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I ran Absa Run Your City 10k race and the results were ‘unexpected’

As runners from across the country prepare to unleash their inner athlete this Sunday (July 7) in Durban in one of South Africa’s fastest growing running events, Capetonian fitness instructor Carly Swartz shares how preparing to participate in the Absa Run Your City 10KM Cape Town edition helped boost her confidence and rewired her 'can do' attitude.

So you want to run your first endurance race that takes months to prepare for? If you’re a first-time marathon runner or everyday health fanatic who wants to cultivate a healthy running habit, the possibility of not making it to the finishing line is something that may discourage you and make you consider quitting even before you start.

In this article, qualified Capetonian fitness instructor Carly Swartz shares how preparing for the Absa Run Your City Cape Town 10k race has helped boost her confidence and rewired her ‘can do’ attitude for any life challenge that lays ahead – along with tips you can follow for your big race day!

Discovering a community of runners that are supportive

Reputable research (PubMed) shows that discovering and joining a community of runners is among the first steps to navigating one’s journey as a consistent marathon runner, and this couldn’t be further from the truth for the ever-energised fitness instructor.

“I was very nervous in the beginning because it was my first 10 km,” says Swartz as she remembers how thoughts of self doubt almost crippled her. “I’m not usually a runner, I only run if it’s for cardio or when I actually want to clear my head. However, I was surprised to learn that there’s such a huge running community that’s always ready to welcome you into the space and offer you support, which is what kind of motivated me. And when people found out about my race, everybody was supportive. I got a lot of messages, and I think that kind of hyped me up and made me a bit more confident.

As South African fitness professional Carly Swartz came to learn, recreational runners benefit from running with a group of like-minded individuals to maintain a consistent training regimen over time – research confirmed.

Proper mindset and tools

Preparing the body and mind for the enormous endurance race requires both the right mindset and the proper tools in order to succeed. For Swartz, that meant committing to daily training weeks ahead. “I think I did put a lot of pressure on myself because I trained every single day, which worked out for me in the end. With this being something out of her fitness scope, she felt Ishe needed to take it seriously and look for tools to empower herself, “like an app that I used to track my time and daily performance,” she said. “This made it a little easier for me, especially when I started preparing for the run.”

She added: “When I was running on race day, I enjoyed the entire vibe – the music, the people and atmosphere made the run very easy. I promise you I didn’t even feel the first 5K, it seemed so effortless. But when I reached 7K, I kind of felt a bit tired because I had picked up the pace. I realised I needed to push a little harder in order to complete the run in an hour, which was the time I had set for myself. And when I actually saw the finish line, all the tiredness went away. I just got the strength in me to run a bit faster, and I completed the race in the set time – I think I was two or three minutes over time.”

Cape Town fitness instructor and Absa Run Your City first-timer Carly Swartz is a proud 10K medalist.

Motivation to run: find your ‘why?’

Being a dedicated runner is an important aspect of the sport on its own. While for some would-be marathon runners, there are important steps to consider to bolster their dedication for the long haul, like joining a local running club or setting a realistic health and fitness goal, for Swartz it helped that she was an already an established fitness instructor with a good track record. 

“I’m not going to lie, this is something that I’ll definitely do again. I’m actually planning on doing another one big race very soon. And I also think I do want to incorporate running more seriously into my training routine. The whole experience surpassed my expectations. It made me realise that whatever you set your mind to, running can help build you up and make you confident to do it.”

Tankiso Komane
Tankiso Komane
A Tshwane University of Technology journalism graduate, Tankiso Komane has a vast experience in print & broadcast media business and has worked for some of the country’s biggest daily newspapers, including The Sowetan, The Citizen, The Times, and The New Age. Through her varied work as a journalist, notably as a copywriter for SABC1 (On-Air promotions) and as a publicist for Onyx Communications, she has developed an in-depth understanding of the nature of the media business and how to use it for the purpose of exposure. Her expertise in journalism across various disciplines, coupled with a good reputation, has laid the foundation of a new kind "trust in Journalism" as the media ecosystem continues to digitally evolve.
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