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TRAILMAIL 01: Friday 13 January 2023

Smarter Training In 2023.
Protein For Optimal Health.
Foot Pilates For Strong Feet.

     In this issue

  1. Editorial. Smarter training in 2023.
  2. Adventure. When not to fin(ish).
  3. Gear. OOFOS Ooahh Slide Sandal.
  4. Races. Trail events for you.
  5. Health. Protein is life: assess your intake.
  6. Training. Get strong with foot Pilates.
  7. Planet. Films for Action, for hope!
  8. News. Kilian's training, Tuesday Trails.

Header photo: Ian Hendry was stoked to be in the Drakensberg in November. "It was lovely to get out into the mountains again for a post-Covid shakeout run. Cavern to Mahai, up the Crack and back to the Cavern. Superb!"


Hello [FNAME]

I hope you're having a good start to 2023. Hopefully you've had a good break (or about to, if you're taking time off soon).

Either way, isn't it weird how the start of the year always feels like a clean slate? There's a strong sense that some things are starting all over again.

After the slower pace of the holidays, you may have changed routines. Maybe fitness took a back seat to resting and socialising. And now you've come back feeling motivated – perhaps too motivated?

Here's what ultrarunner Jo Keppler (pictured above) shared on Instagram about wanting to go big with run training:

Okay, okay, so we are all getting super amped to get back into training, start eating right, early nights, high mileage etc… But don’t get caught in the trap of jumping into an all-out training programme that requires high mileage.

Yeah, I’ve seen some of those 100 mile training programmes online that seem super attractive and I mean surely if Courtney Dauwalter can run 160-200km a week, so can I? Not necessarily! Know your body and listen to it when it says “You are being a d*ck right about now”. If you can’t trust yourself then perhaps you need a coach.

Just my two cents for the start of another running season. This will be my fourth year of this extraordinary running adventure and I’m still learning what not to do!"

And for a look at deciding during an event, read Andy Wesson's account in Adventure below.

So, how was your 2022 in the final analysis? Head over to TRAIL's Facebook page on Monday to share your favourite trail photos from December, and tell us all about it.

Thank you for the support

SPONSORS. Thank you to Brooks, Crater Traverse, Feetures, The Lynx Ultra, OOFOS, and Run The Karoo for powering this week's newsletter.

MAGAZINES. If you are looking for TRAIL digital mags you missed from 2011 to 2022, check out Zinio and Magzter for issues at just R39.99 each. For more recent issues, consider the TRAIL web reader.

I hope you enjoy reading this edition, and find it useful to improve your running life.

Happy Friday and weekend!

Deon Braun
TRAIL scribe


Fin(e) time for a 100 miler.

Yes... you're wondering about the fins, aren't you? The weather outside the tent should be a clue. Sometimes there's just too much water to be running your 100 miler – and that's where swimming is the smarter option.

This photo of PE ultra aficionado Andy Wesson was taken at the halfway (80km) mark at the Longmore Forest Endurance Run (LoFER) 100 miler, where Andy decided he'd call it a day. (The fins were commandeered from the kiddies swimming pool, which wasn't being used at the time, funny that.)

He recalls:
"I kinda knew I was done. Heading to the halfway I could barely maintain a trot. My body wasn’t responding and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I’d had an amazing year and wasn’t out to prove anything. I took a gamble entering - I was either gonna feel good or feel crap - I got the second!

"I headed to my tent for a bit of shut-eye hoping to recover, but didn’t, and made the call after that not to go on. It sucks 'cos I know I made the right decision but my brain is a bully…

"Then I slept 12 hours straight. I'd finished Run 2 Paarl a month earlier so I know it was going to be uncomfortable - but that was day 3 tired after day 1!

I made the right call - I’m starting to build my strength again and to have forced my way through would have cost big time recovery."

Ed – The lesson to you for your future races? Know when to call it quits. Be kind to your future self. And know that as strong as your mind is, it needs your body to be in good order, for a long time. Rest, and run another day.


OOFOS Ooahh Slide Sandal 
R1,099 |

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The footbed cradles your arch and enables more natural motion. Its closed-cell foam is machine washable and designed to minimise odour.

The OOahh is an evolution of the OOriginal, featuring an agile OOfoam™ strap for additional support and comfort. The OOFOS Slide is also available in OOahh Sport. The OOFOS Sandal is available in OOriginal and OOriginal Sport.

Visit website.



Run The Karoo. Sat 11 & Sun 12 March 2023 (EC)
8km, 12km, 22km. Dwarsvlei Farm, Middelburg. Saturday: 8km night run/walk, Sunday 12km or 22km run/walk. Beautiful views of the Renosterberg in an enchanting world of Karoo koppies, 100-year-old-stone-walls, windmills, and herds of springbok. Start 6:15pm. R2,450-R2,750.

