CT Marathon just the tip for Tish Jones
01 January 1970
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Brad Brown: You’re listening to Old Mutual Live, great things start here, great things start now. As we start gearing up, even closer to the Old Mutual Soweto Marathon, there was another big city marathon just a few days ago down in the Mother City, it was the Cape Town Marathon.
It was a spectacular day out, perfect running conditions; cool to start with, hardly a breath of wind, Cape Town was really showing off. The times were incredible. Fastest marathon run on South African soil by the men’s winner and a fantastic run by the ladies winner as well, Tish Jones. She joins us now. Tish, welcome onto Old Mutual Live, thanks for joining us.
Tish Jones: Thank you, thanks for having me.
BB: Tish, you’re no stranger to Old Mutual Live, we chatted to you around Two Oceans as well. We spoke about your running there, but we’ll get back into that in just a moment. But first of all, congratulations on the win, you must be pretty chuffed.
TJ: I was over the moon, I really was. It was a bit of a surprise but I couldn’t have been happier.
BB: You talk about it being a surprise, you’re a great runner, there’s no two ways about it. At what stage in the race did you realise, I’m in with a shot to win this thing?
TJ: It wasn’t really until the latter part of the race because all the ladies who were running from second position up to sixth position were all in a group. Although I was leading that group, we were all very much together. So, there was a bunch of maybe 5-6 of us that were all in second position.
As we came closer to the lady who was leading for the whole race, she started to drop back a little bit. I kind of overtook the group, or took over the group. Thought about my chances a bit more at that point, with about 10km to go.
A great vibe at the Cape Town Marathon
BB: A fantastic race all in all. Cape Town Marathon, there’s no reason why it can’t become one of the big city marathons in the world. Sunday was just spectacular wasn’t it?
TJ: It really was and the weather was amazing. It did draw a very large crowd and the route is fantastic, it’s not too challenging in terms of altitude gain. But it has got that IAAF standard for racing and it ticks all the boxes. They’ve done a great job, it really was an amazing marathon. The atmosphere itself was very cool, it really did help you run.
BB: I was supposed to run, ended up with bronchitis. I was on the side of the road watching. As much as I would have rather been suffering it out with the rest of you, it was just, the vibe was incredible. A great race all in all. Everybody I’ve spoken to absolutely loved it. Like I said in the introduction, Cape Town was really showing off, you couldn’t have asked for better conditions.
TJ: I know and when people were visiting Cape Town and they come even just to run the marathon, to have that weather on that day is just a winner, a real winner. Like I said, the atmosphere, a smile was on my face for the entire race. It was because of the crowds and the people that were cheering you on all the way. It was so good.
BB: Tish, we spoke to you at Old Mutual Two Oceans, you were running the ultra, but you had a bit of an ankle injury which you picked up at AfricanX. You’ve obviously shaken that, it’s been a, I don’t want to say a tough year for you because obviously you’ve just picked up a really good win. But it’s been an up and down year. Sometimes you have to have a big low, you were leading AfricanX by quite a margin when you picked up that ankle injury, sometimes you need big lows to experience big highs?
Know what works for you and listen to your body
TJ: Definitely and to be honest, this year has been fine in comparison to the year before! I’ve been very pleased with my running this year. It was very unfortunate in AfricanX and it wasn’t an injury I was aware was going to happen. It just popped up out of the blue and there was absolutely nothing I could do except for try to run and it didn’t work for me. So I needed to rest it.
I did get over that quite quickly. I was surprised at how quickly it dissipated. But it did and I trained very sensibly. I do a lot of cross training, so I’m not constantly running. It just doesn’t work for my body as well as other people. My training is different from other people and maybe I’ve found a way of working out how best to use my energy and train hard without injury occurring too frequently.
BB: Tish, I think you raise such an important point there and even you as an elite athlete, where you’re talking about this. I think the Average Joe runner can learn a lot from something like this. So often we see it where people just really either pound the road or pound the trails day after day and they pick up a lot of niggles. Cross training plays a massive role and you can avoid a lot of those sort of over-use niggles if you are sensible about your training. It’s almost counterintuitive, but you can almost run better if you’re running less.
TJ: Yes, and I hate going into races if I’m over-trained, I’d much rather walk into a race feeling under-trained, but know that I’ve got that base level of fitness to get me through a race. There’s always specific training if you’re targeting something large, you need to focus on that.
