Tamzin Thomas is a 100m and 200m track athlete who runs for South Africa. She also trains with her partner, Elroy Gelant, who is a 5km and 10km track athlete. Here’s her top advice for improving your running speed and smashing your next PB!
Tamzin’s Top 10 Moves To Improve Your Running Speed – Powered by the Nike Epic React Running Shoe
“To run fast, I believe that your core has to be strong, so these are the following exercises you can do to improve your core strength”
3 Hip Abduction (aka yes/no machine!)
4 Band hip exercises
5 Side planks “Then practise these drills (30m each)”
7 Butt Kicks
8 Straight Leg Kicks
9 Double leg hops
We asked Tamzin for tips on how to score that PB on race day…
The Week Before The Race
“If you have an upcoming race, during that week make sure you check the weather – for me the weather is very important, because if it’s very hot you would need to hydrate more. Then stay off your feet. Rest is very important because on race day you want your muscles to work very hard. Drink lots of water and make sure you eat enough.”
What To Eat Before You Race
“The morning of the race day I try to have a big breakfast. Sometimes it’s very difficult because of all the nerves I have. Normally I would have something that I am used to eating, like bread, egg and bacon with orange juice. I will then snack on bananas.”
Tamzin’s Pre-Race Warm-Up Routine
“Before a race, your warm-up is very important! You can start off by jogging about 800m and then do 80m strides, starting off slow and then pick up the speed – but not too fast. Thereafter, stretching your muscles – most importantly, focus on your hamstrings and glutes.”
Tamzin’s Best Running Shoes
My favourite shoe is the Nike Epic React Flyknit. I love the bounce I get when running in them. You can train in them and wear them with lifestyle clothing too. The Nike Epic React Flyknit has a soft cushion feeling that keeps my feet comfortable and I love a shoe that keeps me injury free. They remind me of when I was small and I used to like jumping on a bed and the same high I get from the springs, I get on the track while warming up.
“I gym in the Nike Pegasus because it has a thicker base which allows less impact when I am lifting heavy weights.”
Post Race Nutrition And Recovery
“Our muscles work hard, that’s why it’s important to put back what our body takes out. After training I will take an ice bath. The ice bath increases your blood flow so that your muscles can recover faster. I will try to eat within half an hour after training – food that has lots of protein. I take a whey protein shake after gym sets. When I race, I have a recovery drink that I drink to be ready for my next race. In the evening I will take a shower and set the water on hot for 1 minute and then cold for 1 minute so that my muscles will be able to relax.”
Let’s Get Personal!
We chat to Tamzin about some of the harder challenges she faces and how she stays motivated…
What’s the hardest thing about about being a top runner?
“The hardest thing about what I do is to always be a in a good shape. Athletics is not a team sport you are on your own on the track. It can becomes very lonely. You have to motivate yourself to get up and go work. People always expect you to just do good and when you not in good shape they will start judging. I believe that sometimes you have to lose to win again.”
Have you always liked running? When did you get into it?
“To be honest running was never my favourite. My sister started running before me in primary school. I remember there was a year when I told my parents I’m not going to take part in athletics. They told me: ‘You are going to run’ and there was no time to even say no – my parents were really strict. Today I can only thank them for it.
“I continued running in high school where I got my first coach and my sister pursued her career in volleyball. I got my first pair of spikes, and I made my first South African team. Since then I realised that God has blessed me with a talent and I have to show people and share with people and use my talent to encourage and motivate others.”
Do you only do sprint work? Do you ever run longer distances?
“I try to jog with my boyfriend, Elroy Gelant, he’s a 5000m and 10000m track athlete and 10km and 21km road runner. Elroy will always ask me to warm-up with him and do a easy 2km. I don’t think I have the endurance for a long-distance event. During the holidays I will do parkruns and I even motivated my mother to join me. Since then, she has never stopped jogging and running.”
What keeps you motivated to get up and train?
“Definitely my family! My father, Peter, is a bus driver and every morning he wakes up at 3am and leaves the house at 4am to go work for his family. He never complains. He’s been working for Golden Arrow for 30 years and loves driving a bus.
“My mother, Sandra, works for Clicks, for almost 10 years, and she works hard in everything she does, even after coming home from work in the evening at 6pm she cooks for the family. She always makes sure that we have everything we need. “My sisters – my twin sister Tamlyn and my younger sister Katelyn – we all support each other in everything we do.”
“And just getting a random message from someone on social media encourages me and motivates me to keep working hard on the track, because I know somewhere out there there is someone who looks up to me.”