The Lynx Ultra Trail Run. Fri 21 – Sun 23 April 2023 (KZN)
Winterton, Central Drakensberg. 25km, 50km. Tackle a single-day 25km or 50km ultra trail run on the best of the Berg & Bush and Oxpecker routes. Enjoy tented accommodation at Kingfisher Camp with all the creature comforts. Start 7am. R3,200-R3,800.

Anatomic Crater Traverse Trail Run.
Sat 27 & Sun 28 May 23 (FS)
20km/15km, 15km/11km, 11km. Koedoeslaagte Trail Park, Parys.
Run the two-day Quartzite Run, two-day Granite Run, or 11km Fun Trail. Savour 90% purpose-built nature trails in Vredefort Dome UNESCO terrain along Vaal River. Start 8am. R200-R1,200. (early bird ends 16 Dec)



Protein quality and timing.

Scientist Don Layman, PhD, shares his 40-year career knowledge on optimal protein quantity, quality, and timing on Simon Hill's excellent The Proof podcast.

Don, in his 70s, says that resistance training and aerobic training are both important for long-term health.

In his view, metabolic health is a combination of factors, including good rates of protein synthesis, optimal levels of blood glucose and lipids, mitochondrial health (which determines your ability to oxidise blood lipids), the right level of branch chain amino acids.

The questions he asks when assessing someone's health are: are they metabolising lipids? Are the triglycerides in their blood at the right level?

This was a fascinating conversation, and if you are in awe of your body's ability to do what it does, your awe will go up two notches after listening to these insights.


Strong feet, strong runner!

"We live in our shoes, and when we are not in our shoes, we are very often in flip-flops, sandals, or slippers. Thinking back though, when last did you walk barefoot, feeling the texture of the grass or the oozing of mud through your toes?" asks BASI Pilates instructor Sasha Ehlers.

She adds: "While shoes are a fantastic tool in our daily running kit, paying attention to exercising the lower limbs – and bare-naked feet – is an important part of a runner’s training repertoire. My physiotherapist challenged me to run barefoot, on grass, for 20 minutes. My feet were super stiff the next day!"

Get your feet strong with Sasha’s seven-step Pilates footwork series.


Films for Action showcases real-world solutions.

The past 10 years has seen an unprecedented surge in human activity. It's also seen a rising global awareness of just how much damage our collective eight billion humans can wreak over the rest of nature – unless we become conscious of that, and take drastic steps to change our behaviours.

"Our present moment is saturated in dystopian, apocalyptic fantasies of the future," says the team at Films for Action.

They add: "As the late Mark Fisher said, 'It's easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.' We can envision a thousand ways that humanity might destroy itself and the rest of the world, but positive visions of the future remain severely lacking in comparison. Why is that?

"The Dark Ages led to the Renaissance. Feudalism led to capitalism. No era remains stagnant forever. But there's an invisible meme in our culture today that says capitalism is the greatest economic idea humanity has ever invented and it will never be surpassed.

"What this points to, in our view, is a crisis of imagination. Humans at heart are storytellers, and we enact the stories we tell ourselves. As we've written before, our culture is enacting a story that's destroying the world. If humanity is going to unlock the good ending, we've got to imagine it first. We've got to imagine ten thousand localised versions of it. That's how things change."

See the 30 film lineup.


From Twenty-two into Twenty-three.

~ If you enjoy tales of adventure, listen to coach Fred Richardson's interview with 210km Drakensberg Grand Traverse Run (DGT) winners Matt Bouch and Colin van Den Berg (third pic, click to view).

~ In Cape Town, weekly social phenomenon Tuesday Trails (middle pic) was back for its opening night of 2023. Their wrap? "Never a bad night on the Lion but something was extra good this evening." They're heading to Newlands Forest this coming Tuesday.

~ Spectacular Durban venue Krantkloof Nature Reserve is back in business after last April's floods which washed away infrastructure. If you want to explore on your own, be aware that there are some tricky sections. Alternatively, for a slower introduction, Green Corridors is leading 8km return hikes on Sundays.

~ Kilian Jornet (main image) spent 900 hours training in 2022 – clocking 500,000 metres of elevation in skimo, running, cycling and climbing, and 5,500km of running distance. "But all this comes also at a cost," he said. "My 2022 carbon footprint was 7.7T* of CO2e. This is almost four times what it should be to be on line with the 1.5ºC agreement." (5T was from transport, mainly to and from races.) Kilian photo by Jordi Saragossa.


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