But the element of cross training, it can’t be overlooked because repetitive stress injuries occur all the time. It’s the number one reason why some runners can’t run, they’ve overdone it. It’s very easy to do because it’s quite an addictive sport.
It gives you such a great feeling that people just want to do it all the time or they don’t want to do it at all, one of the two extremes. I would definitely recommend getting on the bike or using the pool and using other muscle groups in the body. Having some balance and that should help. It should help lower the chance of injury.
BB: Absolutely and runners are a funny bunch, aren’t we? If you do pick up a niggle in your ankle or your knee, we almost say to ourselves: I’m going to take it out for a little run to see how it feels. Nine times out of ten, it never feels better does it?
TJ: No, it doesn’t always work like that, but none of us are going to stop doing that. We’ll get to the point of injury before we stop, you don’t know it’s coming. You can’t predict that. But until you know how your body works and how to avoid injury for yourself, cause everyone is different, you just carry on. You carry on until you injure yourself.
So maybe just making sure you have those little breaks when you know you’ve done a lot of running, a lot of racing. No over-racing, no over-training, get on the bike if you have to do something. Do something that’s going to help your mind cope with the fact that maybe you’re not running as much. But just know that that’s your weapon, that you know you’re not over-training, you’re not likely to injure yourself and somebody else might well do that.
Tish is only getting started
BB: Tish, 2:36:13 I think was the official time. It’s by all accounts, just looking at your previous races, a massive PB. I think by about 20 minutes, if my numbers that I have in front of me are correct. What do you attribute that massive improvement to? It’s one thing running a 20 minute PB if you’re going from five hours to a 5:40, but when you’re running sub-three hour marathons, 20 minutes is just a huge gain.
TJ: I was absolutely over the moon, but it wasn’t far off my target. I really wanted a 2:40 or a sub 2:40. I knew that I could achieve a good time like that. I wasn’t sure about that particular marathon because I knew I hadn’t had the speed work training.
I hadn’t been specifically training for running. I’d done a lot more on the bike. So I was a bit anxious going into the race because I desperately wanted a good time. But to come away with a 2:36, you’ll see the video at the finish as I was running through. I was just so excited and when I saw the clock, I was just over the moon.
I know I can do better than that as well, I’m just very new to road marathons. So it’s my second one and I’m still cautious about how to pace it at the beginning of the race. So I’m quite conservative with my speed. In my first marathon I had to be conservative and more so because I wanted to finish the race, that was my goal. I didn’t have a time goal, I just wanted to finish. So I had to play it safe and see how I could cope with a marathon on the road.
BB: It’s phenomenal. How fast do you reckon you could go?
TJ: I really don’t know, I know I need to be more specific with my training before I could even contemplate going faster. Because it’s such a long race, you could never be certain or 100% sure that you could do better. Because it’s a long time to be running and anything could happen in that 42km.
The lady that was leading, she might have run a little bit too fast. In retrospect, looking at her race and how she began the race. It might be that she went out a bit too fast. She maybe could have gone slower and then maintained a good pace and had a better second half. But instead she perhaps had a worse second half. Whereas I was more conservative and I actually had a better second half.
It has to be analysed a bit more, the marathon is a different animal all together. It’s not a 10km, it’s not a half marathon. You can’t play with it as much. Do you know what I mean? You can’t go out and smash the beginning and hope that you can hang on, it’s too long.
BB: The go until you blow strategy tends to not work in a marathon. Anybody who has run one –
TJ: Not in a marathon!
Watch out Otter, here comes Tish!
BB: Anyone who has run one and the wheels have come off will know exactly what we’re talking about. Because it’s happened to me and I think most marathon runners at some stage. When they’ve run multiple marathons. It will happen to you as well. It’s fantastic, so what’s next on the cards for you? Is it still early to start looking ahead at other races that you’re targeting or have you got your eyes set on something already?
TJ: I do love running on the trails, so my next race that I’m entering is the Otter. Which I haven’t done before and I know it’s going to be a huge challenge. I really want to go there and enjoy it. I love the area that the Otter is in. I’m actually staying very close to there right now, with some family. But that’s my next race. I’m always looking ahead, but I’m not making any decisions just yet. Anything can happen between now and next year and as soon as the big road races come up, I’ll make some decisions then.
BB: Tish, it’s been great catching up once again. Thank you so much for your time here on Old Mutual Live, congrats again on the win. We look forward to seeing you in action at the Otter.
TJ: Thank you very much, take care, have a lovely day.