Ndumiso Khoza

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Q. Who are you and what you do for a living?

My name is Ndumiso Khoza, a 39 year old husband of 10 years and father of 2 beautiful girls. I am also the Head of Digital Venturing for Deloitte Africa. 

Q. How do you balance your exercise regime and your professional life? 

I have set very high expectations on my professional, spiritual and physical life. My success and happiness as an individual is determined by how effective I am at achieving these personal yet intricate goals and ambitions. The best way I have found of finding this balance is by making sure that I create the space and time to do all the things that are important to me. I do this by making sure that I communicate with everyone that I work with my passion for running and how important it is to me, so that they understand and respect my reasons for running and not being available because I have a run. When I have a scheduled run after work, I make sure I stick to it rarely ever compromise on my exercise regime. 

Q. When and why did you start running? 

I started running in 2014 after my 35th birthday. I did not want to become a typical African guy with a beer belly and really wanted to try and keep fit and live a healthy lifestyle. My main motivation was not to look and feel old. But since I did not enjoy going to the gym much, running was the next logical thing for me to do and I stuck to it because I found it easy and really enjoyed it.

Q. What motivates you to go out there, when you do not feel like it? 

As I mentioned earlier, I have set very high running goals for myself. These goals are quiet ambitious and some people would even deem them as impossible. I like to push myself to the best of my abilities to defy my own limits and prove to myself that I can achieve anything I set my mind to. Just having a goal or a vision is not enough though, I also needed to take deliberate and consistent action, no matter how small, in making an effort to try and make that dream a reality. This is what gives me the motivation to run on days I do not feel like it as a reminder to myself that each step is a step closer to my dream. 

Q. What gives you the confidence to run in the streets?

Being outside on a run is one of my most freeing and liberating experiences. There are days when I have to run on the treadmill and really find that challenging. Running in the street is something natural, and although it has become more dangerous, I still feel like it’s worth a calculate risks as I refuse to live in fear of what could or could not happen to me. It can be daunting during winter for instance when it gets dark very early sometimes. I would suggest that people find running clubs and groups to run with, especially in places that are known to be dangerous. 

Q. What was your best running experience? 

Running Comrades has been a lifelong dream of mine since I was a child as I used to watch the marathon with my late father every year as I was growing up. It is something I always knew I wanted to do but never knew when. When I first started running, it was not necessarily with running Comrades in mind, but as soon as I realised how much I enjoyed it and excelled at it, it was the natural next step in my running progression. Once I’d run my first Comrades in 2016, the most daunting experience I ever had, my next goal was to achieve a Bill Rowan medal by running Comrades in under 9 hours. I was lucky enough to achieve this in my 3rd Comrades last year in 2018 when I finished in 8 hours and 51 minutes which has been by far my best running experience. Running the Rotterdam Marathon in 2018 as my first international race was also a running experience I cherish dearly. 

Q. What was your worst running experience? 

I am tempted to mention my first Comrades Up run in 2017 which was a lot tougher than anyone had made it seem, but in all honesty it has to be the first time that I “hit the wall” whilst running the Johnson Crane Marathon in 2016. On this day, I had a target of finishing in 3 hours 30 minutes but with 2 kilometres to go, I realised I had a minute left to achieve my target, which completely shattered my hopes and I ended up sitting down to gather my strength and then walking to the end and finished in just under 4 hours. 

Q. How do you push through the pain? 

I was fortunate to learn very early on in my running experience that if I wanted to be a good marathon and ultra-marathon runner, that I would need to train and condition both my body as well as my mind. Pain in inevitable when you run a marathon, it is something all runners experience, even the elites. How much of this pain you are willing to tolerate is what differentiates runners. There are various ways I have learned to deal with this pain and push through it during my runs. One way is by incorporating training exercises like hill repeats and hard Park Runs which I really despise sometimes but know they are necessary to develop me as a better runner. I have also learned to pace myself a lot better and always making sure I have something in reserve for those tough moments that are inevitable in a race. My best runs have been negative splits where I run the second half faster than my first based on a perfect pacing strategy.

Q. What advice can you give somebody who wants to start running? 

There are a lot of people who ask me how I started running and what I would recommend they do in order to start running. My first advice is to just start. This is how I started my running journey. I got out of the house one day for a run and ended up running 15 kilometres. Of course I understand that we are not all the same and that others struggle with it more than others whilst some don’t have the same passion. You can figure all the other stuff out, but first be clear about why you would like to start running and just do it. At a later stage you can then decide to join a social running club to help you with everything else but these will differ depending on the type of person you are. For instance, I still enjoy my solo long runs more than any other as this is always a moment of reflection by myself which I don’t get often. There are also a lot of “expert” runners out there who are more than happy to dish out their advice to anyone who is willing to listen, but as a novice runner, it’s important to take all this advice with a pinch of salt. Everyone is different and what worked for me will not always work for you. The key is finding out what works for you as a runner. 

Q. Which Social media sites are you on and how can one follow you? 

Twitter: @Ndumisok

Instagram: ndumisok


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