Health and fitness writer Viwe Ndongeni limbers up for the Two Oceans half marathon. Ian Landsberg African News Agency (Ana)
It’s 4 days till the 50th Two Oceans Marathon, Cape Town’s most iconic race.

It is considered one of the most beautiful races and I can’t wait to be one of the thousands who will be doing their first half marathons.

I’m happy to be at this point. I didn’t think it would be possible, given that I had no running experience and I never went regularly to gym.

Yet, with discipline, commitment and a lot of experimental running gear, hydration and eating, I’m close to reaching my goal.

As advised by experts, today will be my last long run and I will do it on the Two Oceans route to prepare myself mentally.

I have had some highlights and light-bulb moments in the build-up to the race. The main positive effect is that I have become healthier and I am at my best mentally.

I started counting my steps, walking more and choosing the stairs, instead of the lift.

Weight loss was not part of the plan. I deliberately avoided the scale, even though my clothes no longer fit the same, which told me that I had lost a few kilos.

Another noticeable benefit is my skin’s appearance has improved.

However, despite all the work I have put in, I have nightmares about not finishing the race.

Norrie Williamson is a Durban running coach who has completed 10 Two Oceans Ultra marathons (56km) and received a silver medal for each one.

Williamson said it’s vital to have a realistic goal and game plan for achieving at those distances.

“A marathon or ultra is a long way to run and can take anywhere from two hours at an elite level to seven hours for the 56km Two Oceans ultra.”

He said it is possible to predict your Two Oceans finish time based on your times in shorter races, like 10km park runs. “The ideal would be to run the shorter (race) hard 10 days ahead of race day and then, you can see the potential finish time for the longer distance.”

Cape Town coach Petrus Campher will be the “on-the-road coach” on race day. He said the best thing is to enjoy the race and trust yourself and the training.

“Think positive right through the race - once you conquer the mind, you have won. Your mind can fuel you or slow you down; pay attention to your thoughts and how they make you feel. How you feel is how you will run,” he said.

Campher’s message for next week’s runners is to take it easy when starting off, ease your body into running mode and pick up the pace as you continue. Be mindful of your running form.

“Run your own race and don’t be distracted by other runners who may be faster than you.”