South African marathon runner Gerda Steyn is training and staying positive ahead of Tokyo Olympics

Gerda Steyn is happy with how training is going ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

The Risidale road runner will run the marathon distance for South Africa at the Olympics in August and before then has lined up some races to build her fitness.

On 24 January, Steyn won the Dubai 10km with her best 10km time – just one of the many races she has won in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in recent years.

“I was really pleased to run 32:33 for the 10km because I am currently in the middle of a training block, so I couldn’t really have expected to run my best 10km performance, but [it] definitely helped me gain some confidence in what I can do for my next race,” Steyn told Northcliff Melville Times.

“I am still seeing improvement in a lot of my speed sessions and tempo workouts, so I trust that this will result in better performances in races too. Every training cycle is different and normally this time of the year I would be doing high altitude training in Lesotho, so I’m just looking to make the most out of training at sea level.”

Upcoming races for Steyn include the RAK (Ras Al Khaimah) Half Marathon in the UAE, dubbed the fasted half-marathon in the world, on 21 February, and the Half Marathon World Championships in Poland on 29 March.

“I have been very focused on staying injury-free with more emphasis on recovery in between sessions and also making sure that I am well prepared for every workout because it’s not just your performance on the day, but all the small building blocks beforehand that will count towards obtaining your target times.”

Steyn said she was excited about representing South Africa for the first time at the Olympics.

“[It] will be an incredible opportunity,” she said.

“The pandemic has affected everyone and as a sportsperson, it has been a tough past 12 months, especially with all the uncertainty with regards to race dates and race cancellations. I promised myself right from the start that I will not give up and that by the end of the year I want to look back knowing that I did everything in my power to seek opportunities and still make 2020 a year to remember.”

This she did.

“Running has been my greatest outlet. I was able to stay positive through my love for running and having the support from many great people in my life. I miss running in a social environment and competing knowing that I am sharing the roads with thousands of runners but I was extremely grateful to have had an invitation to run the 2020 London Marathon which kept me focused on training and improving.”

posted Saturday February 20th
by Nicholas Zaal