Saturday, 5 September 2009
Who is Ryan Sandes?
Name : Ryan Nicholas Sandes
Nick Names : Hedgie
Born : 10th March 1982, Cape Town
School : South African College Schools (S.A.C.S.)
Sports Played : Cricket (Junior School) Rugby (2000 1st Xv), Water polo
Degree : Bsc Construction Sudies and Honours in Quantity Surveying (University of Cape Town)
Occupation : Quantity Surveyor for Faircape Property Developers
Hobbies : Mountain Biking, Paddling, Surfing and Trail Running
Spare time : Hanging on he beach, going for drinks and a party with friends, going on road trips and traveling.
Favorite Food : Pizza and Steak
Dislikes : Dishonesty
Favorite movie : Snatch
Favorite Band : Red Hot Chili Peppers
A brief Q & A will give you some insight into who, what where and when ...
1. Who or what is your inspiration in life ?
There are a couple of people that inspire me; for one, Nelson Mandela - it is incredible how forgiving he was after being imprisoned for over a quarter of his life. He has changed so many peoples lives for the better and is probably the most loved and respected person in the world. I think the world could do with a few more Mandela’s !!
My parents – for all the support and sacrifices they have made for me during the years. I would not be where I am now with out them.
And my grandfather for his approach to life was very similar to mine, make the most of everything in life and live every day as if it were your last.
2. What goes through your mind when you go for 70km training runs or when you were running in the Gobi desert ?
A lot!! What am I doing?? Haha..
I try and break the run down into smaller 5-10km pieces and use every 5-10km section as a goal to achieve. This helps as if you try and do a 70km run with out breaking the race up it is very difficult. When you are having a low or bad patch during a race / run and you have broken it down into sections then when you start the new section it feels like you are starting fresh again.
I tell myself to keep going and focus on the positives of the run / race I.e. surroundings etc..
3. What preparations do you need to make physically and emotionally for these ultra marathons?
I think the race is probably 55% mental and 45% physical.
Preparing for a race like this can physically drain you and take it out of you. Training for 18-25 hours is very demanding on your body and you need a lot of sleep to recover. After my long runs on the weekend I just sit in front of the TV and vegetate. But it also depends on what your goals are as if you are just aiming to finish you can probably get away with a lot less training. I believe what you put into something is what you get out; therefore, all the hard training definitely does pay off during the race.
I think you need mentally tough or maybe just stupid during longer runs / multi day races as your body tells you to stop and your mind needs to tell yourself just keep going. I enjoy this aspect of the race as it is interesting to see how far you can push yourself.
4. What supplements do you take ?
I take daily multi vitamin tablets to keep my energy and immunity levels up which also prevents me from getting sick. After most runs I use a product from Hammer Nutrition called Recoverite which helps put back everything into my body which I lost during the run. I also use Whey Protein from Hammer Nutrition which helps my muscles repair themselves after a long run. Often after a long run or a hard week of training my legs etc are sore so I use a Buchu natural anti inflammatory, which is made by Buchu Life / Cape Kingdom, to reduce the inflammation and get me back feeling good again.
5. What do you eat for breakfast before you go for a long run and what do you eat during the run ?
I normally eat a bowl of Pronutro (high in protein and vitamins) before a long run and drink a cup of coffee. During my Long runs I use Perpetuem (product from Hammer nutrition) which has got all the necessary carbs, sugars, proteins etc to keep me going for up to 12hours without eating. I mix it into a paste and drink it with water. I also use Endurolytes (Hammer nutrition) tablets during a long run which put back all the electrolytes etc I loose while running and prevents cramping.
6. Do you stop to take breaks in the multi day multi stage races, or is it better to physically push through and keep going?
I try and keep going as when you stop your body starts to get stiff and you become lazy and it is really hard to get going again. During the Gobi race we had to stop at the check points to get water but this was not for more than 30 seconds. During a multi stage event I think the longer you spend on the coarse during a stage the harder it gets as you have less time to recover for the next stage.
7. Did you get to speak to your family at all during the Gobi run?
No - you are not allowed cell phones but I could receive messages of support.
8. How long in advance do you start training for an event like the Gobi and Sahara?
I started training 5-6 months before the Gobi Desert race as I had never done a multi day event or a race over 42m and therefore had to get my legs used to that sort of distance (250km). For Sahara I started training properly 3 months before the race as train really hard for the first 2 months and then taper down and take it easy for the last month (took month before Gobi easy as well). I think it is better to be under trained than over trained for an event like his as if you go into it feeling mentally and physically tired you will really battle. You need to be feeling physically and mentally fresh as this race really takes it out of you. After a long race like this I would recommend taking it easy for a month after. I did not do this after Gobi which was a mistake. So I will be taking it easy for a few weeks after Sahara.
