Kotov, Runner and Teacher

Kotov clocked 2:31:59 at yesterday’s Nedbank Cape Town City Marathon (Sunday, 21 September 2008) as the first 50-year-old, taking nine minutes off the Western Province age group record. His time was almost four minutes faster than Nedbank’s Thembinkosi Ndyogolo, the winner of the 40-49 age category. Kotov also ran a chilling 32:39 in cold, wet and windy conditions at the recent South African 10km championships in Stellenbosch.

We can see from these times that he’s clearly doing something right. Let’s pick up a few pointers.

Horses for courses
“Your muscles respond differently to different surfaces,” says Kotov. “I only train on tar because I race on tar. It’s important to train for your specific race conditions. If your race is on tar, it won’t do you any good to run on gravel. If you plan to run cross-country then running on grass and sand will prepare your body for that terrain. It’s also important to make sure your shoes suit the surface you’ll face on race day.”

Catch some Zssss
“There’s no secret to success,” says Kotov. “It just comes down to clever training. I spend a lot of time training, recovering and sleeping.”

Cool off
“Take today’s race for example, how many people went for a cool-down jog? I only saw a handful of people going for a recovery jog. It’s important to do a 3-5km recovery jog after every race. I understand people are tired, I’m also tired but it’s a must.”

Kotov says he has many training secrets that he will only reveal once he retires from competitive racing. “I’ll go for another three gold medals at Comrades. I have seven now and it’s my dream to have ten Comrades gold medals,” he says. “Once I’ve retired I’d like to work with and help South African athletes to be more competitive at Comrades.”

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