A few weeks before the Comrades, it is important for you to knuckle down to some serious training in preparation for the race, providing that you have been training at a reasonable level until now.
What to train
There are a number of important physiological components that need to be trained so that you have the most chance of achieving your goals and completing the race in the least traumatic way.
- Firstly, completing some long training runs to develop endurance and build resistance to fatigue, as well as development of mental strength and fortitude.
- Secondly, to complete some high kilometreage weeks.
- Thirdly to work on aspects such as speed and hill running. The latter improves speed so that Comrades pace is at a lower percentage of your maximum and allows adaptation to the particular difficulties of running up and down hills.
- Should be 10 – 15 km more in total distance than the longest recent training week that you have completed. For example, if you recently completed a week of 70 km, then this week should be 80 to 85 km in total distance.
- Wednesday should be a moderately long training run of 75–90 minutes in length. Don’t be too concerned with speed, although I like this run to be a little faster than the long weekend run.
- Thursday: A very easy, short run to allow recovery from the Wednesday run. If your week is going to be very high in kilometreage, this could be a rest day (or strength session in gym).
- Friday: Another short run, in the region of 6 – 8 km.
- Saturday: Run approximately 10 km at a fairly brisk pace.
- Sunday: An important Comrades preparation run. Run for 4 hrs 30 mins at an easy, relaxed pace on a hilly course. These hills should be “meaningful” i.e. long steady up and down sections of at least a couple of kilometres in length each. Remember that on the “down” Comrades there are also lots of uphills such as Inchanga and Drummond, each quite a few kilometres in length. The last 30 km are predominantly down, so you have to be prepared for that too. Short hills in training do not do much to prepare the body for the real thing.
- Monday: Short, easy run after the long Sunday run.
- Tuesday: Run for 45 – 60 minutes at an easy pace.
- Wednesday: Run for 10–15 mins longer than last week, at same faster speed as before.
- Thursday: Same as last week. Include strength training in the gym.
- Friday: Add 2km to the distance of last week’s run.
- Saturday: Add 2 km to the distance of last weeks’ run.
- Sunday: Approximately 5 km shorter than last Sunday.
This week – this is the hardest in your preparation and is very important:
- Monday: As before.
- Tuesday: As before.
- Wednesday: Run 15 minutes longer than last week, with a maximum of 2 hours.
- Thursday: As before.
- Friday: The same or slightly less than last week.
- Saturday: Same as last week, at a brisk pace.
- Sunday: Five hours, at an easy pace. Try not to stop for too long for seconding.
Stop, drink, and continue. Practice everything as you intend to do in the race i.e. type of drink, volume of fluid ingested, breakfast, etc. - Exercise Physiologist, Dr Andrew Bosch who heads up the Running Division of the Discovery Health High Performance Centre of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa. For further information about the Running Division phone 021 659 5641.