Turning into a full-time athlete pays off as Wayne walks to new SA best | TeamSA - TeamSA

Turning into a full-time athlete pays off as Wayne walks to new SA best

By Mark Etheridge

Pretoria’s Wayne Snyman has become the latest South African walker to rewrite the national record books after his 3000-metre track record in Brisbane at the weekend.
Snyman, like 2012 Olympian Marc Mundell, did last year, has also made the brave decision to go solo and forego permanent employment in a bid to improve his walking skills and become part of Team SA at this year’s Olympics.
And it looks like he’s walking the walk right now as he cut 10 seconds off Lebogang Shange’s year-old mark of 11min 20.39sec set in Pretoria.
The race took place in Queensland, Brisbane and when Snyman walked off the track the new mark read 11:10.03 and a place in SA walking history.
His new mark comes a month before he turns 31.
Snyman, a bronze medallist at last year’s African Games in Brazzaville, Congo, took time out to tell Road to Rio 2016 of his journey thus far.
‘I made my decision last year to resign from my job as a teacher at Waterkloof Primary School to focus on my race walking as this is a Olympic year and I need as much time to train. I changed coaches right after African Games last year, going from Chris Britz to Australian based coach Dave Smith.
‘The training really changed a lot and I had to focus more on a strategy of less quantity and more quality.
‘It was really hard to adjust as it takes loads of strain on your body. We discussed coming over to his training camp in January to February in Rainbow beach, Queensland. My wife and I decided that it was time to make the move to full time athlete and give myself a shot at being a professional athlete.
‘I arrived on the 31 December 2015 in Australia and the training started the next day (no time to adjust to jet-lag at all). We moved to Rainbow beach on 10 January where we would be based till 4 February. In this period we focused on massive mileage, speed endurance and power.  It was very hot and humid throughout the camp.  We went out training each morning at 7.30am and again that night at 5pm no matter the conditions.
‘Some sessions were as hot as 36 degrees and humidity 90% other days it was raining, but, training was all that was on our minds. We had some rest sessions and recovery runs on the beach and through the bush.
The hardest was running up sand dunes. That session was extremely hard… it was a 150m sand dune with a massive incline. We had a time trial on the camp and I ended up doing a 10 km trial which went great and I knew I was in good shape.
‘After the camp we went back to Brisbane (staying with my coach Dave) and training went back to normal, hitting the gym, doing hills and speed sessions.
‘We also went to a fitness boxing session to mix things up and it was amazing. I’m really experiencing a whole new level of fitness and cross training to keep my head clear and body from over training.’
Moving on to race day and it was a last-minute change of plan for Snyman and crew.
‘On the day of the race, we were scheduled to do a 15km easy session. We only heard about the race three hours before the start and decided to do a late entry.
‘The Queensland stadium was huge but there weren’t a lot of supporters. We started at 7pm. It was really windy.
‘We made sure that there was enough judges and timing because I was in good shape and my mind was always on breaking the record. We started fast and I knew what I had to do to get the record, walk 3:45 per km and I’d be fine. The first km was only 3:46 as the wind on the home stretch was in our faces.
‘It was raining hard at that stage but I wasn’t fazed, because I was feeling good.  We started walking faster and with one lap to go I knew I had the record.  I started speeding up and headed home in a great time, 11:10.03 after confirmation.  My coach was happy with my technique and so were the judges so all in all a good day at the office.’
Looking forward and his next race will also be Down Under, a 20km in Adelaide on 21 February where he’ll be aiming beat 1hr 24min for the distance. ‘Then I’m going to Europe in March and hoping for a spot in the World Race Walking Team Cup in May to further increase my chances and do a qualifier for the Olympic Games in Rio.’