9. What does your average training programme look like ?
I normally train in a 3-4 week cycle - starts off with an easy week which builds up to my difficult week.
Average weekly programme for Sahara:
Monday – Gym in evening and Sauna after
Tuesday – Run for 15 to 25km including running in environmental chamber (1hour on road + 40min to hour in chamber)
Wednesday – Run 2 to 3 hours on trails/mountain (with back pack etc)
Thursday - Run for 15 to 25km including running in environmental chamber (1hour on road + 40min to hour in chamber)
Friday – Gym
Saturday – 3 to 9hour run on trails /mountains (with pack etc)
Sunday – 3 to 5hour run on trails /mountains (with pack etc) + Gym and sauna
I also try and run at least two “big weekends” where I run 4 consecutive long runs in a row (Friday – Monday). Gym is also important as I makes your muscles stronger and prevents injuries.
10. Do you train with anyone or is it better to train on your own ?
I try and mix it up – sometimes I will run with someone for the start of my run and then finish off on my own. I also enjoy putting my I- pod on and just cruising on my own mission -just running wherever with no planned route. It is an awesome way of un winding when I am stressed out and just zoning out from reality. I think I push myself harder when I am on my own, but enjoy running with other people as time seems to go a lot quicker on a long run which can drag on for ever when you on your own and your legs don’t want to go any longer.
11. besides running what do you enjoy doing ?
Hanging out with friends and having a good time, a good party, chilling on the beach, surfing and surf skiing, mountain biking, just been outdoors and enjoying living in Cape Town, watching sport live or on TV and traveling
12. what time do you go to bed every evening ?
I think it is important to try get as much rest as possible to let my body recover when I am training hard, therefore I normally go to bed at about 9-10 pm. I get up quite early (5pm) as I get to work at 6:45 -7am and leave at 4pm to train.
13. Are you allowed to eat or drink unhealthily or will that affect your training ?
I try and eat relatively healthily but I do not follow a specific diet. I eat just about all foods and definitely enjoy beer and a few tequilas. I think it is important to eat and drink healthily but you also need to enjoy life. I read about this tribe in Mexico that are nomads and run about 50km a day from village to village in leather sandals. Apparently they drink tequila during their runs to hydrate so maybe I should try that during he Sahara race.. Jokes I would not make it past the first few km’s. The above is a true story that was in Mens Health I think.
14. Do you have a coach or trainer as such who helps you with things to focus on in your training ?
Ian Waddle has been giving me monthly programs which has helped a lot as it gives me a set routine to follow. I tend to over do things so his programs have helped me to train hard but then also to back off and have easy weeks to recover and come back stronger.
Chris Alan my physiotherapist who I go to once a week also helps a lot with my training as he is good at picking up small niggles which can become serious and gives me the strengthening exercises etc to prevent injuries. He is also a runner which makes a big difference as when you go to most physios with an injury they tell you to stop running but with Chris I think your leg would need to be broken before he would tell you not too run, even then he might still let you run. But it seems to work and he has kept me on the trails and roads with out any serious injuries this year (touch wood).
15. what do you do to relax ?
I used to enjoy a social life!! This year I think the only chance I get to relax is when I am sleeping.
I normally relax by: Hanging out with my friends ; Listening to music, watching movies or sport and spending time on Llandudno beach in summer – Surfing etc.
16. What races are you focusing on for the next 2 years ?
This is a list of major races I want to do, I also do a number of local races for training etc.
250km self supporting : Sahara Desert October 2008 (www.4deserts.com)
250 km self supporting :Namibia May 2009 (www.4deserts.com)
Cape Odyssey October 2009 (206km stage race not self supporting) or Trans 333km in Sahara desert (non stop race not self supporting)
250km self supporting Atacama Desert race in Chile (www.4deserts.com)
250km self supporting Last Desert race in Antarctica (www.4deserts.com)
Other races I would like to do are the Bad Water Ultra Marathon in Death Valley USA, Marathon Des Saables and the Grand Raid in Reunion.
17. Once you have completed a multi stage multi day race do you follow a special cool down exercise programme or simply stop exercising for a certain period of time ?
I normally do some stretching, drink some Recoverite (recovery drink from Hammer Nutrition), put on recovery tights and go and lie down to get off my feet and give my legs a chance to recover.
18. What do your friends and family think of the fact that you won the Gobi ?
My family and friends were super stoked and proud I won as I do not think they expected it. I think they thought I was going to crash and burn after going out so hard on the first stage. I think a lot of my friends think I am mad and have lost the plot with all the training I do.