICE ON RUNNING WITH A NEW RACE PARTNER? I’d say it’s important to get to know how they want to be encouraged and supported. Some people might want you to be kind, sweet and caring if they’re having a rough patch but others might just need some alone time to deal with whatever they are going through. Figure that out and the rest will come. You never know how you’re going to react or how your partner will react when the going gets tough but if you know how to support them through it, it makes the world of difference.

Image: Team WITC conquering Devil’s Peak

For more running tips and motivation, visit Meg’s new coaching platform called The Run Project on Instagram: @_run_project

Instagram: @megmackenzie1 | Twitter: Meg_Mackenzie86Facebook: Meg Mackenzie

Enter for next years event:

Contact:  Tel: 0829910045 | Email:


Facebook: Still Water Sports |  Twitter: @runtheafricanx

Image: Team WITC on top of Table Mountain

Wellness in the City
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